Lost Hours are an Atlanta-based doom band that started out as a one-human show and has since expanded to become a full band. I didn’t hear their 2018 release ‘The Silence of the Perpetual Choir in Heaven’ when it first came around, and I’ll happily admit that the reissue on Propitious Artifacts caught me entirely off guard. I went into it expecting another rote exercise in gear-fetishizing genre worship, and the only hint that things might be otherwise was a line about their being the “slowest power violence band ever.”
That one throwaway line suggested they might be pulling from a slightly different place, and ‘The Silence…’ delivers on that promise in spades. The two tracks comprising the record are leaden, dense and wracked with deep-rooted misery – exactly what I want from this sort of racket, really.
Founding member H was good enough to take the time out to answer some questions.
Okay, so let’s get the basic stuff out of the way: how, when and why did Lost Hours come to be?
I ended up joining a hardcore band after a year and a half hiatus from doing anything music related, Lost Hours started as side project for me to explore music more in line with my own tastes and to start dabbling in home recording.
What was the original idea for the band, and how did this change over time?
What can you tell us about ‘The Silence of the Perpetual Choir in Heaven’? What went into the record?
I wrote and recorded ‘…And Masses Spat Upon All that is Holy’ over the course of a week in the bedroom of my former roommate and then proceeded to clean up ‘Polanski’, a song that had been demoed and shelved for the better part of a year. Admittedly, not much more than that went into the record.
Was this one recorded solo, or as a full band? And has anything been tweaked or changed between then and now?
With the exception of the lead vocals on the original version of ‘He Whose Limbs Shatter Mountains, Whose Back Scrapes the Sky’, all recorded material is me alone in a room. The issuing of ‘The Silence of the Perpetual Choir in Heaven’ on vinyl signals the intended final piece of Lost Hours material that will be recorded as a solo effort; all further releases will be produced as a full band.
Talk us through the song ‘Roman Polanski is a Monster’. The guy is obviously a piece of shit, but is there more to it than that?
The early demos of that song originated before the rise in social movements dealing with accountability and focus on similar themes. Polanski’s – at the time – continued respect and adulation from even the most progressive minds has always sickened and confused me. The recent steps toward the vilification of predatory behaviour – in general, not just in the creative realms – have been a welcome breath.
There’s a political drive to the band, from the causes you’ve supported to the ‘play slow / drink coffee / pet dogs / punch racists’ mantra. This is often missing from some of the more ‘traditional’ doom bands, or the ones that come at the sound from a metal angle rather than a punk one, so I was wondering where it stems from for you guys? Ideologically it definitely feel more allied to the slower, grimier 90s side of 90s hardcore like Noothgrush and Dystopia and whatnot…
I definitely relate more – aesthetically, socially, and musically – to the crust / hardcore ethos than anything in heavy metal. Early-to-mid era Ebullition Records stuff really hit hard for me, the thought put into every lyric, image, zine, long printed conversation, just all of it. Even though some of it reads a bit juvenile in hindsight, it’s part of what pushed me into the arms of the likes of Chomsky and Odum. Plus, as someone young and straight-edge, it was relieving to hear bands that shared the mindset and didn’t sound like Earth Crisis / reek of jock horseshit. Beyond that, I mean, just put His Hero is Gone next to something like Solitude Aeturnus – without even looking at the LPs or reading lyrics you can immediately tell which one is playing like they are trying to stop the world from ending and which one just seems like they failed a creative writing class.
This album’s a few years old now – how would you say the band have changed between then and now. What’s gone on in the interim, and how – if at all – have you evolved?
I’m angrier. New Modern Nationalism has started to reshape global discourse: the far-right continues to normalise their barbaric beliefs and policies, gaining support across the developed world at a rate I never thought I’d see. As someone who lives in the United States I have to come to terms with the idea that pacifism and conversation might become unsustainable tactics in the face of a legion of emboldened, gun-toting fascists… and so on and so on. Musically I’ve never been more focused: it’s either keep writing songs that elicit a very specific reaction from myself or start throwing bricks through pick-up truck windshields.
How has being a full band changed things? What’s better, and what’s more challenging? Was it weird to bring other people into a solo project?
It hasn’t changed things significantly: I’m lucky enough to have filled out the line-up with the people whose opinions I would seek on riffs, tones, etcetera, people I trust to tell me if something is shit. The only occasional challenge is rehearsal, we all play in a multitude of projects thus nailing down free time can be a chore at points. As for it being weird to bring other people into the fold full time: I’m really just still surprised that these musicians I hold in such high regard are willing to slum it in the slow, plodding depths of Lost Hours.
How does ‘The Silence…’ represent the band you are now? How do you view it now that so much time has passed?
It laid down the framework for what the band has become sonically, it was also what pushed me into taking Lost Hours more seriously as a project and putting together a consistent and practised live-up. It’s a slightly lighter version of where we sit now. I’m still quite proud of it, ‘Polanski’ was intentionally blunt but maybe a bit too rudimentary and – in hindsight – I do wish I had taken the time to flesh it out into a more textured piece in line with ‘…And Masses’.
Let’s talk about the ‘slowest power violence band ever’ tag. I thought it was pretty funny, and while I’ve been describing you as ‘kinda like Corrupted meets Thergothon’ to friends I can also imagine it as a disgusting deconstruction of Neanderthal or Crossed Out’s slow points boiled down to tar…
I cut my teeth on a diet Slap-a-Ham Records and more bestial black metal a la Blasphemy, so blastbeats are never too far from my mind. Even now I’ve reached a point musically that if I write something that doesn’t sound like a No Comment 7” played at 16 RPMs with Nobuo Uematsu accents, I just toss it… though Corrupted meets Thergothon is a very apt description. Still, give me nine songs in two minutes over any hack, gear-worship doom band.
I was interested by the cover songs you went for – tracks by Gitane DeMon and The Mountain Goats. I frankly never need to hear a sludge or doom band cover another sludge or doom band, but a band pulling from ‘leftfield’ sources made me prick up my ears.
I wanted to do something outside my comfort zone in a mid-pandemic lull and decided to put effort into a place I don’t like and swear I’d never tread: covers. Same-genre covers always feel redundant, if you’re going to do it you may as well take a song that has sonic colorings that match your aesthetic and translate it into something much heavier while retaining the same feel. John Darnielle is weirdly the person who inspired me to pick up a guitar and is also someone who is way more kvlt and supportive of legit extreme music than anyone I can think of regardless of genre.
Given that the band is clearly aligned with all that is slow / bleak / crushing / heavy, how important is it to draw inspiration from outside that universe? Do you think it impacts your sound or your songwriting?
Everything bleeds into my writing: it’s all about movement. Taking inspiration from sounds found mostly within your oeuvre leads to stagnation and repetition. The only real drive I receive from the world of ‘slow’ and ‘heavy’ is from a personal rage at the blinding mediocrity found in the vast majority of it.
What’s next for Lost Hours? What can we expect from the next release, and what sort of plans do you have for the short and long-term?
The next record has been fully demoed and we expect to record in early 2022. It will stand as the first real Lost Hours release, not just as a full band recording but musically more refined and cohesive. We will be doing a short tour with our friends in Dead Register at the end of October to promote the LP release, a few more continental runs and some Japanese dates are to come sooner than later.
Thank you so much for your time! If there’s anything else you’d like to add, please do!