- Ben Province
The Multiple New Beginnings for Hounds
Some of rock's most legendary bands have changed names. The Beatles were the Quarrymen. Queen was Smile. And Pearl Jam was previously called Mookie Blaylock. The St. Charles, Mo. rock outfit, Hounds, has something in common with those icons.
Originally called Clockwork, the then trio of Jordan Slone, guitarist, Logan Slone, bassist, and Logan Mohler, drummer, released two studio albums, 2013's "Out To Sea" and 2014's "Not Meant for the Dark." The records featured songs where the guitar track was often played on an acoustic. And in 2015, the band played LouFest Music Festival.
Just under a year later, in June 2016, Hounds announced its name change, focusing on a more rock-driven sound. At the time it kept the same lineup as Clockwork, and released three new songs to NoiseTrade. (Those recordings would not be included on a commercial release.)
The band wanted to press 'reset.' While called Clockwork, the group cited it didn't have the creative control it would have liked. (The band started as teenagers, after all.)
"I feel like that was a big purpose of the rebranding, too. This is all us now," Mohler said.
Jordan concedes the branding change has its downsides (Clockwork had already toured and played a major music festival), but thought the music itself was more important.
"It is a little bit difficult, because with the name change and the name transition, you lose some of the credibility you had before," Jordan said. "But to us, it's worth it if we get to go back and redo it the way it should have been done."
The band decided it didn't want to be associated with the Clockwork name anymore.
"We were like," Mohler said, "let's start over. We can make something new."
So, over the course of four-and-a-half days this year, the three members recorded the first Hounds record, which was tracked live-in-studio and without the help of a click track or pitch correction.
But just as the band had rebranded itself, it was about to see another change. On July 1, Hounds announced on Facebook that Logan Slone would be leaving the group, himself saying "there are no hard feelings" in the statement. His decision to leave Hounds was communicated to the other members in Dec., prior to the announcement.
Despite that knowledge, the band decided to include Logan Slone on Hounds' latest album's cover, the self-titled debut, for which he wrote two songs.
"He's on the album [cover], because he created all of this with us," Jordan said. "We wanted to have that sort of closure with him."
The 13-track album, which never features an acoustic guitar, revisits the stand-out Clockwork track, "Lock Eyes," replacing its acoustic arrangement with a psychedelic rock approach.
"When we were thinking about an actual album, we really wanted to go at it and tackle this album mentality," Jordan said. This was something that was not present, according to the band, during the Clockwork-era. Previously, albums were recorded over the course of a year or more in parts.
Hounds also wanted to cover a song from the late '60s, an era that greatly inspired the new direction. While a Beatles song was considered, the group thought it would be too predictable, and chose "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane instead.
The band wanted to go for a much more raw sound this time around, noting the more polished sound of Clockwork was less its style. To help achieve that, Jordan said Hounds' goal was to record to tape, but did not have the budget.
As "Hounds" releases and another new beginning lies ahead, Jordan (24-years-old) and Mohler (21-years-old) will continue on as a duo, but are considering help.
Though the band is not sure if it would like to add another official member, Hounds is looking for someone to duplicate what Logan Slone did during live shows -- play bass and sing background vocals. (Although, the brothers had shared lead vocals for the band's run.)
It's been an unusual ride, full of mixed emotions, Jordan admits.
"It's a scary, sad, exciting, depressing, wonderful, therapeutic, horrifying [time] -- every day's a different challenge."
All this makes Clockwork/Hounds a compelling portrait of a unique journey -- one that shouldn't be ending any time soon.