By: Benjie Stewart
YOB are on the verge of releasing a new album, Clearing The Path To Ascend. Metal Mayhem Underground got the chance to talk with guitarist and vocalist Mike Scheidt about the new album, the tour ahead, and a whole lot more.
Metal Mayhem Underground: "Hi Mike, how are things going in YOB?"
Mike: "We’re good! We have some shows coming up this next weekend in Sacramento and Oakland California, followed by a few other west coast shows until we leave for Europe with Pallbearer in September. Our new album will be coming out in the first weekend of September as well. Lots going on, we’re stoked."
MMU: "How does the new album Clearing the Path to Ascend differ from 2011's Atma?"
Mike: "It’s pretty different from Atma in tone and vibe, as well as approach. Our new one is more spacious as a whole, three epics and one faster tune. Atma was a mix of both. I’d also say our new one is a bit darker feeling in some ways."
MMU: "Who produced and did the artwork for the new album?"
Mike: "We recorded with Billy Barnett at Gung Ho Studio in Eugene, Oregon. Billy mixed and mastered The Illusion of Motion and The Unreal Never Lived, as well as mastering The Great Cessation and Atma. We have been working with Billy in one form or another since 2004. Orion Landau from Relapse Records did the album art. We are thrilled with both of their work!"
MMU: "Where is the new album at as far as feeling? What was the focus on going into Clearing the Path to Ascend?"
Mike: "Speaking for myself, Clearing The Path To Ascend is more or less about dealing with inner belief systems and habits that no longer work and cause atrophy, harm to self and others, depression etc. The things that get in the way of having clarity and being able to move forward and grow."
MMU: "Are there any new bands in the doom genre that have caught your interest lately?"
Mike: "Sea Of Bones, Usnea from Portland OR, Hallow from Eugene OR, and Uzala all rule."
MMU: "When picking songs for the set lists, do you try and play stuff from all your albums? Since a lot of your songs are pretty long, this must be a difficult task. Or is it an easy one where you can play a different set of songs each night?"
Mike: "Yes indeed, our long-winded tunes makes it tough to figure out a 30 min set [laughs]. It really depends on the show, where we are at in the line-up, etc. We don't write out set lists. We have a bulk of material ready to play and then make decisions in the moment of what to play. But we do have material rehearsed from all 7 of our albums."
MMU: "Do you keep in contact with past members from YOB?"
Mike: "For the most part, yes."
MMU: "Do you like to read? What are you reading at the moment?"
Mike: "Definitely! Lately I’ve been reading Chogyam Trungpa’s Shambhala-The Path Of The Sacred Warrior and Leonard Cohen- Book Of Longing."
MMU: "What is on your playlist right now?"
Mike: "Dead Moon-Unknown Passage
Dinosaur Jr- both Green Mind and Farm
Wipers- Is This Real? and Over The Edge
Neil Young And Crazy Horse- Zuma
Captain Beyond- Self-Titled
Watain- Lawless Darkness
Doom- Corrupt Fucking System
Neurosis- Honor Found In Decay"
MMU: "What would be the perfect YOB tour? Are there any bands you would like to share the stage with?"
Mike: "Well since we’re dreaming: Neurosis, Sleep, Amebix, and us. We’ve shared the stage with Sleep and Neurosis both a number of times, but as a tour it would be unreal."
MMU: "Is the metal scene better today or has it gotten worse over time?"
Mike: "In some ways it’s better. In the 80’s there was such a negative stigma around being into metal or punk, there was constant grief and judgment around it. It was also very difficult to get underground music. Now, everything is available, just a couple of ENTER clicks away. Metal and punk music in all of its ever-growing genre and sub-genre labels is now a part of popular culture. But the scene itself is skirting dangerously close to being very uptight, lots of rules and judgment around what you’re wearing, facial hair or lack thereof, putting aesthetics before substance."
MMU: "Has YOB ever considered doing a double album?"
Mike: "We have thought about it. It may happen someday."
MMU: "Do you have a favorite YOB album or song?"
Mike: "Not really. Each album was the best we had at the time. Much of the music has held up well when we play tunes from each album live."
MMU: "What is the craziest shit you have seen on a tour?"
Mike: "There have been too many things, don’t know where to begin! In most recent history, getting myself kicked out of The Alexandria Palace in London for trying to stage dive during Slayer was a fascinating experience."
MMU: "Thanks for doing the interview, any final words?"
Mike: "Thank you for the interview and endless gratitude to anyone who has supported YOB. Cheers! DOOM!!!" ∆
Check out YOB’s newest album, Clearing The Path To Ascend when it’s released August 29th!