For metalcore heavies Underoath, replacing a co-frontman/drummer Aaron Gillespie is the kind of thing that can make or break a band. But for Daniel Davison (ex-Norma Jean) it felt like the right thing to do.
Rewind to last summer when Underoath had been on tour in Europe and Gillespie, to no one’s surprise, decided to part ways with the band to devote more time to his pop project The Almost. “They'd been home about a week, and Tim [McTague, guitarist] gave me a call, which wasn't really out of the blue, because we are good friends and keep in touch and actually do some work together in some other business areas,” he says referring to their online merchandise company. “That's kind of what I've been doing since I left Norma Jean back in ’07.”
Norma Jean and Underoath came up together in the Christian punk scene so Davison was already on the same spiritual and musical wavelength as the rest of the band. Underoath had been writing the new record already, and had Gillespie not quit, they were going to go straight into the studio. “I wasn't super familiar with their music as far as listening to the records. I’d actually never owned one of the records, which is pretty funny.”
That didn’t seem to worry Underoath for whom the decision to go with Davison was a no-brainer. The hesitation lay with Davison, who not only had his merch business but was now playing with indie band Colour Revolt. On top of that, Underoath called the very week he was in the process of moving from Atlanta to Philadelphia. “I wasn't like, ’Yeah, definitely!’ I was like, ’Give me a day to think on it, and I’ll let you know,’ so I thought about it and talked it over with my wife and basically came to the conclusion that, yeah, it would be really fun to write and record another record and get to tour.”
In the meantime, Underoath sent Davison three or four rough song demos that McTague had recorded with MIDI drums. Rolling up his sleeves and doing honest-to-god parts was the tipping point. “Tim was like, ’If you can come down tomorrow, that'd be awesome,’” [laughs] “and I think, like, three days later was our first practice.”