Last year when I conducted an Hour of 13 interview, it was with then-vocalist and Obelisk contributor Ben Hogg about having landed the singer spot as a replacement for Connecticut-based Phil Swanson. What changes a year can bring. This time, speaking with North Carolinian multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Chad Davis, it was about the band splitting with Hogg following a tour with Kylesa last summer and eventually having Swanson come back on board for the recording of the band’s appropriately named third album, 333.
Also Hour of 13‘s Earache Records debut, 333 marks the third time Swanson has joined the band — once for their 2007 self-titled debut and again for 2010’s The Ritualist before now — but Davis seems to take the tumult in stride. He’s uncomfortable talking about the situation with Hogg, I think the interview transcript shows that, but gives some sense of what led to the dissolution of Hour of 13 as a touring act. The live lineup also featured bassist John Mode and guitarist Brandon Munday, who’ll do a smattering of shows this October with the Swanson-fronted incarnation rounded out by a new drummer, but as to larger touring, Davis makes his position clear when he says, “To me, it’s not really a necessity.”
Nonetheless, the band has joined the growing roster of acts playing Roadburn 2013, and their cult-minded traditional doom continues to resonate with audiences around the world, who’ve responded with suitable clamor to 333, which Davis reveals was written both before going into Epiphonic Studios to record and after he got there, songs like “Who’s to Blame?” and the righteous closer “Lucky Bones” — also released on a limited Svart Records vinyl with Hour of 13’s earlier Razorrock Tapes recordings — given a sense of spontaneity for how freshly composed they were. The first two albums, Davis notes, took three days each. 333 took two weeks.
And maybe that’s the last of the three threes in the title. One for it being the band’s third album, one for it being Swanson‘s third return, and one for the three days it used to take Hour of 13 to make a record. Whatever the case, Davis‘ commitment to Hour of 13‘s bleak musical and conceptual aesthetic remains firm, and in the interview that follows, he discusses not only lineup shifts and live gigs, but what drives the project and the processes at work in Hour of 13 as opposed to his black metal outfits Anu and Set or the psychedelically jamming Tasha-Yar, who’ll reportedly add the recently-streamed “Casting Lots” to a series of other improv recordings for a new CD in the next month or so.
Including what got him into Epiphonic earlier than he intended and working long-distance with Swanson, Davis illuminates on a range of topics. You’ll find the complete Q&A after the jump.