Hour of 13 Interview with Chad Davis: Naming the Threes

Posted in Features on August 24th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

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.

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Sleep’ing in on a Saturday Morning

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 31st, 2012 by JJ Koczan

If Sleep had more of a discography and I could say for certain I’d always be awake on a Saturday morning to post videos of them, I’d totally make this a weekly thing. But frankly, I don’t even want to be up now, I just am and have been since about 6:30AM. Pain in the ass week, as far as sleeping goes. The only night I slept through was Wednesday. Nonetheless, last night was so killer that I had to break out Sleep’s Holy Mountain to honor it. And then, having found the clip above with all the space footage — well, it was just too damn good to not post, even this morning.

Today is the last day of March. Next Thursday, I get on a plane and fly out to London in anticipation of Desertfest starting up on Friday. That will be excellent, and I’m looking forward to seeing the likes of Stubb, Stone Axe, Asteroid, Ancestors, Trippy Wicked, Grifter, Alunah and others I might not otherwise have the chance to see. The more I think about it, the more I want to take that approach. I mean, Church of Misery is playing Roadburn too, so I can always see them there (and I do mean always — it seems like they do Roadburn every year; not a complaint), and it makes more sense to me to catch bands like Serpent Venom and Dopefight, who I have less of a chance of catching otherwise. I don’t know, I ‘ll get it worked out, and wherever I end up, I’ll bring the camera and the keyboard along.

Before I go, however, the first part of this week coming I anticipate will be pure madness. Nonetheless, I’ve still got a bunch of stuff coming up, like the March numbers, a stream of the new album from Mangoo, the second “Spine of Overkill” column from Chris “Woody High” MacDermott, and more. I want to get a review up of the new Ufomammut record before I leave, but with work, I don’t know if I’ll have time to give it its due attention and I don’t want to half-ass it. Hopefully that comes together Monday or Tuesday. Wednesdays are pretty much a wash lately at the office as far as actually getting anything done goes.

But among the kickass elements that made yesterday so righteous was an interview conducted with Dave Chandler of Saint Vitus about their recently-reviewed new album, Lillie: F-65, and I want to get that posted at some point reasonably soon — maybe while I’m away, depending on my time and travel trajectory between Desertfest and Roadburn. In any case, it’s something to look forward to for April coming up. We’ll talk more about the month when the March numbers go up on Monday.

Until then, thanks to everyone for checking in this week, and thanks especially to the 136 commenters who entered the High on Fire giveaway. So far I’ve got two of the three winners who’ve emailed me back. If I don’t hear from the third by Monday, I’ll probably just pick someone else, so if you haven’t gotten a note from me, there’s still a shot before next week starts up. For now, though, I’m heading back to bed, or at least to the couch, to try and rest up on this rainy as hell Saturday. Maybe later I’ll watch some Star Trek and check in on the forum about it, but otherwise, I wish you a great and safe weekend. Enjoy, and we’ll see you back here Monday for the busiest week ever.

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Hour of 13 Interview with Ben Hogg: “Who the fuck gets their big break at age 39 in rock and roll?”

Posted in Features on April 21st, 2011 by JJ Koczan

A little while back, this site premiered three demo tracks from North Carolinian doomers Hour of 13 with their new singer, whose identity was then a mystery. In the comments section of that post, you’ll find word from members of The Might Could that it was, in fact, Beaten Back to Pure, Birds of Prey and Plague the Suffering vocalist Ben Hogg filling the shoes vacated by Phil Swanson, and as a show at the Cake Shop in NYC proved early in March, they were right.

Hogg was a surprise to take that role, as Hour of 13‘s vocals have heretofore been clean exclusively and through his work in his other bands, Hogg has always proved to be almost entirely a growler/screamer, but as the demos demonstrated, he’s more than capable of matching key for key with Hour of 13‘s material, adding elements of his own personality to the songwriting of guitarist Chad Davis. The band has already started work on new material, it seems, and though there isn’t a release set for anything yet — Hour of 13‘s second album with Swanson, The Ritualist, was recently reissued by EaracheHogg assures good things are afoot.

Even today, that’s proven to be the case, as it was announced Hour of 13 will join Kylesa for a week-long tour of the Southern US at the end of May into June, and in our interview, Ben Hogg leaked some info about more road time to come in July. Hour of 13, apparently, are about to become a full-on touring act, and as Hogg says several times over, that suits him just fine.

We spoke on opening day of baseball season (March 31) as the Cardinals were in extra innings, but Hogg was nonetheless forthcoming about how he came to be involved with Hour of 13, the nervousness he felt before making his debut with the band at the Cake Shop, the trials of owning your own wedge monitor, the band’s plans writing, touring, and much, much more. There were some phone-line issues, but I got everything transcribed the best I could, and the ensuing conversation was over 4,100 words, so there should be plenty to work with.

On a personal note, before I turn it over to the interview proper, I want to underscore my previous congratulations to Ben Hogg on landing this vocalist spot. The dude’s a lifer if there ever was one, and in this scene, that’s not easy. We’ve been in touch periodically over the years and he’s never been anything but cool to me and if the excitement he shows here is any indication, he’s genuinely glad to be a part of Hour of 13, and I wish both him and the band all the best going forward. Can’t wait to hear how it all comes together on the next record.

Complete Q&A with Ben Hogg is after the jump. Please enjoy.

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Congratulations to Ben Hogg for Joining Hour of 13

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 8th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

The news has spread far and wide at this point, but I just wanted to take a second to personally offer heartfelt congratulations to vocalist Ben Hogg on the occasion of his joining Hour of 13. I got word ahead of time (as did everyone who checked out the comments section of the demo tracks post), but everything I’ve heard about the band’s first show this past Saturday at the Cake Shop in NYC has been really positive, and I know Ben‘s a lifer if ever there was one. All the best to him, guitarist Chad Davis and the rest of the band. Here’s to Hogg of 13!

Earache sent out the following press release about it:

North Carolina doom metallers Hour of 13 were pleased to introduce veteran vocalist, Ben Hogg (Birds of Prey, Beaten Back to Pure) into the fold this past Saturday night in New York City. He and the band played a powerful set  to a packed NYC crowd all there to celebrate the band’s recent reissue of The Ritualist, a modern classic of doom metal. Ben performed superbly and gave the band a stronger presence that will no doubt make the band a force to be reckoned with as widespread touring plans are falling into place in 2011.

Hour of 13 guitarist and founder Chad Davis recently had this to say about Ben Hogg: “Hour of 13 could not be more pleased with the dedication and amount of work Ben has shown. He is a valuable talent to have in the band. He is a vital presence that we were needing in the fold and thanks to him, we are stronger and more focused than ever.”

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audiObelisk EXCLUSIVE: Hour of 13 – New Singer Demos Now Available for Streaming

Posted in audiObelisk on February 14th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

No one seems to be at liberty yet to discuss who this mysterious new singer for Hour of 13 is, but if you want to make your best guesses, go for it in the comments. If not before, I guess we’ll all find out when the trad-doom forerunners come back to New York on March 5 for a show at the Cake Shop.

Until then, 313 Inc. Artist Management granted permission for The Obelisk to host the following rehearsal demos featuring said nameless figure, who, as you can hear on the three tracks below, sounds killer. Whoever he is, he’s giving these songs their due.

Dig it:

Hour of 13, “The Gathering/Call to Satan”

The Gathering/Call to Satan

Hour of 13, “Submissive to Evil”

Submissive to Evil

Hour of 13, “Grim Reality”

Grim Reality

The second Hour of 13 album, The Ritualist, has been reissued and is now available on Earache Records.

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audiObelisk: Stream Hour of 13’s The Ritualist in its Entirety

Posted in audiObelisk on February 3rd, 2011 by JJ Koczan

Although they recently lost vocalist Phil Swanson to… um… not being in the band, cult doom purveyors Hour of 13 will nonetheless see the re-release of their epic second album, The Ritualist, on Earache Records Feb. 26. The band, now fronted by guitarist Chad Davis, has said they’ll continue on unabated with their mission of musical despair, and while the word’s still out on whether or not they’ll have a new full-length this year, the reissue is still a great excuse to revisit The Ritualist and celebrate Hour of 13 at their to-date peak.

Out of the kindness of their blackened hearts, Earache has granted The Obelisk permission (exclusive permission, so far as I know) to host The Ritualist in its entirety for your streaming enjoyment. Have at it on the player below, and doom on:

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Phil Swanson Leaves Hour of 13

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 24th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

Score one for the era of immediate accessibility to information. According to Facebook posts from Hour of 13 guitarist Chad Davis and vocalist Phil Swanson, the latter is no longer with the band. Hour of 13, who just recently signed to Earache Records and will re-release their second album, The Ritualist, next month via the legendary metal imprint, will continue with Davis filling singing duties until they find someone new.

Here are the posts, greedily cut and pasted:

Phil Swanson: “I have decided once again on leaving the ranks of Hour of 13 as I cannot commit to live touring duties at the level the fans, the label and the band would expect.”

Chad Davis: “Phil Swanson has once again decided to step down from Hour of 13. We hope his path will find him all the best in his musical fulfillment. The band will continue with Chad Davis taking over vocal duties for the upcoming shows we have booked. We plan to deliver the same caliber of occult heavy metal we have created for the past 3 years, and we will continue. Hour of 13 thank all of the supporters and fans worldwide.”

Thanks to Damocles74 for posting this notice in the news forum.

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Some New (Not Really New) Godflesh and Crowbar

Posted in Buried Treasure on November 8th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

A quick reissue roundup for anyone who may have missed these:

Godflesh‘s 1989 über-classic, Streetcleaner, has recently been given a two-disc reissue by Earache Records that may or may not be timed to coincide with the announcement that the band will reunite for next year’s Roadburn festival in The Netherlands. Earache, who are the last of the “metal majors” to habitually send out physical promos of albums to press, have been on a spree for the last year or two in repressing landmarks from their back catalog, and Godflesh has been no exception, as the recipient of several boxed editions and multi-album compilations. Streetcleaner is Streetcleaner, though, so it stands on its own.

With the second disc offering unreleased mixes, live tracks from 1989-1990 and rehearsal and studio demos — all of which may or may not have been heard before — the 2010 Streetcleaner is as biting as ever, and shows why over 20 years later, the band are still a much-wanted commodity. It’s one of those albums that, if you don’t have it, you probably should, so I thought it was worth a look.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the sludgy spectrum, three Crowbar records just got reissued by E1, making them more widely available than ever before thanks to the label’s far-reaching distribution. Crowbar, Live +1 and Time Heals Nothing cover the venerable New Orleans slingers’ work from 1993-1995, and though I’m not sure why E1 would go after the rights to the second album, a live EP and the third album without also reissuing 1991’s Obedience Thru Suffering debut, I’m sure they have their reasons, as they’ve been pretty on the ball since deciding it was okay to like metal again in 2008/2009.

All three discs are bare-bones, and by that I mean no bonus material, but honestly, I’m so desperate as for any Crowbar release at this point I might consider picking these up just for the sake of their being newly issued. With the band allegedly beginning a new period of activity that involved touring last month down south, heading north next month and supposedly even recording a new album, there’s plenty to hope for, and of course, guitarist/vocalist Kirk Windstein has been plenty busy in Kingdom of Sorrow and Down (neither of which is as good as Crowbar), but man, it’s time for some new Crowbar. Today.

Until then, this is as good as it’s going to get, and in the case of Godflesh — who I’m actively hoping won’t release a new album — it may be as good as it’s ever going to get. Sure we can sit here and complain about rehashing the same records over and over, but when you find a better way to spend time than listening to Crowbar again, you let me know.

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