TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE
This e-mail interview with Dr. Doom his damned self, Mike Scheidt of Oregon HEAVYweights Yob, was conducted by American Editor Tony Belcher soon after the October 2004 release of "The Illusion of Motion" on Metal Blade Records.
If you can gauge it, what has the response to The Illusion of Motion been like so far?
So far the response has been overwhelmingly good to raving. We are always pleasantly surprised by critics' and fans' positive response to our new album. We worked very hard on this record and it's cool that there are some folks out there who get into it.
And how has it been for Yob to be on Metal Blade? I imagine it is tremendously different from being on an independent label and with that has to come some good and bad. Any comments? Further, how did signing with Metal Blade come about? I thought that Southern Lord would have been an optimal choice.
Southern Lord was never really interested in YOB... I don't think we quite do it for them. So far our dealings with Metal Blade have exceeded anything we could have imagined. They have the influence and professionalism of a big label but have the enthusiasm of an independent. It's the best of both worlds! As far as us siging to them, Brian contacted us when he heard we had left our last label and were looking for a new one. We never contacted them ourselves. We had already been talking to a few labels we had befriended over the years when Brian Slagel expressed his interest in signing YOB. He has our last record and is a fan. We were floored of course! We grew up on Metal Blade in the 80's and they have put out some of my favorite records! That being said we weren't sure that they would be the right place for us. Over a few months he convinced us otherwise and made us an offer that we couldn't turn down. We are very happy with metal Blade thus far.
Do you think Metal Blade is doing a good job of promoting Yob and your new album? FYI, I've seen The Illusion of Motion in quite a few stores in southeast Virginia so it's definitely out there for people to get into it -- or rather to let it get into them.
They seem to be doing a fantastic job of promoting our new album! We have done lots of interviews for it and we see our name in their ads all over the place. It is better than anything we hoped for! DOOM metal is still so underground as a whole. When a label like Metal Blade gets behind a band like us and pushes us in their ads right along side Six Feet Under it's pretty amazing.
Having never had the pleasure of experiencing Yob live, when might we east coasters expect to see you guys? I'm dying for a DOOM onslaught in the flesh and I figure Metal Blade can use some of their clout to spread the word about Yob.
We will DEFINITELY be on the east coast in May! Not sure who we will be touring with exactly but I'm sure with our fantastic booking agent Nathan Carson at Nanotear Booking and Metal Blade's far reaching influence it will be a killer tour! We can't wait!!!
In most of the interviews I've read with Yob, mention is made of Portland and the related scene. Is this because there is no real scene associated with Eugene or would it be more appropriate for Yob to simply be considered an Oregon phenomenon? That sounds like something you can use as a subtitle. "Yob: An Oregon Phenomenon." Feel free to send royalties. ;)
The check is in the mail \m/! There are a number of killer bands in Eugene and we definitely like playing shows here. That being said Portland has really embraced us and the best shows we have ever played in Oregon have been up there. We have definitely grown out of the "local" band category as far as Eugene goes. Portland has claimed YOB as their own and we are quite OK with that:)
Who have been your strangest bedfellows on tour? I'm talkin' about the best, worst, most unique, most surprising (etc.) tour mates.
On our first US tour we did a number of shows with Graves At Sea, Lamont, Tummler, DOVE, and Orange Goblin. We have definitely played very unlikely shows for a DOOM metal band opening up for Origin, Exhumed, The Locust, The Accused, Botch, Isis, Soilent Green, Uphill Battle, Playing Enemy, Will Haven, Ghostride, etc.
Here's a question I seem to ask semi-often, but do you notice a difference in the crowd response from the United States to Europe or other places like Japan where the people are simply insane for damn near any band? There's more than one reason people say "we're big in Japan."
We've only played in the US so I can't comment on Europe or Japan... but we hope to remedy that in the next year or so! That being said I have to say that the US has been very good to us overall and DOOM metal is certainly not as ill received here as one would think.
About TIOM, how long did the writing/recording take? Is there a process by which the three of you operate - write music, lyrics, produce, mix, etc. - perhaps not unlike Jim Morrison and his bottle of Bushmills in the studio (if Oliver Stone's flick is to be believed)? Similarly, does a Yob song typically start with the almighty riff -- as opposed to a lyric or a general feeling or mood, etc.?
It took us about a month to finish TIOM in the studio and we wrote the album over a year or so. That being said, when we hit the studio we also had another full album's worth of material available to us. We are VERY prolific songwriters.
Our songs start out in my living room. I generally bring a song to practice pretty much arranged and then we learn it. Isamu and Travis are the truth sensors and if we are all grinning like devils while we learn the tune we know we are onto something. For me, riffs aren't enough. The song has to have a cohesive VIBE that doesn't let up for the entire tune. The song has to be more than parts and mathematics. We usually know within a practice or two if a song is worth working our further or scrapping.
You've been asked countless times about Yob's major influences so I'll skip that question since the dedicated reader will already know about The Electric Wizard and Sleep (among others), but who, if anyone, do you consider to be your true peers in DOOM in particular and perhaps Metal in general?
The bands in the DOOM genre that we relate to the most as far as modern bands are Graves At Sea, Khanate, Unearthly Trance, Buried At Sea, and Asunder... I'm sure there are others! YOB's name seems to be regularly mentioned in the same sentence as Isis, Pelican, Mastodon, and Cult Of Luna. Basically we love hardcore and metal in general and any quality band we get to share the stage with is a peer as far as we are concerned.
Somewhat relatedly, do you have any "dream collaborations" [from some of your influences, perhaps] in mind for future records or would that be a dilutive process?
Fuck, I would love to have Matt Pike record something with YOB... and I would love to either play guitar or sing with a project band that had Victor Griffin or Wino, Matt Pike, Stephen O' Malley, Chris Haikus and Al Cisneros... hey, I'm dreaming, right? I think for a YOB record to have more than one guest appearance would probably not work.
Maybe I missed a memo, but what are your thoughts on the mighty Earth? That band (with semi-local [at least to you] hero [of mine] Dylan Carlson and co.) has a sound virtually unlike anything else -- not unlike Yob. Aside from SUNN O)))'s Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley Earth are not name-dropped often enough, IMHO.
Both of those bands are so extreme... like the other end of the spectrum from bands like Krisiun and Mental Horror. Earth is definitely legendary in the NW and SUNN O))) are definitely their own special kind of mind-fuck!
Switching gears a bit, what surprising things can Yob be found listening to when on the tour bus, or while sitting at home, etc.? I've seen the love of virtually all things extreme and Metal from Iron Maiden to Immolation in other interviews, so I'm askin' the "tough question" about some skeletons in the ol' Yob closet. Also, are there any new bands you find exciting and worthwhile?
Here's a list of cds you will find in our cd case on tour: Burning Witch, Akercocke, IMMOLATION, Electric Wizard, Boston, Corrupted, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Accept, Inquisition, Darkthone, VON, Suffocation, High On Fire, Will Haven, Neurosis, Graves At Sea, Ludicra, Sodom, Demolition Hammer, Pentagram, Mayhem, Ulver, Poison Idea, DRI, The Crumbsuckers, Acrimony, Orange Goblin, Solace, Khanate, Buried At Sea, SLEEP, [Black] Sabbath, Mental Horror, Ophiolatry, Rebaelliun, Morgoth, Coalesce, Napalm Death, Carcass, The Obsessed, Spirit Caravan... to name a few. :)
Some final thoughts about DOOM: What do you think are the genre's greatest strengths and weaknesses? How does Yob avoid the weaknesses and focus on the strengths?
DOOM's strengths are many! The almighty RIFF, the pace and the purity, the heaviness and brevity of the songs. There is an ethic in DOOM that reminds me of the punk scene in the 80's. The folks who play DOOM are bent on it. No trends as far as I can see. I think that the only weakness DOOM could have is if the bands didn't push the envelope of Sabbath riffs at 33rpm and only emulated what bands have done before them. To diversify is to keep it alive. Certainly there are bands that do the 70's style DOOM very well and I love those bands but if that's what all of the DOOM metal bands did then it would start to stagnate. To some people DOOM's weakness is that it is destined to stay underground because of its more extreme elements. I would say it is music for the chosen few who get it. It is not music that is handed to a listener on a silver platter. A listener has to grow into it and it takes some time. My all time favorite music took me a while to understand and YOB will always balance out our more catchy material with songs that try to push our own boundaries and challenge our listeners as well.
In closing, I want to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Do you have any parting words for our readers and your fans?
THANK YOU!!! And thanks to everyone out there who is just like us... bent on THE HEAVY!!! Whether it be Black or Death Metal, Stoner/DOOM, Grindcore or Hardcore... stay STRONG!!! We live for your music as much as we live for our own! And thanks to all of our fans who have stuck with us! See you on tour in 2005!!!
Links of interest:
Metal Blade Records