Davey's Voice is Now Deeper, Richer


#1

I love AFI’s older albums. My favorite album is AOD. But I go back and listen and compare to the last 3/4 albums (that I don’t even necessarily like as much as AOD) and I like Davey’s voice better, now. If I remember correctly he hurt his voice somewhat seriously a few years ago, right? So I assume that means he healed and had to find a different way to express that sound, that music that is AFI.

And really, he’s done an amazing job. I may not like the subject matter (lyrics are a big thing to me, but apparently some people “like the beat?” anyway), but his voice has really matured. I’d LOVE to hear a lot of the older songs recorded in his current style, but I assume singing them like he did is what contributed to his vocal damage in the first place.

He’s grown so much as a person and vocalist/musician, I just wish I could hear him record the old things I love even better! But I’m sure that holds little to no interest to him as an artist, and I get it. I don’t really feel like drawing things I did in 8th grade over again, either.

How do you feel about the evolution of the band member’s individual sound? Not as a whole, but individually. Voice, guitar, bass, drums, production, anything?


#2

You, my friend, have touched upon one of my favorite topics. I can go on for days about this. I’ll cover Davey and Jade right now and try and come back to Hunter and Adam in a bit.

Alright, let’s talk Davey. I’m a writer by trade/profession, and I have him to thank as one of my biggest influences. When I first listened to them as a kid, I was struck by the sophistication of his lyrics compared to those of other “punk” lyricists. There was something almost Baudelarian about his work. That really spoke to me, a kid who grew up on Poe and Lovecraft and Dickinson.

His vocal progression is stunning. There’s a level of confidence that he has gained over the years that has allowed him to take more risks vocally and career wise that I think we can all appreciate. I really think that, despite how polarizing the album is, Decemberunderground was a breakthrough for all of them, and for Davey it was an era in which he could try new things vocally that have only been perfected in the subsequent years.

Of course, I admire everything he’s done on the side, but that’s a whole new argument.

And on to Jade:

He’s admitted that the bands he was in before AFI were always a bit more melodic than was pre-Jade AFI, and I think that is a good thing. You could tell he was trying out incorporating melodies into AFI’s sound with Black Sails, and he just became braver and braver. Davey and Jade have mentioned before how much they admire each other’s work and how confident they are with each other’s boundaries; I think that that knowledge and intimacy has allowed for them to push each other. For Davey, Jade knows his limits vocally. And for Jade, Davey has a tendency to always speak highly of him, and I think that that really lends Jade confidence to try new sounds and push their style in different directions. I also think that because they work on different projects, that Jade knows that should something not work for AFI, he can try it somewhere else (he did say how Love Like Winter was going to be a Blaqk Audio track). Jade’s level of confidence in his abilities has grown through the years, and we can definitely hear that in the music.

I also think, for both of them, that as they get older and move away from boundaries of “that’s punk” and “that’s not punk,” that they are able to just create and not worry about genre or credibility anymore (not that I think that was ever a conscious concern; I just think that as teenagers and young twenty-somethings, you’re going to want to fit into your chosen crowd, and subconsciously that’s going to lead you to making decisions that keep you within the “rules” of that crowd).

The guitar work has become more complex, though Jade does find a great balance between punk riffs and more technical guitar work (something he talks about in recent interviews); the vocals have been pushed, and the lyrics are becoming more and more elegant.

They are a song-writing duo that continues to evolve and grow elegantly.


#3

Davey has kept me into the band throughout the years honestly. I like the other guys, but his voice and lyrics are what I find the most interesting part of their music. I agree with you on loving the way his voice has matured, I think it is for the better generally. The best showcase of this recently is DREAMCAR and the latest Blaqk Audio album. His voice is way more mature, deeper and confident than before it seems. I like The Blood album too, but to me it doesn’t seem quite the same. His vocal parts in Blood and parts of Burials seems a little off balance to me for some reason.


#4

I would like to add that Davey’s feature on Seven Lions song “December” has been my latest obsession lately. It is the vocals that I go to for AFI with the added electronics of Lions. It’s not a genre that I am familiar with since I’m very vocal centered with my music tastes, but that track is amazing.


#5

Well, hell, now I don’t even feel qualified to answer you back until I’ve gone back and re-evaluated the whole of crash love and DU, because I haven’t for at least a year or two. This was something I noticed between burials and AOD, because I’ve been obsessed with Burials lately. I haven’t even listened to STS with a critical ear for forever because STS is like, my baseline, It IS what I consider phenomenal. But yes, the lyrics are always what kept me interested and invested.

I need to stop and have a think about Jade, myself, because he is my least favorite band member,Probably because he is a lot of that catalyst for change, which I initially resented. But I love Blaqk Audio. So I guess my contention is what he did to AFI’s sound. Without reflection, what I’d say is I blame him for DU, which I thoroughly hated when it came out, but I am just “OK with” now.

At this point, I’m over that, but it took me a few years to come back to AFI, stronger than ever, so I won’t say that it’s that anything was wrong, but that it did not resonate with me, at the time.


#6

Oh, yeah, well, I have a soft spot for Jade. He’s always been this quietly intellectual one who seems like the soft-spoken counter to Davey, which really makes their song-writing dynamic work. And when he does talk craft, you can tell how much thought and care he puts into every sound.

And I was a little too young to fit into that almost tribalism vibe that defined the emo era. I was fourteen when MCR was getting big, and everyone in the “scene” crowd also listened to electronic, rap, early-dubstep, hardcore punk, etc. I never fell into one genre (maybe because I basically chilled in NYC and was always around different music, and my suburban town wasn’t really suburban because we all had that NYC mentality), so there was a feeling of constant consumption of all kinds of music rather than a pseudo-tribalist vibe of “you can only listen to this.” So, I think I aligned myself with Jade who, from interviews, seemed like he ran the gamut in terms of musical interests. And I think that’s why Decemberunderground really spoke to me, because it had the audacity to play around with sounds and musical motifs that no one in that “punk” scene was trying. I thought it was a success. I can see where people didn’t. There’s a lot of melodrama there, and some of it does feel a bit overdone at times, but I think that also fits the era. Everything was so heightened then, so hyperbolic, that I think an album like Decemberunderground is a great time capsule for that epoch. In some ways, it was ahead of its time with the way it mixed genres. In other ways, it can be seen as anachronistic, particularly with some of the more melodramatic moments. But I think that’s what’s great about it.

I don’t know. That was just my take on it.

But let me tell you, the freakin’ fall out amongst AFI fans was LEGENDARY within my friend group. Half of my friends lived and died by that album, the other half shunned it and called anyone who liked it posers. We still don’t talk about the album if we’re all together.

Dark times, man, dark times.

And do NOT get me started on my love for Crash Love. That might take a novel.


#7

I have never heard of that group, but I shall check that song out now. :slight_smile:


#8

Definitely look it up. It’s EDM, which I haven’t really been in to. But Davey makes it 10/10


#9

Sweet. I listen to everything, even country sadly thanks to my baby sister, so EDM featuring Davey sounds cool.


#10

Thank God Davey doesn’t do country… No offense :rofl:


#11

Oh, no, I hate country. I just have to take my younger sister to her concerts. She’s 18, but my parents aren’t thrilled with her going alone with friends to shows where there’s tailgating. Haha. And, Christ, if Davey sang country I don’t know how I’d react.


#12

I’ll echo that I love the way Davey’s voice sounds now. I went to four of his concerts this year: three for AFI (two by winning free tickets, including one meet and greet) and I saw DREAMCAR!
His voice is so powerful and angelic! :heart:️:fire::notes:


#13

I’m fairly certain is was during STS. I mean, Death of Seasons… among others, Davey really pushed himself.

Actually, if I remember correctly, he might have even had some vocal coaching for those tracks. I don’t know any concrete details, but I was very involved when STS came out.