In light of everything that shall not be named, how do you look at the time in Not Middian? Can you think about it without being soured on it?
Yeah, you know. The experience definitely sullied it, for sure. My memory of it. But, you know, we did have some really great times and played some great shows. We enjoyed what we were doing and it certainly paved the way for our connections. Will most likely wouldn’t have connected with Wolves In The Throne Room. He might have, but certainly The Name That Shall Not Be Named paved the way. The tour that Age Eternal did with Minsk helped me solidify a relationship with Sanford [Parker] that would allow us to do some production and have him record us for The Great Cessation. I don’t remember it as lawsuit-only. I don’t remember it as that, but there’s some of that left over, and undeniably we all harbor some negative feelings about how it all went down, but what can you do?
How has your attitude toward YOB changed? You mentioned before, coming back as a side-project, then as the focus. Have you changed your approach to the band at all?
The approach has changed not in how we approach the music itself. We approach the music itself in a very similar fashion as far as our influences and the creative process and how we conduct ourselves as a band. That has not changed, but I do think that there was a period of time where starting out the band and really thinking doom is this little bitty thing that was starting to grow. It was starting to branch away from the European, Candlemass, American Saint Vitus-worship and including those things, but starting to grow, but with a very small audience. Truly the people that played it, there was no concept remotely of it being an ambition or something that was going to have an audience outside of what was already there. So when label offers started coming our way and bigger and bigger shows started coming our way, we just looked things and said, ‘Well, do we want to do this?’ and weighed the pros and cons and stepped up a lot of times, like with Metal Blade.
When Metal Blade got in touch with us, we were like, ‘What the fuck do we do with this? Do we sign with Metal Blade? We’re a doom metal band. Why does anyone want to do it? We’re not gonna do anything for them?’ Every time these opportunities came, they just blew our minds away. There was a period of time where we thought, wow, maybe this is something, maybe we should step up and do these things, maybe it’s possible. It’s everybody’s dream to do what they love anyway, but to make money on top of that is unbelievable. To have somebody hand you a paycheck is just like, ‘What? Really? Wow, okay.’ But I think we’ve really backed away from any concept of that. We are very much not ambitious now. We throw our energy into the record, we throw our energy into the material. We’re being careful. We’re doing handfuls of shows—cool shows—not looking to do the big tours anymore. We’re at ages where we have kids that are growing up and they have needs and they cost money and it’s nice to have a job. It’s nice to not work a minimum wage job or lose a job every time you go on tour, just because. For me, if I didn’t have kids, it wouldn’t be an issue. I would do what you gotta do, but that’s not the reality. There’s a bigger deal than me and that’s my kids, so they’re the priority. Our drummer has a really good job and a girlfriend and she has a child. That’s real life and that’s how it is. We’re not bitter about it. It’s a relief. ‘Cool, we can just be us and take advantage of the opportunities as they come up.’ We don’t have to tour. We’re on a label, Profound Lore, that puts artistic excellence above trying to be a product in the world of music commerce, so we can do what we want to do, and that’s a change for sure. It’s not like we were ever trying to hit the road nonstop and ‘make it’ or anything, but I do think we stepped up a lot more than we’d ever planned to and toured a lot more than we’d ever planned to. Certainly we got a lot bigger than we thought we would, so we’re just careful now about what we do.
Tune in for Part Two next week!
The Great Cessation is available now through Profound Lore. For more info on YOB, check out myspace.com/yobdoom.
One of these days, JJ Koczan, one of these days… POW! Right in the kisser! Visit theobelisk.com for a good pummeling.