YOB Interview with Mike Scheidt: Breathe in the Power Held in This Moment

This past weekend, I made my way south to Philadelphia to catch the current YOB/Dark Castle tour. I’d already seen the two bands as they stomped Manhattan into the ground earlier in the week, but the prospect of another show within a meager two hours’ drive, on a Saturday, was too much to resist. When I got to the Kung Fu Necktie and saw it was basically a small bar with a stage area in back, I was all the more thrilled at the chance to witness YOB‘s powerful live sound in such a confined space. It was gonna rule, I assured myself.

I assume because Kung Fu Necktie is in a residential neighborhood and they’ve had noise complaints, the show had an 11PM curfew. When irono-post-punkers Psychic Teens finished at 9PM or so and neither Dark Castle nor YOB were to be found in the venue, it was immediately apparent something was up. As it turned out, they’d been stuck for however long in traffic coming from their Canadian show the night before. They were rushing to get to Philly, but for the crowd standing there, we didn’t know if or when they’d arrive.

And if they’d canceled the show, saying that they wouldn’t have enough time to play and get done by the curfew, well, shit happens, that’s life. But they didn’t. YOB and Dark Castle rolled in a bit after 9:45, immediately set up their gear and got to work kicking ass. Even Rob ShafferDark Castle‘s drummer pulling double-duty filling in for Travis Foster in YOB — breaking his bass drum pedal didn’t curb the momentum. Curfew was extended till 11:30PM, YOB got to play four songs in 40 minutes, and peace and doom reigned in the City of Brotherly Love.

What was most striking about it, though — aside from the fact that they did it — was that before their set started, YOB guitarist, vocalist, principle songwriter and, on this tour, sole founding member Mike Scheidt told the crowd, “We’ve got 40 minutes and we’re going to give it everything we have. We are YOB” (or something thereabouts), before launching into the most righteous rendition of “Quantum Mystic” from 2005’s The Unreal Never Lived that I’ve ever heard. By the time they finished playing, the delay didn’t matter, the lost songs didn’t matter. There was nothing that was going to stop that crowd from loving every minute of YOB‘s performance. Damn what could have been, we were there for what was, and Scheidt, Shaffer and bassist Aaron Reiseberg kept true to his word.

YOB‘s second album for Profound Lore, called Atma, will see release Aug. 16. The record, as Scheidt explains in the interview to follow, takes its name from the spiritual concept of the self as being a part of an underlying current of selves, all joined in one essential experience. Where Western tradition has gummed this into theistic dogma, the notion of “atma” is more obscure and thus even more universal: The self as connection to everything around it. As I stood in Kung Fu Necktie and watched the crowd around me get absorbed into Atma opener “Prepare the Ground,” it was hard not to feel some understanding of what Scheidt was talking about. They were transcendentally heavy.

We spoke at the beginning of the tour, via phone, as the two bands ran errands in Iowa, and I’ll say flat out it’s the best interview I’ve done in a long time. The guitarist’s openness, honesty and genuine nature is apparent in his every answer, and his discussion late in the conversation of the nature of ambition and how it relates to YOB presents an awareness of perspective that, much like his musical approach, is entirely his own.

I won’t delay it further. Please find enclosed the 5,700-word Q&A transcription of my interview with Mike Scheidt of YOB, and enjoy.

…The album sounds really raw.

I was thinking about my favorite records, my all-time doom records are just kind of punchy records. I think of Art of Self-Defense, Forest of Equilibrium, Holy Mountain and Through Silver in Blood, which are all, from those bands, not necessarily their best-sounding records, production-wise, but they’re their most visceral records and just have so much grainyness and grit, and I just really wanted that kind of production for this record. It seemed like it fit the songs, so it’s what we were going for.

How’s the tour going? You’re in Iowa?

Yes, we are in Iowa. We’re good. We’re just doing some business right now. Actually, we’re going around and hitting banks and post offices and various things, trying to get things rolling, trying to stay on top of it at home, but the tour has been really positive so far. We’ve been having a really good time.

Have you been able to get a sense of how the new material is going over live?

It’s been really good. Every time we play out new material, it always has a very similar effect, where people definitely rock hard, I guess, in the crowd, but they also are really paying attention. “Prepare the Ground” is definitely just a basher, so I think it instantly has this swinging groove that might be familiar to YOB and our heroes, so it’s definitely really great, but “Atma,” you can see people really trying to figure it out. There’s heads banging, because it has that 4/4 bash, but it is really weird and backwards and there’s a lot of strange timings within that steady flow. It seems incredibly positive.

Yeah, I guess you have those hits during the triplet part. I can see where it would be hard to keep up with.

Yeah, and it’s just so metal though. Fists were in the air when it’s the triplets by itself, for example. There’s dudes going, “Yeaahhh!” and so forth, because it is so metal. And I wanted that for that song. I wanted this heavy, exotic, backwards, triplet-based, slow with some big piece in it that was just the anthem part where it felt like the top of the mountain or something. Top of the metallic mountain.

Do you have that sample live?

No. I wish we did, but we don’t. It doesn’t seem to matter. People are down.

Do you have a sense of the anticipation for the album?

It seems like there’s a lot of people who are interested in it. I live kind of in a fishbowl universe in Eugene, where it’s just a lot of work and a lot of raising kids, and so recording the record and sending it out there, we definitely know we have our people out there, our tribe, that want to hear what we’re doing, and there was definitely a lot of interest around the underground, but as far as what people are gonna think of the record or if it’s gonna make us grow as a band, I have no idea. I hardly think about it. It’s not up to us, and almost none of our business, so I just let it go. It’s what we had in us at the time, and it’s what we got.

The very first thing on the record, someone’s yelling. Is that you?

Yeah.

It’s real low. What are you saying?

I’m probably just yelling out something. It might have been a count, or it might have been – we had a lot of fun in the studio – it might have just been screaming as we’re getting ready to go. There was a lot of energy in the studio. We were really into it and really into recording and really into the songs and really just pumped up.

How much did you record live?

The guitar, drums and bass live, and there’s room mics and stuff like that, so any amount of noise that we’re gonna make is gonna be heard, so no regard for room mics whatsoever. We were just going for it.

Was the rawer production sound something you specifically wanted to push after doing The Great Cessation?

No, it just felt like what the songs were requiring. I just wanted to hear a record like my favorite records that was a YOB record. When you look at Elaborations of Carbon maybe or Catharsis, those are pretty raw recordings too, but we’re just such a better band now than we were then, and so, to approach the record with a total analog darkness and chewiness and have that kind of raw – listening to a lot of Poison Idea – feel, I just really wanted that in our record. It felt the best. Maybe the next record will be retarded polished and we’ll hire Bob Rock or something (laughs), but this one, we just wanted it to be brutal and complex.

I don’t have a lyric sheet, but it seems like some of the songs could bleed into each other lyrically. Can you discuss the themes of Atma?

Certainly the theme has always been the sort of mystic, Eastern thought bent, more or less, from the perspective of somebody trying to stagger their way through it, versus it being some real clean and polished version of spirituality. I think with Atma, the actual term “atma,” you get a sense of it from the sample, but the Eastern version of it means self as in our individual sense, self as in our higher self, but really, it also means self as in, in one moment, every single living, breathing, vibrating, growing, stagnant, whatever, thing. In one moment, taking one breath or whatever it is, together at once, where there truly is this giant underlying current of seamless wholeness that is not good, not evil, not letting us do whatever we want. It doesn’t take sides, it’s just one giant whole thing that every eyeball sees through, every ear hears, every mouth tastes. It’s all the same moment. That’s before any thought. That’s before any concept. That’s before any religion, any politics. It’s all just the ground from which it all happens. For whatever reason, that hit me as a very profound theme, and I think the album definitely is from a perspective of a human mind trying to relate to a concept like that, but really, I’m very stoked on that concept. I like it. I live the concept.

Couldn’t just go with a self-titled, huh?

Nope. And that was thrown around too, “Well, we don’t have a record called YOB,” but no.

At this point, do you have something that’s a definitive YOB sound? You said before that “Prepare the Ground” is a basher in the YOB sense, and I think that’s very true, but what does that mean for you?

It means equal parts having a recognizable sound that is ours and not deviating too far from it – we’ve had a certain sound that’s been based on our own musings, my own weird guitar style and certainly the influences of our record collection – but also, every album, and I think part of what YOB is as a sound too, brings some new element that the record before it didn’t have. It brings in a new twist or a new vibe that also is us. That becomes the new us, but without ever abandoning what it is that we do. It’s very important to me that as soon as the first song hits, that it’s instantly like, “Wow, okay. This is the new YOB, and it already hits me differently, but it sounds like YOB.” I don’t ever want to be in a place where somebody grabs one of our records and goes, “Yup, sounds like Slayer. It’s another Slayer record.” Because that’s how I feel about Slayer. I love Slayer, but I think their best albums are many years behind. There’s always one or two great songs on each record, and they’ve never abandoned their sound, and to that I’ll throw them the horns forever, but I also want each record to be a challenge in itself, or have something on it that’s really challenging to a listener or to our fans.

Other than the production, which we talked about, what are some of the elements of growth that you tried to bring into Atma?

Some more complex timings and riff structures. I really pushed myself hard on my vocals. I wanted the most dynamic range of singing I could possibly have, that I had in me, and I really spent a lot of time with that. We spent a lot more time with samples and noise and textures like that. I wanted a very deep record, that on headphones would yield new stuff, that maybe you didn’t notice while blaring even in your face, or in a show, or on a stereo, but then you put on your headphones and go, “Oh, there’s a whole bunch more going on here.” I think I wanted styles of riffs that were recognizable to us, but had twists in them that were also new, which I guess also falls into the timings and swing. So yeah, there’s a lot of that. Just a lot of exploration that felt really great. And also too, to bring in Scott Kelly, which is also a growth for us – we’ve never had a guest performer before – so our sixth record, we bring somebody in, and he brings something new to the table and also collaborate with somebody we respect a lot. I think all of that makes for, “Wow, okay, this is really a new album.”

Your having Scott on the record was kind of a surprise for me. After five albums, you don’t see that kind of thing coming, but damned if it doesn’t work. That part in “Before We Dreamed of Two” is killer.

He stunned us, man. We wanted some Tribes of Neurot/Through Silver in Blood-style percussion, and we definitely got that from him. Over the years, Scott and I – it’s not like we talk a lot, but we definitely are friends. We have a lot in common and definitely enjoy each other’s company whenever we are hanging out. We were invited to do the two Neurosis shows around New Year’s Eve, and I saw them do their tribal drum circle onstage and thought, “Man, maybe Scott’ll do that on our record.” So I asked him and he was way into it. We brought him into Eugene – he doesn’t live too far from there – and we were having a great time hanging out. We set up drums for him and he did his parts, and it was killer, and kind of in a very last-minute thing, “Maybe you could sing too,” and (laughs), and he was like, “Yeah…” He wasn’t sure if he wanted to at first, and he was like, “Man, I hear you’re doing some really off the wall and cool stuff, and I don’t want to get in the way of that,” but then we talked about it some more and found the perfect spot on the album. He just sat down, and in about 15 minutes, he wrote out his part. He wrote out his own lyrics, and we set up the mic for him, and he’s out there mic-checking and we’re all in the control room talking and laughing, and doing what you do, and then he started singing. It got real quiet. We’re just like, “Wow.” It was a revelation in that moment that, this guys we’ve been listening to for 20 years and have on the highest pedestal, was singing. In the next room. On our record. It’s like, “Yeah, Scott Kelly’s on our record,” but in that moment, the gravity of that for us personally hit, and we’re just like, “Holy shit.” He did an amazing, amazing job, and we talked about having me sing with him, and so I just did some backup things with him, harmonies, and sang a couple lines with him, definitely not trying to get in the way of his power and what he was doing, and he loved what we came up with, and so did we. We’re just both really thrilled with it.

I can imagine that nerd awe.

Oh yeah, you know? And he’s the best kind of hero to have. He’s such a great man, and he’s so wise, but so kicked back, so humble. He was just so easy to be around, and work with. It wasn’t like bringing in some really famous person – which he is – and having a number of demands or whatever, which we would have met. We wanted to work with him. But it wasn’t that. It was just another person from the whole tribe of the heavy there to record a record, and he really wanted to be there. It was just the best. It was the best experience. He and I definitely very much see eye to eye on how to do things in the studio, so it was just flawless, fun, creation. Not flawless in the sense of everything being perfect, but flawless in the flow. We were both in our element and had such a good time. And he has that billion-year-old-sounding voice. So when you hear ocean in the background and crashing waves, this giant mass of life and energy that’s been hitting rocks for millions of years, that’s what his voice sounds like to me. It’s just amazing.

Were you tempted at all to make “Before We Dreamed of Two” the last song on the record and end with that? It’s also the longest song on the album.

Yeah, and it totally would’ve worked as the last tune. I guess I had a little bit of a different vision from our normal mold of how we do records. I thought that’s a great middle piece, and it’s really heavy and powerful, and then bring in something that’s a little more weird and decrepit, like “Upon the Sight of the Other Shore,” and then end on a more triumphant note. Something that started out like the typical YOB ballad that we do on each record, with a lot of beautiful quiet guitar stuff – at least that’s what we’re shooting for – but then it rises to something that’s kind of higher pace, but really tribal and driven, and having it then open up to a lot of very spacious guitar hammer-ons and then getting really heavy at the end and fading out. It just seemed like, “Yeah, let’s do that. Let’s do something different for the last song and have it end on a higher energy note, versus the epic, gets really quiet and really slow note.”

Did you know you wanted “Adrift in the Ocean” to do those things when you were writing it?

Definitely as I was writing it, I knew it was gonna be… Out of all the songs on there, that’s probably the one I spent the most time on. I typically don’t like working on songs too hard. I feel like if there’s too much work, then it’s just not really happening. I think any kind of songwriter will reach a certain level of playing where what you do is ingrained, and you understand what you’re doing, and maybe you’re trying to learn a new trick, but what you do is already somewhat established, and if I have to try repeatedly to make something flow, then it just doesn’t flow. It’s real simple. “Okay, I’m gonna put that on the back burner and maybe someday I’ll pick it up again and it’s gonna instantly have that twist that I wasn’t thinking of that’ll make it work.” We don’t spend a ton of time in the studio trying to hammer out ideas. Either the idea’s there or it isn’t. That being said, each piece of that song, I really liked a lot, and it took me a little while to figure out how it was gonna all come together. I liked the song and the feel enough where it was worth it in this particular instance, worth the wait to me to see how it was gonna unfold, and it ended up being really, really wonderful. I really like listening to it. I think it turned out great and has a lot of almost classic YOB in it, almost Elaborations of Carbon-esque moments, and I actually really enjoy that. I really like that, on this record, we pushed ourselves sonically, but that we also kept kind of a punk feel, like when we were first writing YOB riffs, and being so pumped and excited and just, “Riff, riff, riff! Let’s riff!” That’s how it feels to me, at least, from my own personal experience.

It’s funny to hear you talk about having your songwriting patterns down, because I think that comes across on the album, but I don’t know exactly how. It sounds like a record where you know what YOB sounds like. It’s established in that way.

For better or for worse, yeah, I have a pretty good idea of how I’m gonna approach a YOB record, at least stylistically, and what I like to hear and what I want to hear and what I want to bring to it that makes me feel good and that also I feel like hopefully a worthy contribution to my peers that are also out there making music. My hope is to give something to our fans that they will grow to love. That’s our hope. I hope also that for our peers and our friends in bands, they can listen to it and go, “Wow, yeah, okay. That’s different than what I would have done,” and we can continue to all inspire each other. But yeah, there is a way that I’ve learned how to write songs over the years that just feels like home, and if I was gonna be in another band that would be doom metal, my influence would be all over it – obviously Age Eternal would be an example of that – but it’s gonna be different, because I wouldn’t approach it like a YOB record. When I’m gonna record a YOB record, there’s a way that I’m always gonna approach it that will be, I think, fairly consistent.

And in terms of “Adrift in the Ocean,” something about that quiet opening and the riff at the end bookending the track struck me as really interesting, the structure there. How was that all pieced together? You said it was all sporadic parts. How did you decide what went where?

You know, it didn’t come together part-by-part, and the intro I had pretty nailed down. It was everything else that was up for grabs. I had a few A, B and C selections for where to take the song. I worked on that for a while, let it go and come back, let it go and come back, and I guess about three weeks into the process of getting ready to record, it just all came together. One night, I just had the inspiration and wrote the rest of it, basically the last 10 minutes of the album in an evening. Brought it to practice, and finally everything gelled. It was instantly awesome, the band was instantly stoked on it, we were all 100 percent jamming and flowing and having a killer time, and that’s the requirement. If the three of us are like, “Yes! That fucking rules, let’s play it again,” then we nailed it. If we love it, someone else is gonna find something in it to like.

Can you talk about Stevie’s art that’s the front cover. All the YOB covers are so different, and this one’s really striking.

Oh yeah. On the internet, we found this photo, this incredible photo that was evidently, we found out, a fake. But we found this incredible thing with mountains in the background and water and a crescent moon that was reflected in the water, and it was just so incredible. It would’ve cost us a lot of money to get that photo, but initially we were like, “Well, maybe we can do a crazy photo like that.” And when Stevie heard us starting to talk about this, she’s like, “What the hell are you talking about? You’re gonna use stock photos for a YOB record? You can’t do that!” We’re already talking with our dear friend Aaron Edge about doing artwork, and we’re looking at lots of different photos and how we could put them together, and Stevie’s like, “Let me just paint it. Let me paint what you want,” and I’m like, “Here’s this photo, do your thing with it,” and in two days (laughs) – two days – she painted that, and we’re just like, “Uh, yeah, that’s totally it.” And that’s our album cover. She is amazing. Have you seen the layouts for the new Dark Castle? Wait till you see the vinyl. The CD is fucking amazing too, but she has quite a talent. Quite a talent.

Doing this tour, are you starting to think of YOB as more of a touring band?

No. YOB hasn’t toured in six years. We’ve definitely been busy in the sense that in the last year or so we definitely stepped up and did a lot of crazy shit we never did before, fly-out gigs, and we’re always constantly perplexed and joking around about it, like, “Wow, really? They’re flying us here? We gotta be good. People are flying us.” Not that we ever thing we’re not gonna be, but it’s this element we’ve never dealt with before. It’s been crazy. But really, as far as touring goes, this just felt like the time. It just felt like a good time to do it, so we did a lot of research and put a lot of feelers out there, and talked with our booking agent over it really carefully – and he’s been advocating this for a long time, saying, “I promise you it’ll go really well” – and I’m very, very cautious when it comes to things like that. I don’t like making assumptions, and I want to make sure things are really going to be good, in the sense that we’ll have solid shows. We’re in different places in our lives. We have kids. We have jobs, and bills that are pressing. These are things that are important, and we’ve always felt like our art has really come out of having a priority on our lives outside of art, and bringing that into our art. Definitely I’m an artist, but I’m also a father and it’s a role I take very seriously, and I’m not just gonna go out on the road and get out there and party and have some thrills at their expense. It’s kind of a combination of a lot of things. I love playing live and I love to be out on the road, and [this is] the first time we looked at everything and said, “Wow, maybe we can go out and do this and have it support us for the time we’re doing it.” We rigged it up so we can get our jobs back when we got home, and a lot of things came together where it was like, “This could be a really good time for us to do it,” and on top of that, the band itself, and the genre really growing. It seemed like right now, our kind of music, this style of music, is very visible, and we want to say and feel that we could be out there, participate in a time when the music is really vital. We can contribute records. We can do that for many, many years, and that’s awesome, but this is a really exciting time, and we just want to be a part of that. On top of that, we also have a lot of fans that have supported us throughout the years, and it’s been very, very positive in our experience, an integral part. I really felt like, especially going to Roadburn and meeting international fans for the first time face-to-face outside of when they’ve been in the US for festivals or whatnot, it struck me that we owed them something. We owed them a trip. We may not make trips every year, but we owe some people at least one full trip to Europe, and to be able to connect with them on a personal level in a room, versus their stereo. It’s a lot of things all at once that culminated into this tour happening, but as far as us being a “touring band,” this may be our last tour. I really don’t have goals, and I don’t think of the future. When it comes to this music, I have no goals. None. My only goal right now is to pay my electric bill and rent and child support on the road. That’s the long-term part. The short-term part is making friends every night and having a sense of reality and a sense of community at our shows and being a part of that community and doing whatever we can for our part to create that feeling for the people that show up. It’s kind of cliché to say, but it’s really true for us. We’re not just a band on stage and they’re people in the crowd. We are an environment, and when all those people come together, it creates an environment, and we want it to be the best, raddest, kickass, comfortable, supportive, cathartic experience that it can be for everybody there.

How do you feel YOB has developed as a live act, then?

We’re better than we’ve ever been. There’s a level of comfort on stage that’s just real natural. We’ve very genuine people, so high-fivin’ and shakin’ hands with people and just being very connected to them is real easy. It’s very easy for us, very natural. People don’t feel excluded from what we’re doing on stage, they feel included. We’re not just lost in our own trip. There are moments where we are, but we always bring people into it. I think that’s really important. I think also we’re just a lot better on our instruments. I’m a better singer than I’ve been. I have a lot more consistent technique and things to help me get through. I just feel very hooked into what it is that I do as a guitar player. Just speaking for myself, everybody makes mistakes, but any mistake that I make, I’m never like, “Fuck.” I never have that feeling. It’s always just smiling and smile at the crowd and be like, “Hey, it’s live, here we go. Rock and roll.” I think that kind of ease transfers to the crowd, and the crowd never feels unsure of the band, and we never feel unsure of them. That, to me, is what makes me feel like we’re maturing as a live act.

What’s next for you after this tour?

I have no idea. Zero idea. None. Zilch. We could just have a really fun tour and that’s it, or we could write another record. I definitely have some kind of excitement around writing some more, so I do intuit that there’ll probably be another YOB record. Whether that becomes a touring situation or whatnot, I don’t know. I feel like it’s not really up to us. There are a lot of bands out there writing music, and a lot of bands out there pouring their heart and soul into things, and some bands get supported and some don’t. There are bands out there that work very hard to make a living playing music, and they stay on the road a lot, and I think sometimes that’s really great. Sometimes I think bands start to suffer for it. Their art starts to suffer from being on the road too much. They start to write records that feel like products to me, versus being living, breathing documents of a time. It starts to feel like a means to stay out there and do it. I’ll never write a record from that perspective. I understand why people do it, and it’s not a judgment or a critique, it’s just a statement of intent that, for us, it’s the music and the art first, and then, if there is support out there that is outside of us that is like, “No, we really want you out here, what can we do to make that happen?” then we’re gonna do it. If there are people out there to make it happen and the record does really well and the art begs that kind of response… I think that’s really what it is. I don’t ever want to feel like we’re out there forcing ourselves on people who are like, “Oh, they’re coming through a third time this year, a fourth time this year. Really?” There’s some bands out there that can do that, I just never assumed we’re one of them. I just assume that, “Here we are, we’re in your town once. If you want to come see us, killer. If you don’t, great, then we’re not commanding that for you, and that’s our truth center of where we really sit in the universe, and we don’t need to get high on our horse about who we are and who we’re not.” Music first. Everything else takes care of itself. I try to stay out of the way, and with this tour in particular, the demand seemed solid enough for us to go out there and do it and have a rad, fun tour that’s adult, where we can eat and sleep in a nice bed if we want, and we can go hang out if we want. That way we can bring what it is that we really are to the stage every night, rather than just by the skin of our teeth where we have some kind of goal that, if we do this, we’re going to get “somewhere.” That’s just not a concept that I relate to or that I want to bring into our music.

I think a lot of people aimlessly go for a thing and don’t know what the thing is they’re going for.

Or they get it, and they realize it’s really a lot of fucking hard work and they start to get burnt out on it. Or they start to get home and not even want to look at their guitar anymore. “I need to not play guitar for three months,” or whatever. And that’s cool, I have phases up and down, but the path is where it’s at and the goal just constantly evolves. Just speaking for YOB, in order for us to write truly quality records, we can’t be thinking about ambition. We can think about ambition in songwriting. We can think about ambition in a studio sound, what we want to achieve in a recording. But as far as to try to “succeed” or to try to become more well known, or “bigger,” those concepts often ruin bands or make bands just have that ever so slight taste of industry versus art. It’s okay, nothing wrong with it. That’s not our path.

I guess you avoid a lot of trouble knowing that.

Yeah, and stretching too thin. I’m just not wired for that. If that came our way, just very naturally and legitimately, and someone really supported YOB to do our vision and not try to make us into cellphone ringtones and shit like that, you know, I would consider it. Of course we would. It’s like everything that has every happened for YOB, where we’ve become “bigger” in spite of ourselves, because we really haven’t worked as hard as a lot of other bands have as far as to be a name out there. We just do what we do, and we’ve stepped up to opportunities. We look at each individual thing and go, “Do we want to do this. What are the plusses and the negatives? Go!” and we look and it and we decide if it’s gonna work for us or not. We’re out here doing this big tour with Dark Castle. We want to be here and we want to be with Dark Castle. We’ve turned down bigger tours. We’ve turned down package tours. We’ve turned down tours to get into a “bigger market” because we want to play with bands we love. We want to watch a band every night that we love and respect, and we don’t want to deal with any other kind of bullshit. We don’t want to deal with anybody’s huge egos and giant touring bands. We want to have a great time and we want to connect to our fans and we want it to be personal. I like playing to a crowd that maybe, sometimes, isn’t prepared for us. That always happens sometimes. But I really love playing for crowds that, even if there’s only 50 people, they know why they’re there, they’re there to see this particular thing. Those are the most satisfying shows to me. There are shows that we’re gonna play on this tour that are bigger shows and have a lot of press around them, and I’m sure we’ll bring in people that’ve never seen us before or are new to us. That’s great too. I’m never gonna turn away new fans. That’s not it. It’s more just it’s really important to me that people find us for the right reasons. Not because of a picture or an image that’s put out there to try to bring people in. Our image comes from within us, and so our flavor and our imagery comes from within. It’s not something concocted to bring people to us, it’s for people to find and resonate with. And if they find it and resonate with it, then they’re gonna find something in it they’re gonna like. We want that personal connection. Otherwise you’re just a flavor of the month, and we have no say in whether we’re a flavor of the month or not, but I know that in our hearts, what we’re doing is based on our real, true selves.

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15 Responses to “YOB Interview with Mike Scheidt: Breathe in the Power Held in This Moment”

  1. Mike H says:

    Great interview. Excellent job. Thanks.

  2. Best. Interview. Ever.

  3. Karl says:

    i only saw them play prepare the ground. did they end up playing ball of molten lead?

  4. This is up there with your Monster Magnet/Dave interview. Some younger/newer bands ought to be able to take some sound advice out of these words.

  5. […] Continue reading: The Obelisk » Blog Archive » YOB Interview with Mike Scheidt: Breathe in the Power Held in This Mo…. […]

  6. Woody says:

    Nice one. I had a feeling Mike loved Poison Idea.

  7. Dr.J. says:

    I was at the Philly and NY shows! They were both fantastic and the two shows mirror the concept of your interview. It was great of you to let Mike flow. I have known him since we were both about 18, as I used to hang out with him when he played bass and was the lead singer in Chemakill. I believe he knows I feel and think this way, but I must say he has never, ever swayed from the beliefs mentioned in your interview. Though I do not think he knew the concepts he speaks of when he was 18, his being was geared to make sense of himself through the concepts he has learned. For me, YOB is Mike, but Mike is not YOB. YOB is a voice for Mike, and I can forsee if he uses that medium, he will place YOB at the pillar of DOOM. For me, SLEEP was an extension of Sabbath and I love their music, but I believe Mike, though influenced greatly by the same and other “Doom” bands, is a pioneer in this genre. He was able to make something out of DOOM that no other person has done to date. I believe this success is a function of the things he spoke of in the interview. I must add, though, that Isamo Sato, Travis Foster, and Aaron Reiseberg are parts of Mike, as he is a part of them, and through those connections comes the best DOOM ever created. Again, thank you for such a wonderful interview.

  8. Jon says:

    Wow. Thanks. That was fun. Reading that after seeing the tour makes perfect sense. I wish I could know Mike. Super cool dude. Such an awesome music fan as well as an artist. That’s what I love and I think works for him. He’s incredible at creating something from an infinite amount of influence and make it his own.

  9. Leonardo says:

    Great interview. “Best. Interview. Ever.”

  10. […] And click here for a remarkably more thorough Yob interview on The Obelisk! blog comments powered by Disqus /* […]

  11. Will says:

    Thank you for this interview. Bummer I was out of the country all summer and missed this tour. Still hard to believe that just 5 years ago Mike was in such a bummer of a place – when I saw Middian in LA, it had was cool, but it had none of the magic that makes YOB so special. I love the new record like I love every YOB record, it’s an extension and a growth of a band I’ve been following for a long, long time – and I hope there are several more YOB records in the works in the future.

  12. RalphSnart says:

    Nice to read a monster interview with somebody I’m interested in hearing from. By nature, the metal mags can only devote a page to a band like this, so you don’t really get the depth of discussion. That’s why blogs like this are great.

  13. […] the vocalist and guitarist of YOB, was rocking out to the end, supporting the local music scene.  The Obelisk ran a long interview with him earlier in the year. The intro praises Scheidt in ways that I, too, […]

  14. Tom says:

    This was a fantastic read. Many thanks.

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