by Kimberly E. McDaniel
Sometime around the year 2000, AFI’s Davey Havok and Jade Puget started to discuss the possibility of making their mutual love of electronic music reality in the form of a side project called BLAQK AUDIO. Though AFI’s success kept both of them so busy that talking was all they could do, seven months ago, the duo managed to steal away some precious time and record CexCells. The album has done well, far exceeding the expectations of both Puget and Havok and the single, “Stiff Kittens”, placed as high as number 20 on the rock charts.
Fans of AFI’s hard, rock and roll sound were taken aback by the dynamic dance music that filled the speakers after purchasing CexCells, but it seems that most have since accepted the side project and all it has to offer. The name BLAQK AUDIO was the brainchild of Puget, who thought the name suited their desire to make dark, electronic music. He claims that the unusual spelling was a simple twist on the obvious, as well as being a nod to the Aphex Twins song “Drukqs”.
Although the tour officially ended September 27th, with a final show in Los Angeles, Puget and Havok plan to continue to make music as BLAQK AUDIO in between their commitment to AFI. Now that the two are, hopefully, resting before picking back up with AFI, Puget was able to sit down for a chat about the tour, the sexual content of CexCells and his plans for the future.
Maximum Ink: Are there any questions that you are tired of answering?
Jade Puget: I guess the obligatory meaning behind CexCells, all the usual stuff. I actually don’t mind answering that stuff either, if there’s something you really want to know. A lot of people aren’t that familiar with Blaqk Audio as a side project. If you want to cover some basic information, that’s fine.
MI: I’ve actually read all of that already, how you came up with the name and why it’s spelled that way. We won’t need to cover that ground.
MI: How did you guys get involved with the art project on deviantart.com, and have you chosen a winner?
JP: Refresh my memory on what deviantart is? (laughs)
MI: It’s website where they are supposed to be submitting art for a poster.
JP: OK, no we haven’t chosen one yet. We’ve done this at times with AFI, and had fan designed art for different things. We get a lot of different stuff at shows, and a lot of time it’s art and it’s amazing what people can do. I am always impressed because I have no art skills whatsoever. I’m really terrible at that.
MI: I hear ya. You have songs on Guitar Hero III. How is that for you, as a guitar player? That’s almost like they’re saying that you are such a great guitar player that they want to put your songs on here so that the kids can play them.
JP: That’s really cool, you know? I don’t play video games myself, but I know that Guitar Hero is huge. A lot of it is guitar-based. I know it’s called Guitar Hero, but it has a lot to do with big riffs and shredding and stuff like that. AFI isn’t really that kind of band because I’m the only guitar player, so I can’t be out there shredding and stuff because I have to hold down the whole guitar section of the band. It is cool that they would include AFI on that.
MI: There would probably be a public flogging if I don’t ask you about the video for “Stiff Kittens”.
MI: I saw that it’s supposed to debut today online, at least.
JP: Oh? I didn’t even know!
MI: You didn’t? Well, it’s supposed be on Yahoo!music…
JP: That might not happen. I could be wrong, but the last I knew…we’ve been going back and forth with this video for a long time trying to edit it. The last I knew was that it wasn’t finished so, I would be surprised if it actually did, but that would be cool.
MI: Will it be shown on MTV and Fuse, or is this just kind of an online thing?
JP: I don’t know because it’s taking so long to do this video that the single is kind of… over now? It came out months and months ago, so by the time the video is finally finished, the song won’t really be current anymore.
MI: So, then you’ll need to release another song.
JP: Well, that would be nice.
MI: The album is doing really well, so that’s something.
JP: Yeah! We’re excited. Being that it’s a side project and electronic music, we didn’t really have any expectations that the radio would play it or anything like that. But it’s gotten into the top 20 on the rock charts and we’re really happy about it.
MI: How do you feel about fans turning to sites like Limewire or KaZaa to download your songs, particularly the bonus songs that might not have been on the CD they bought?
JP: Well, if they’re going to KaZaa or Limewire, then I’d have to say they’re really behind the times.
MI: How do you see the continuance of Blaqk Audio progressing as you also continue with AFI?
JP: I would hope that we could go back and forth. We’re about to start writing the new AFI record and I have about 40 or 50 songs started for Blaqk Audio, so I have a ton of material already. Actually, Davey and I have finished four new Blaqk Audio songs so I don’t think there will be any problem finishing another Blaqk Audio record, it’s just finding the time to put it out in between AFI records.
MI: I want to ask about the new look that you and Davey have been sporting in Blaqk Audio. The suits, the more sophisticated and masculine style, was this a calculated attempt to further distance Blaqk Audio from AFI?
JP: It wasn’t so much a planned out thing. I think when we did the first photo shoot for Blaqk Audio, we wore suits and we liked it. It was a bit of a departure from AFI. Wearing suits isn’t like reinventing the wheel or anything, but we never had that look in AFI, so it did sort of set us apart from that band and the visuals we have with them. It’s nice to look nice and wear suits onstage.
MI: It gets kind of hot, though, doesn’t it?
JP: It is! But we’re not moving around quite as much as we do in AFI, although I started moving around a lot on tour with Blaqk Audio. Yeah, you get your nice suits kind of sweaty, which sucks.
MI: What’s the best rumor you’ve ever heard about yourself?
JP: Oh, man, I’ve heard so many. Of course, there are all the gay rumors, which have been around for years, and all the different people that I’m gay with or have relationships with. There have been rumors that we’ve done drugs, overdosed on drugs. Mostly typical things. Maybe they’re not typical things, but they’re typical of us.
MI: This actually brings me to my next question: the fan fiction. This is just a huge thing and I’ve not noticed it a lot with a lot of other bands. I’ve seen it for My Chemical Romance and HIM, a few others, but the stuff with you guys is pretty out there. How do you feel about it?
JP: I haven’t really read any of it, but I’ve heard a lot about it. It’s kind of funny. I mean, a lot of it is teenage, or younger, girls that are doing it, which is really kind of weird. But I think it’s all gay stuff, if I’m not mistaken.
MI: Well, a lot of it is, to be honest with you. The thing I’ve noticed about it is that the only time you guys get any action is in the gay ones. There’s no sex in the straight ones.
MI: Isn’t it?
JP: I would imagine it’s straight girls that are writing it. I think it’s funny and there’s the whole “Javey” thing. I’m sure their parents probably wouldn’t be too happy if they were to read it.
MI: What’s amusing is that the same girls that are so militant about proclaiming Davey’s heterosexual status are often the same ones writing this, which perpetuates that myth of his homosexuality.
JP: I don’t know. That’s weird. It seems like if I were young and I liked some girl band, I would write about hetero things, things that I could fantasize about?
MI: That makes sense. I don’t know why they want to pair you guys up together and also involve friends of yours.
JP: Yeah! I heard about one with this friend of ours named Nils, who’s not gay but kind of androgynous, and I apparently make him wear a butt plug. Maybe we should move on from this topic. (laughs)
MI: Do you consider yourself a role model and does the fact that you are an idol to so many kids every have any bearing on what you do?
JP: I don’t really stop to think, ‘Should I be doing this? Should I be saying this because it might influence people?’ I think that naturally within my life I have a positive effect just being myself. I’m straight-edge, so I don’t do drugs or drink. I’m a vegetarian. I think those things seem natural and hopefully positively influence people.
MI: With the sexual nature of CexCells, do you think fans are seeing another side of you?
JP: Yeah, I think AFI fans who are really familiar with lyrical content on AFI records were definitely taken aback by the lyrics of CexCells because Davey has never written anything like that. We’ve never had any overt sexual references in AFI songs, so yeah, I think that they are definitely seeing a little different side of what we do.
MI: Do you think AFI will explore those themes now that they’ve been touched upon, or will you leave that with Blaqk Audio?
JP: I don’t think that will bleed into AFI. I don’t even think that Blaqk Audio is a sex-themed band, so I don’t think that the next Blaqk Audio record will necessarily be about sex either. We’ll move on to other topics.
MI: Is it possible that the lyrics were sexual because dancing is what the music was made for and dancing is inherently sexual?
JP: Yeah, that’s exactly right. I mean, the club scene, dance music, it’s all a very sexual thing with a very sexual vibe. There was no set plan to make that album about sex, but I think that the scene and the music sort of led Davey in that direction.
MI: How does it make you feel that both bands have gotten so much attention due to the ambiguity of Davey’s sexual orientation?
JP: I don’t really think that has had much to do with the attention either band has gotten. I think we make music that people like and I think that stuff, worrying about people’s sexuality or how they look or dress, is just some kind of byproduct that’s not really important to music or any band.
MI: How do you handle the lack of privacy and how hard is it to maintain a relationship under those circumstances?
JP: It’s not that hard. I mean, I get recognized and it’s usually fans who are nice and polite. They just want a picture or want to talk for a minute. Our fans are pretty respectful and it doesn’t really make a hardship on my life at all.
MI: Since the AFI video did really well and so many fans didn’t get to see the Blaqk Audio tour, do you have any plans to release a DVD of the Blaqk Audio show?
JP: That would be cool, but we just finished, last night, the last show of the Blaqk Audio tour. We would have to play another show and right now we’re about to start work on AFI, so I don’t see how that would happen. We’re not against it.
MI: There have been a lot of fans who have taken video from nearly all of the Blaqk Audio shows and posted them online.
JP: I guess you could make a DVD of poorly recorded camera videos! (laughs) I don’t know if anybody would want to see that. We actually filmed the night before last in San Diego at the House of Blues. They had a bunch of cameras there so we filmed the show, so we could technically put out a DVD of that. I hate DVD’s that are just not that interesting, or just one live show. When we did the AFI one, we went all out. It was our biggest show ever. I would hate to put out a DVD that was just another show on the tour. There’s got to be content there for it to be worth it.
MI: What was it like not playing guitar onstage? Was it weird at first?
JP: Definitely, really weird at first! I didn’t really know how it was going to go, but by the end of tour it was natural and fun. This whole tour was so fun! It was one of the funnest tours we’ve ever done and usually, at the end of a tour, you’re like, ‘Finally, this tour is going to end and I can go home and relax!’ This time, we were really sad that the shows were winding down. It was just sooo much fun, getting to dance around and do dance music. It was just a really cool vibe.
MI: Why is, do you think, that interviewers ask you such different questions from what they ask Davey? They ask him they all the goofy, fun stuff or sexual questions.
JP: I don’t really think they ask him that many sexual questions. (laughs) For the most part, people are pretty professional, the interviews we do are professional and they might ask sexual questions in regard to CexCells lyrics and stuff like that, which is appropriate.
MI: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
JP: Five years? Hopefully we will have finished and recorded the next AFI album within five years! If I had it my way, we would be working on the next next AFI record, AFI record number 8.
MI: You said something about writing. Do you still have plans to write a book?
JP: I do. Since I was a little kid, what I wanted to be was a novelist. It wasn’t until way later that I wanted to be a musician. That’s really been my first love and I’ve just been so busy since I joined AFI that I really don’t have time. I actually have a really strong idea of what novel I want to do, it’s just taking time to write it. Writing your first novel is a really time-consuming thing, but I really hope to do it. Even if it doesn’t get published, I’d like to do it just to know that I finished a novel.
MI: Are there any other types of entertainment that you think you might like to delve into, besides writing and music? Like maybe try acting?
JP: That would be interesting. We’ve done a little bit of acting just in our videos and it’s a really weird thing. The “Silver and Cold” video was no performance, it was all basically acting. It’s really strange to do that for the first time, even if you’re doing something really simple. You become really self-conscious. I had to that scene where I was talking on the phone, and it was weird.
MI: I think our twenty minutes are up. I keep hearing a buzzer or something in the background. It’s like at the Academy Awards where they warn you to get off the stage!
JP: It’s like a game show and you’re getting played off by the buzzer!
MI: I appreciate you taking time out to talk to me today.
JP: Thank you.
CD: Cexcells Record Label: Interscope Records
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