The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world






AFI Interview 2013


Some bands can’t be defined by narrow genre tags and AFI is one of the bands that most rings true for. As a band they have always moved forwards, challenging expectations and all they have done before. They’ve always been dark though so to catch up with original member Adam Carson on Halloween is perhaps fitting…



Mark: Hi, Adam, how are you?


Adam: I’m doing well, how’s it going?


Mark: I’m well thanks, and thank you for taking the time to talk to The Rockpit this morning. Soundwave, 2014, not that far away now, are you looking forward to getting back to Australia?


Adam: I am, Australia is one of those countries I always look forward to packing my bag for! We have yet to have a bad experience, it’s a really great place to visit, and the fans are receptive, the travel is comfortable and the sights are beautiful, I can’t really say anything bad about it.


Mark: It’s always great to see you down here, and a band like AFI, down here so regularly. Are you playing any solo dates whilst you are here or are you just locked in for the festival?


Adam: You know, I’m not sure, we haven’t discussed it, but I’m sure it’s a possibility; I know bands do that sometimes. But, I know sometimes the festivals are concerned about people seeing the band at the festival rather than a solo gig. We’ll have to look at the cities we’re playing in and see if there’s anywhere we’re missing, we’d certainly like to.


Mark: It’s always hard to play a festival date, especially when you’ve got a new album out that’s as good as “Burials”, how are you going to balance that, are you going to do a lot of new stuff in the set, or are you going to do a “best of” festival set?


Adam: I think every show we play, we like to cover a cross section, and we try and play the songs that people want to hear, and we also play a couple of tracks for people who have been aware of the band for a long time. Certainly, the newer songs are the ones that are the most fun to play for us, they are fresh and new and I think that ultimately we will try and have a variety of different eras of the band and different songs.



Mark: For me, AFI, are one of those bands that have defied a genre label, some people call you, “horror punk” and I think with the new album, there’s definitely a darkness in there, but this album seems to be deeper and darker, and richer than before. How do you look at labels and things like that, I guess they are a necessary evil, in some ways!


Adam: The “Horror Punk”, “Goth Punk”, that labelling is almost insulting at this point. I don’t even know what Goth Punk is!! I don’t get it! This new record is dark, and it’s angry, but we’re not singing about bats, you know, there’s no level of kitchiness to it, it’s an emotional record and it dark and not very happy and clearly the lyrics are angry, but I think that stops short of being “Horror Punk”! And I don’t know what “Horror Punk” is!!


Mark: Neither do I!! The album’s been out just over a week now over here. What’s the response been like so far?


Adam: From the fans response, it’s been amazing, people seem to really appreciate the record that we’ve made, and are enjoying it, which is really all we could ask for. And that seemed to be happening before the record was released, we’ve had a couple of crappy reviews, but the response from the people who are coming to see us play, and people who have been fans of the band for a long time, they seem to be really excited, and it’s not because they are going to like anything we do, but all of the opinions that we have read, have been well thought out. People seem to grasp what we are trying to create.


Mark: Yes, it’s a very interesting album and you are one of those bands that never look backwards or take a backwards step, there’s always something new and something different on each album. It’s been four years since “Crash Love”, how did the new album come together, was it a long creative process?


Adam: When you look at the start date and the finish date, it was a really long process. I think that the song writing process, the initial nuts and bolts of the songs come from Davey and Jade, and they spent a really long time working together, daily in a tiny room, just the two of them, working on the ideas and the songs, writing and throwing away, and writing and refining. They did that for the best part of a year, and then we spent a long period of time with the songs they had written, seeing which ones really rose to the occasion. Some songs sound ok with a guitar and vocals, but as a band some songs really become something else and you have something really special. There was a time when we were sifting through all this material, seeing how it works, and how best to play it. When it came to the recording process, it was actually really quick because we didn’t have the budget to really stretch our legs and spend a lot of time, and that’s the way we’ve always tried to work in the first place, to go in to the studio fully prepared. We spent about 2 months recording, so that was the shortest amount of time we spent on the record. I think it helps because there is urgency, there’s no time to really get complacent.




Mark: The production is quite loud, and it gives it an almost captured live feel, is that something you were intentionally going for?


Adam: We certainly wanted it to sound like it was super live, we wanted to have that energy and that was the most important thing. We didn’t spend too much time, fine tuning things, we just made sure the performance was there, and that it was really passionate.


Mark: Do you have any particular favourites on there? I think the one that really resonated with me, was “Heart Stops”, a great song.


Adam: Yeah, that’s definitely one of my favourites, I’m a fan of “The Conductor”, and I’m actually a fan of pretty much all the songs. “Heart Stops” is a real interesting song, and it has that real overly compressed sound, that really explodes down the speakers, so it’s good to hear that you like that one, because that’s one of our personal favourites.


Mark: There are some fantastic songs on there, and the build-up to the album has been great, some bands don’t often do it that well, but, with the release of the singles, “I Hope You Suffer” and “17 Crimes”, there’s been a real build-up of expectation for the album. You’ve certainly mastered the art of promotion!


Adam:  We have the advantage of surprise; we kind of wrote and recorded this record, and people didn’t know what we were up to. So, by the time we revealed it, we were recording it, and people had chance to process it, we were slowly letting people in to our world, and let them slowly become aware of what we had created. We were really excited because, it had been a couple of years and we didn’t exactly know where we stood with our fans, and so the same way people were getting excited to see our band come back to life, it was exciting for us to see that people were still there, and still interested, and there was still a place for us. It was a great feeling.


Mark: As someone who’s been there from day 1, how do you feel the band has progressed to this point, what’s the journey been like, musically, for you?


Adam: Well, as I think you mentioned before, we don’t really look back and we are almost stubborn about it, we don’t like to do things that are expected of us. But also we don’t want to be contrary, neither, so, we don’t spend a lot of time worrying about the direction we’re headed, we sort of just let it happen. We trust that every time we make a record, that we have changed as people and changed as musicians and as song writers, and whatever happens, happens. We are ultimately in control of what 12, or 13 songs we put on the record, so we write a bunch of songs and find ones we like the most and that cohesively sound appropriate together.




Mark: It’s interesting, because you have been around for so long, 22 years, I think, you have seen massive changes in the industry, how have they affected you as a band?


Adam: It’s affected everyone; it’s an entirely different world. The budgets we are given to record are a fraction of the size. Hopefully, that might be a good thing for us, we made a record in two months, and it’s something I’m really proud of, if we had more money and more time maybe we would’ve ruined it, but you never really know. In answer to your question, in some ways it’s changed for the worst, but in some ways it’s changed for the better. Bands have to be creative in the way they try to break through this endless white noise of bands, and media.


Mark: You seem to have adapted well as a band to the changes, as far as I am concerned, you seem to have it all together. It was interesting to read in your bio, that you were inspired by “Pyromania” to take up drums!


Adam: It was one of the first albums I got! I’m not a big Def Leppard, Hair Metal type fan! When I was a kid I just loved music so much, I just absorbed everything, and everything I listened to sort of refined how I listen to music, and how I wanted to play music.


Mark: So, for a band that has its own unique sound, obviously there are a lot of influences from each band member. I you could single out an album by any artist, as being pivotal to your journey, what would it be for you?


Adam: Man, that’s a really tough question! A lot of the early pop rock was highly influential; I listened to White Flag, and Bad Religion, those records were really important to me. I could just pick one, but I’ve also been listening to artists such as Nick Cave and the Bad seeds, I would have the same emotional response to the music, even though it is totally different, so I think you have to look at a wide range of music, and take little bits and pieces from all of it, collectively that shapes who we all are as musicians.


Mark: Unfortunately, we are running out of time, so here’s a quick one to end with, what is the meaning of life?


Adam: Shit! Don’t ask me man, I’m still trying to figure it out!  Thanks for taking the time to talk to me.


Mark: Thank you, and can’t wait to see you at Soundwave next year.





Adam spoke to Mark Diggins 31 October 2013





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