Drummer Adam Carson told Vater Percussion
about the songwriting process for Crash Love
: "A little over a year ago, towards the end of our touring cycle for Decemberunderground, AFI began the writing process for our eighth album. There has never been a set method to our writing process but over the years we have slowly figured out what works best and most efficiently.
The genesis of a song usually begins with Jade (guitar) and Davey (vocals) sitting down together and working on melodies and riffs. As they collect parts which they think sound good together, a skeleton of a song is developed and at this point the entire band becomes involved. I usually like to have a bit of time to contemplate my approach to the song so Jade or Davey will Email me the track and I familiarize myself with the guitar parts and melodies before we try to work it out as a band. In my head, I try to create drum parts that work with the bass without stepping on the guitar. I also listen to the cadence of the vocals to try to make the rhythm work in and around the vocals or to emphasize certain lyrical hooks.
In rehearsal we run the songs down and each player writes their respective parts. Sometimes the song will take a drastic left turn, sometimes it'll stay close to it's original form. We'll tweak arrangements, rhythms, melodies, and pacing. Basically at this point in the process, there are no rules as we try to explore all possibilities for the track.
Every song's "birth" is different. For this album, we wrote a few songs that took weeks of playing to gel to our satisfaction and we wrote a handful of songs that sounded killer the very first time through. As a band we are ruthless in our ability to throw away songs. Some bands record and release the first twelve songs they write. Not us. Our philosophy is to explore all possibilities but ultimately to let a song go if it doesn't move us enough. We wrote something like sixty..maybe seventy songs for this album, some of which were deemed inferior and discarded before we even rehearsed them as a band. Some we rehearsed briefly and then threw away and even more we kicked around for weeks before deciding to part company with them. We became attached to a select few which we continued to rehearse, refine and eventually love. When the list of songs we absolutely loved grew to about eighteen we knew it was time to head to the studio."