AFI are leaders, not followers. A collective in a perpetual state of creative evolution as fluid as the evocative figures contorting on the cover of Bodies, their newest collection of songs. The record is a snapshot of unrelenting artists in motion, unconcerned with compromise or outside demands.
AFI’s unshakeable connection with their audience is a testament to the band’s knack for reinvention, renewal, and exploration, anchored by an unblemished authenticity. AFI songs are embedded in the spiritual DNA of a legion of supporters and Bodies is further demonstration of AFI’s unwavering commitment to artistic exploration, a dark conjuration of an uncapturable muse.
The band initially summoned a steady subcultural groundswell in the mid-90s, devoid of careerist ambitions. The band first made music as teenaged misfits in an obscure Northern California town, steadily assembling a dense catalog over the years marked by its diversity and authenticity.
“AFI is such an integral part of who I am. What we do with AFI together is a foundation for me,” explains frontman Davey Havok. “Coming back is a return to a home I’ve always known.”
It’s a sentiment shared by the entire band. “I couldn’t do what I do in AFI in any other place,” observes guitarist Jade Puget. “Davey and I have written songs together for over 20 years now. I couldn’t find the thing he and I have together anywhere else, nor the thing the four of us have when we come together. AFI is home for me and will always be that.”
“At this point, it’s not even a choice. It’s just what I do,” drummer Adam Carson concurs. “I started this band with Davey when I was 16. It’s something that I love so much. It’s just a part of me.”
“Every album is an opportunity to show people a snapshot of our evolution,” adds bassist Hunter Burgan. “And with this band, it’s always something fresh. We’ve been playing together for so long that I have a deep understanding of each of my bandmates‘ musical styles, and yet I am still pleasantly surprised by the new things they bring to each record.”
AFI never stepped into the mainstream; the masses came to them. The platinum success of Sing the Sorrow blazed a path for a generation of hardcore-punk weaned bands to similarly crossover. 2006’s Decemberunderground upended expectations again and earned AFI a second platinum plaque. Crash Love was another adventurous turn, with expansive and almost optimistic-sounding melodies, glistening with emotion. The haunting Burials arrived four years later, debuting in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200. The self-titled follow-up, commonly referred to as “the Blood Album,” became AFI’s second-highest charting album since their inception, debuting at No. 5 in 2017.
“Anyone who knows our catalog knows that no two records really sit together,” Puget points out. “Some sit a little closer, maybe. We do certain things, just by virtue of who we are, that are consistent, but those things come about organically. Every time we do something, I have to judge it on its own merits. Some fans are going to judge a new album, or a new song, based on what’s come before. But as artists, we can’t do that, because it would only hinder our creativity.”
Bodies was mixed by Tony Hoffer (Depeche Mode, Belle & Sebastian) and mastered by Vlado Meller (Oasis, Pink Floyd). Puget produced the album and handled most of the engineering.
Like similarly artistically-minded iconic bands, AFI’s ever-evolving identity has kept their sound, themes, and overall image fresh. A place in rock n’ roll history assured by magical musical androgyny, both post-modern and timeless, AFI remains guided by the flames of authenticity and determination that defined their first ten albums and are sure to drive the next ten and beyond.