YOB: The Unreal Never Ceased, Pt. 2: An Interview With Mike Scheidt

…When we left off last week, YOB guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt was discussing the shifting priorities in his life as his band came back to the creative fore. In part two, the discussion turns toward the creative end of things and how it’s different being in YOB this time as opposed to before the initial breakup. YOB’s new album, The Great Cessation, is available now on Profound Lore Records.

What was it like when you first started writing for YOB again?

It was an old, familiar, comfortable coat that I slipped right into. It’s a cupcake. It’s easy for me. It’s what I did for years and years and years, so it was easy. Age Eternal was tougher in some ways, because my initial thought with that band was, wow, it would be rad to bring my influences to a couple of players that weren’t from the doom scene at all, or weren’t from the stoner rock scene and hadn’t played in those bands, and what do we come up with. Well, we had these three very electric personalities that came from everything from rock to country to hardcore and grind and metal and just came from a lot of different places. The way that I approached the riffs was very different because it was trying to bridge gaps in-between us. Will has probably seen YOB 50 times, so he understood the style and he had his take on it. It was much more of I didn’t sit back into my YOB (laughs). I didn’t sit back into it. It was just a lot more immediate and straightforward to me, where YOB took its time more so. Even though the songs with Age Eternal were still long and everything like that, I think they just got where they were going sooner and then bludgeoned there longer.

The other thing too—I’m trying to put my words together as I’m talking—I haven’t thought about this in a while. But the other thing too was, and this was a big difference, when Age Eternal started, it was kind of riding off of where YOB left off. The two guys that left YOB, Isamu and Travis, were done touring. They didn’t want to tour anymore. I wasn’t ready to give that up and things were going so well with the band, so when it was time to do this band and pick up the Metal Blade contract and move on, I had two guys who were significantly younger than me that were very ambitious, that were jumping into an opportunity and also didn’t have anything tying them down. There was kind of pressure from me, unsaid and implied, you know, ‘We’ve gotta get some material together, we’ve got to get an album together, we’ve gotta get a tour booked.’ YOB was never approached that way. Never. With YOB, things came and we did it. We wrote songs, ‘Well, it’s enough for an album, we should probably record it.’ It was never a pressure. It was never a thing where, ‘This has to be done.’

It was right around the time where that level of output from me started hitting the reality of I didn’t come up with enough money to pay my end of the bills again, my kids are getting older, they’re going through major changes and I’m on tour. All these things started happening and I realized I’ve got to reel way back and not do what I’ve been doing. There was a lot of discord in the band, because they signed on for this thing where it was going to be at least one or two major tours a year and an album a year and I was starting to realize that that was not going to be realistic. And so there was a lot of stress within the band for players to be active, for players to be on the road, for players being very ambitious. To go back into YOB and have it not be that is, for me, it’s exactly where I need to be, and those guys too, obviously. Will has been on probably eight to 10 tours in the last two years in his time in Wolves In The Throne Room, so it’s exactly what he needed. It really worked out for the best, but that’s a big difference.