Interview - YOB
Sam: Got the new album, on vinyl of course,
and had to pour through the lyrics like I do with everything, and as usual it seems
pretty fucking deep...what's goin' on there?
Mike: "Just trying to work through some stuff, you know? I mean, my lyrics will start out sometimes a little dark, but it's not meant to wallow, it's meant to move. It's meant to keep energy moving, and move through it. And so that's kind of my focus. And I love all different kinds of lyrical bents around that, so it's not like some sort of gospel according to me, it's what feels good for me. But there's dark, dismal, utterly depressed, ruined music...with no hope, that I love. So it's..for me, I gotta move through, it's what I want to do. I don't want to feel like that forever. I want to feel better"
Sam: Yeah, I think everyone needs to feel a little better right now...
Mike: "Yeah, it's rough times man, there's alot of things going on out there."
Sam: Yeah, too much. The 2nd track on the album sounds like something you've never done before, sort of threw me for a loop...
MS: "Oh, cool"
Sam: How did that come about?
MS: "I mean, we're big black and death metal fans, and what's always intriguing is, we combine things and make something if not new, then like you said new for us, stretching different muscles for us, I mean I think a speed-picked, tribal approach is not new for us but we try to put our own kind of feeling into it, and have a couple dynmics that might be our own, and we'll work on alot of different material to end up with the things that become a record. And for these songs, we don't want there to be any..there's never leftover tracks, there's never you know, things that we record extra, we try to just have all killer, and not have any stuff that's questionable, so that song...felt like it had to be done, recorded."
Sam: You ever write a riff where you're like 'this may or may not fit into YOB?
MS: "All the time, absolutely. And it's funny what ends up being YOB, because like the song 'Marrow' we didn't really think that that was actually going to be a YOB song. I was working on it, and because it's solo material it's partially where that song came to life is I'd just been playing alot of solo stuff for a couple years and that kind of finger picking and approach is alot more like my acoustic stuff. but the acoustic is then kind of affecting the YOB stuff. And when we first started playing it, we definitely thought, oh well, this is kind of, does this work for us? And the more we played it, the more we were just like, yeah, it's us. Some other people might not think so, but we think so, so. But there are things too that don't make the cut, most things don't make the cut, yeah."
Sam: Yeah, your acoustic stuff, I can listen to it if I'm in a certain mood, but it bums me out if I listen to it too much (laughs)
MS: "(laughing) Well, and you know the thing is, that album.."
Sam: But it's so good...
MS: "When I wrote it, than was in a total heartbreak situation, and it was really simple, like it wasn't poetic nessesarily, maybe in moments it is, but for t"he most part it's just kind of laying it out, and when I started talking to Thill Jockey about putting it out, it was just...I'm so in like a pattern of like, oh yeah, you write songs, you record songs, you put out records, you know? That's what you do. And so I went through that whole process with this too, and then there's a moment where I turned it in, and it was all happening..and I went, 'oh no! I'm putting out that record!' and it really freaked me out for a minute because it's so...heavy and personal. But, you know, it also started me down that path so, since then it's changed quite a bit. I'm going to record another one in a year or so."
MS: "It'll be different"
Sam: How is this tour going?
MS: "Great. It's Enslaved. I mean, Estactic Vision, I've known Doug, the guitar player for awhile 'cause he works at this place called Kung-Fu Necktie in Philly and YOB has played there a couple times, I played there solo and we've always had a good time there, he worked often when I was there and was always just really friendly and cool. And then I found out he has this new band and we played with them at St. Vitus in December and it was like 'oh this is awesome' and then we got the Enslaved tour and they were the opener, so it was like 'oh this is going to be killer'. So being able to be out with them is great. I'm a long time Enslaved fan, and so, I was already a giant fan before the tour. But being around them, and hanging out with them and just seeing the way that they exist, has been really inspiring and fun..kinda like I said onstage, being around and watching them every day is like church, and school, and the looney bin all in one. It's pretty great. So I definitely think we forged some lifelong friendships on this tour."
Sam: How are you digging the Hovercraft head and the Mammoth cabs?
MS: "Loving it, the Hovercraft are like alot, I'm still getting to know this one. The Mammoth cabs, Kyle from Hovercraft does great work and their trip is kind of a unique trip, you know the recycled amp thing, but those amps move alot of air and have some complexity to them. And I like 'um. The Mammoth cabs are the best speaker cabs I've ever owned, never owned anything better, and I've owned lot. But they move, I mean, you herd 'um"
Sam: I like the wood case.
MS: "Me too, me too, yeah, they move, they look incredible, everybody loves how they look, there's not one stagehand that doesn't go 'what are those?' and then the sound, the sound is insane. They move so much air, they're really loud."
Sam: You guys are usually pretty loud...
MS: "I know, which is funny, we used to have 2 full stacks whenever we played, now we're at 2 half stacks, and it's still..with those 2 half stacks it's strikes me as just as loud, but more managable. As opposed to just having alot of amps, or you end up getting into situations where it just becomes overkill, you don't have a drummer anymore because they can't get the P.A. up loud enough, or vocals...so we're trying to give our soundman something to work with."
Sam: What are you guys doing next?
MS: "This is the last show of this tour here with these guys, we have a day off tomorrow, then we meet up with Witch Mountain the next day and then back to Oregon where we're all from. Playing Maryland Deathfest, playing Stump Fest in Portland, we're playing one other fest at the end of August. Looking at going to Australia in mid-August, we have one crazy tour offer that came through yesterday, at a time where we didn't plan on touring, but it's...can't say what it is 'cause I'm not sure we can do it even, we might not be able to. We're trying to keep a balance between life, and YOB, and work, and the band, you know? There's always the temptation with this stuff to just be out and out and out, and where things are really special and awesome right now, you can only get away with that for so long before you start playing yourself out, and we don't want to do that, we want to keep it special for us, for people showing up. Like I said we can do it for a little bit longer, so we're being careful. There's some stuff on the table we can check out, recording projects planned, and there are alot of cool things happening."