You may know Davey Havok and Jade Puget as half of AFI, but their musical partnership doesn’t end with records like Sing the Sorrow or their classics like “Totalimmortal” and “God Called in Sick Today.” The two are also an electronic duo that goes by the name Blaqk Audio, and they’ll be at the Observatory on Thursday night to promote last month’s album, Material.
Immediately after AFI’s last release, 2013’s Burials, Havok and Puget began working on Material. Due in part to how long it took for the record to release, Havok was ecstatic for fans to finally be able to hear Material, and he’s just as excited to play it live. Although it’s very different from the rock of AFI, Havok believes many fans make the transition along with the duo.
“There’s definitely a huge crossover of AFI fans into the Blaqk Audio fan base, which was something that I was very grateful for but also expected,” Havok says. “AFI fans are really open-minded, because to really be able to appreciate what AFI is, you have to be willing to accept music without genre. I felt there was a lot going on with Blaqk Audio that would appeal to AFI fans.”
Considering that both Havok and Puget grew up listening to electronica and various other genres, Blaqk Audio was a natural progression for the longtime bandmates. Just as AFI has incorporated more and more musical elements into each album, Blaqk Audio is another side of the duo’s growth as musicians.
“Blaqk Audio is just another aspect of who we are and another manifestation of what inspires us,” Havok says. “If you look back to the music we created when I was young, it was a representation of who I was at the time, but it was also influenced by ability. It began to change as we grew as songwriters and became more able and more comfortable in expressing ourselves, and Blaqk Audio is an example of that.”
But while many musicians seek a new project to get some time away from their primary band’s music and members, Havok sees it as a privilege to work with Puget. The co-songwriters have watched one band explode into a success story while keeping Blaqk Audio going strong for three records over the last decade.
“Jade and I have been working together for so many years,” Havok says. “We work together so well and know each other so well. I think a lot of that comes not only from us coming from the same influences and growing up on the same music that spans different genres, but also having grown up together as people and as writers. Jade is one of the most talented people I’ve ever known.”
Many artists have enough trouble keeping one band intact, productive, and successful, but Havok and Puget barely break a sweat while operating two. Outside of the practical fact that they can’t technically be working on two different projects at the exact same time – although Havok swears Puget is always working on both – there’s rarely a conflict or balancing issue for AFI and Blaqk Audio.
“I believe that Jade writes individually the same way he does when we’re working together,” Havok says. “He just writes whatever he feels at the time, so he may write a Blaqk Audio song while we’re on tour for AFI. We’ve been [going back and forth between AFI and Blaqk Audio] for so long that we’re very efficient.”
When 2007’s CexCells dropped, many AFI fans believed it was a one-off or a side project that wouldn’t go on for long. Unfortunately for those who didn’t like it, that was never the duo’s intention. As far as Havok is concerned, Blaqk Audio is every bit as long-term of a project as AFI, and it won’t be going away until they say so.
“It was only the public’s perception that it was a side project,” Havok says. “We never intended for it to be a side project. We were very committed to it then, as we are now. We have no intention of stopping it, and we will continue to put out Blaqk Audio records as long as we have Blaqk Audio in us.”