Saturday, August 9, 2014

Interview: Mike of Yob

I managed to catch up with Yob's front-man Mike Scheidt and talking about the band's new album "Clearing Path to Ascend" and here is what he had to say.

Wil - So the songs on your new album are pretty long epic pieces what was the writing process like for that ?

Mike- I had been writing it for almost two years. I wanted it to make sense, with the whole tension release vibe and the atmosphere in all the songs that are played with a lot of raw emotion. So I wanted to keep that raw emotion while the music made intellectual sense, so there was a lot of juggling, which was difficult.

Wil - So for this album to be a challenge on the writing in what challenges did this present from a production stand point when you recorded it.

Mike- We spent a lot of time in rehearsal. So from a playing stand point the music was well rehearsed going into the studio. The biggest challenge was laying down the vocals as  I tend to write vocal parts that are just outside of my ability so I have step up and push. We had demoed a lot of the stuff in rehearsal, but that's not the same as hearing it come off the board. So we would go back in a listen for flow and for tone and for any mistakes that we needed to go back in and fix. When songs are 18 to 19 minutes long , you tend to lose perspective. So going back and listening to songs of that length for those things was strenuous, but that's the corner we backed ourselves into.

Wil - This album is heavy not just in a metal sense , but more in a sonic sense. What inspired that direction?

 Mike - The emotion and the vibration were more important than distortion and volume. Distortion and volume doesn't mean that that is it going to be heavy.

 Wil- Yeah, Swans are not a metal band , but heavier than most metal bands.

Mike- in the same way John Van Zandt, creates some of the heaviest moments I have heard in a song from an emotional perspective. Both he and the Swans are artists I hold in the highest regard. 

Wil - What are some of the album's lyrical themes? 

 Mike - I try to not get too specific. Some folks might be interested in that, but I don't want to add to or take away to some one's experience and finding their own meaning. I was going through some deep personal difficulties and it was very healing. I have always had an interest in the eastern side of mysticism, the transcendental side that pushes through the emotions captured be it depression , anger, love and joy. It's being in that moment, to truly be in all those states.

 Wil - the trancey nature of drone can create a meditative environment.

 Mike- Sure, it can also serve as a scalpel that can open you up, digs in and allows you to be in the moment.

 Wil- What are your plans as far as touring to support this album?

 Mike- Leaving in to do a chunk of dates in Europe. We are taking Pallbearer with us. Taking a chunk of the winter off and then doing a full u.s tour in March, though a few select album release shows and start working on the new Vhol album in November. 

Wil-  What did you learn from touring with Tool?

 Mike - They provided us witha unique platform, it is much bigger than anything we had done or ever will do again. They exist in a world of their own, but they work as artists first. We had 30 minutes to play ever night, there were not decibel limits, we even got to use our own soundboard. They allowed us to be ourselves, so there was this weird doom metal band playing in an arena environment. It has made every thing we have done since easier, we now know how to function in a larger environment which has come in handy playing festivals like Hell Fest. It was cool too from a fan perspective seeing them every night and most nights they would watch us from the side of the stage too.

 Wil - This is your first album on Neurot records, what is it like working with a label  run by artists?

 Mike- On a personal level it's an honor as we are hug Neurosis fans. It's humbling and inspiring to collaborate with artist you hold in such high regard. They know what it's like to have been on a big label, they have experienced it all inside and out. We have been lucky to have made good choices along the way. But it's cool knowing every one at the label is an artist themselves.

 Wil - Almost 20 years later have your influences shifted ?

 Mike- Well ,when Yob first started being doom we began incorporating other elements almost right away. From Hard core , punk to King Crimson and Floyd. We have just become over the years more embolden to incorporate it. Metal being very human has many sides, experimental sides, epic sides. I know a lot of metal artists that are hug into classic rock, so that has grown into it. If it flows with us nothing is off the table. All these sub-genre tags are just a sign post as to here is what you are going to get.Stoner tag came out and we got that one , what is that supposed to mean? The best bands always defy the labels.

Wil - How has the evolution of your clean vocals come about ? 

 Mike-  the biggest difference is I broke down and got a vocal coach. I found Wolf Carr in Portland. He worked on the Zen of Screaming. But he is from Berklee School of music so he is classically trained but understands death growl and screams and metal metal singers put themselves through. His mother is a professor at Berklee as well, so he comes from that world. On tour some night might not be so great, come off stage and you are hoarse. So to learn on a technical level has made me such a better singer. I have always been a student of great singers, every one from Cat Stevens to Joni Mitchell to Bruce Dickinson to Dio. It gives me more tool and more colors. So in the studio I am able to pull it off for multiple takes and pick and choose, I think I have only begun to scratch the surface as to my potential vocally.

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