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The ultra underground nature of the doom metal scene is balanced by the passion of its followers. Vocalist / guitarist Mike Sheidt is a case in point. His band, YOB, is a crushing, heavy and unique doom outfit from Portland, Oregon. And, not only is Mike completely devoted to the music he creates, but he is a huge supporter of the music scene as well. Without such drive and enthusiasm, doom would be. . . doomed. Mike has a lot to say, so the Metal Update got the low down on the down low.

METAL UPDATE: For all those wondering out there, what does YOB mean?

MIKE SHEIDT: Well, when we first named the band we had a huge list of names and we were trying to find one that was something that we could dump all our energy into and define ourselves - something that wouldn't paint us into a corner too much. I initially got it from a Looney Tunes cartoon "Rocket Bye Baby". In the naming of the band, shortly after that we found out the English version of it which is the yob, the hoodlums, the group of yobs, the fuckers. In Russian it means "fuck."

MU: The Looney Tunes thing is kind of strange for a band that sounds like you guys, but I guess the other definitions are a little more suitable, you know?

MS: Yeah. Well, once again it's like the meaning of the band is what we dump into it. The meaning of the band is what we dump into it lyrically and otherwise. To me, the name was ambiguous enough that when you look at bands like Sleep and Cathedral, they made it what they do. The band Floor, it's like what's that? Floor. But Floor is a fucking rad band. They made their name what it is.

MU: What brings out a YOB riff?

MS: Sometimes I write most of it. I'm the original member guy. I don't know, sometimes it comes from going and seeing a movie, and certain riffs will start circulating around in my head, or a vibe. Sometimes it's a feeling, sometimes it's inspiration from playing with bands, and just all of a sudden I think of where I want to take something next. When I think of riffs, it never starts out as just one. I get a feeling about what kind of a song I want to come up with next. I don't always necessarily think I'm gonna write a big huge long one, but it will start with a succession, because each riff has to connect into the next one and a person has to be careful that it doesn't sound typical. That it doesn't sound like, "Oh that song has a cool riff, but what's the rest of that?" or "what was that bridge?" or "what was that all about?" That's kinda how it goes, but I have probably at least a half hour or 45 minutes of material that just hasn't come together. That has a lot of good riffs, but isn't speaking as a whole. It doesn't become a song until it does that.

MU: How long does it take to complete a song and how does it come about? You said you write most of the stuff, and I know you do some of the arranging as well. Is it just you sitting around your house rockin' out?

MS: I'll bring a song to practice 80% arranged. Then Travis and Isamu and I will all sit there, and if it has our vibe when we're playing it, we take it further. If we mess around with it for a week or two and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere, it gets shelved for a while. It's either waiting for something to be rearranged or it's waiting for a bridge that didn't happen or just a switch, but I think some of our tunes come really quick. We have this new song called "The Illusion of Motion" and it's 25 minutes. That tune came together over three weeks of time. From the first time I coined the opening riff until we more or less had it in a situation where we just had to work out little details. I've had a couple tunes that sat around off and on for a couple years that didn't become songs until just recently. I would say when we actually get down to it, we're really prolific. We have two entire records worth of material right now that isn't recorded.

YOB live!

MU: That's very productive.

MS: Yeah, we're doing what we love and it just kinda comes easy. I don't always assume that it will, but it has.

MU: What degree of spontaneity is involved in the writing as far as the other members of the band. Do they kind of do their own thing for the most part?

MS: Isamu always does his own thing. He just comes up with his bass lines and they just always fit. Sometimes he asks me if something will fit, but for the most part we know it does. Isamu and I have been playing music together probably since '95 and it sounds cliché but we just have a connection that way and it really happens. But Travis, he's been with the band for a year and he wants input. He asks for it all the time. He's like, "does this work, does this work, does this work?" This record we are recording right now will be his first with us. You know, I'm a drummer too. I play drums for HC Minds and when I write songs - and I've been drumming for a long time - tempo in the way riffs can be interpreted can so make or break a band. A killer riff and a drummer with the wrong ideas will fuck it. So I'm really, really picky about how riffs get interpreted. So I'm not riding my drummers all the time, but at the same time I'm not reserved in suggestions and just say, this is the idea that I had for it and let's try it as a means of getting to know the riff and then let's see what works. Nine times out of ten, actually pretty much all the time, we just end up grooving on that or we'll find together what works best.

MU: What are your philosophical viewpoints that you are trying to express on 'Catharsis'?

MS: 'Catharsis' is a little ambiguously self-indulgent. I guess for me, when you look at a lot of doom metal, and it's not knocking this at all, I actually like when people get into the darkness. Just things are fucked. I can walk around and I can read the newspaper and watch the news and go, "I don't know what the fuck is going on." The world is going down in flames. So for me, given all of that, I know that there is more to it. And I don't mean this necessarily in a spiritual sense, but I do think that. . . I've done a lot of studying and reading and sitting with Buddhism, Hinduism style, Ramana Maharishi, Kalu Rinpoche. And I guess I'm more concerned with what is going to transcend all this mess. Human beings have not been here very long in the scheme of things, and we may not be around very long after, in the scheme of things. But I do believe that there is something that keeps on going and that people are made up of that thing, as well as everything else is. So my goal is to try to come to peace with being a human being, come to peace with the world as being fucked, come to peace with being part of something I don't understand. And then within that, try to be a good dad, try to be a good friend, try to be a good person and not dwell on how fucked everything is. At the end of the day, or at the end of the world or whatever it is, at the end of our lives when we look back on it, I just want to personally think that I did my best. I don't know that my calling is necessarily to be some kind of crusader or something ridiculous like that, but I do know that each person in their own environment with their own friends and their own family can shape something that is better. And not something that is Mickey Mouse or Disney, you know where it's "let's be good to each other and love each other." It's more complicated than that.

MU: What is more important to you, words or music?

MS: Tough call. I think there are bands that make their words, when you look at the Dead Kennedys. Musically, they were killer. What Jello had to say was what made those songs magical to me. He had an incredible way of expressing himself and his opinions. Then you take Warhorse. Lyrically, it doesn't do much for me. Musically, it's crushing. I mean the lyrics aren't bad, you know, it's not anything like that. It just doesn't move me the way that their music does. It's huge and brutal. I think that a lot of the time, with death and black metal, lyrically it's not often that a band just reaches out and grabs me because it's all more or less the same thing. I'm more of a fan towards the spiritual black or death metal like Emperor, Satyricon or Immolation. Even if it's satanic, Morbid Angel, it's still a form of being a searcher and a seeker. And I relate to that more than I relate to hacking up women and things like that. It just depends on the band. A band like Revelation, in the doom scene, Dennis Cornelius, he's got a lot to say. He's on his own path and I respect it. I respect people that are reaching and trying to do something other than trying to think up what would be the scariest thing to write on a piece of paper. To write from their own experience and what not. I know that for me as a listener, I just groove on music. Lyrics to me, a voice, when I'm listening to music is an instrument. I've heard my voice like that. It's like obviously I have lyrics, but I try to approach singing as another guitar or as another accompaniment instrument that has it's rises and falls and soloing qualities and creates another dynamic.

MU: I think your vocals are definitely the element that makes you guys stand out, and for good reason. Now, who have people compared you to in the past?

MS: Often, singers that I'm not even influenced by, like King Diamond and Geddy Lee. I mean, I've listened to Mercyful Fate in the early 80's and I certainly like Rush, but I'm more influenced by. . . certainly Rob Halford is in there. Certainly influenced by Al Cisneros - that's from Sleep - particularly 'Holy Mountain' era Sleep. Somewhat influenced by the death genre in general, like Immolation in particular. Ross Dolan just has a rad death metal voice. He just says a few words with conviction, trying to spit them out really fast over fast music and I just really dig that. He'll change his structure on every beat and it'll be just a little different. Just dead on. I don't know. I mean it just changes. To a certain degree, when I listen to my own voice singing, I'm not really sure what it sounds like compared to other people. When people make the comparisons, I think partly why they make comparisons to King Diamond or whatever, is that the voice is so extreme. When King Diamond starts singing, it's like, "Whoa! Hello!" It's not like listening to Chris Cornell, where a mass of people can find something to relate to. King Diamond is in your face extreme and so is Geddy Lee. So I think my voice is kind of like that too. It's something that most of stoner doom stuff, the voice isn't really like that.

MU: No. It's usually pretty monotone and most of the time the music has to carry the weight. But with you guys it was like, "Whoa! We've got another element to work with here." And that is a good thing.

MS: I feel good about it. I get happily surprised in general that it has been reviewed so well, because I really heard myself singing for the first time. You can do a thing forever, but when you go into record, the tape doesn't lie ever. If you do shitty it's right there to be seen. And when I first heard my voice, I was like, "Wow, we'll see what people think of this." For me in this band, that's the way it is. I can't change it.

MU: I think it works for ya.

MS: Thanks.

MU: You guys have some pretty lengthy tunes, although it's pretty commonplace in the doom world. How do you determine the length of a song?

MS: They determine it themselves. We have a new tune. Our shortest song ever. It's five and a half minutes. That's a world record for us. Our new record is going to be five songs at 60 minutes. Compared to some of our other stuff there is mostly shorter songs, eight to ten minutes, but then we have one 25 minute tune. I write songs until they feel like they are done. I just need songs to have a certain storyline musically. They have twists and turns and stops and starts and dynamics and crescendos and builds - builds that are sometimes fairly short and brief, and builds that are very patient. You will get the payoff, but it is gonna be in five minutes instead of 30 seconds. So they kind of determine it themselves. I never really sit down and go, "We better sit down and write the next record's epic." We do seem to end up with a quandary every time we play, because we have 45 minutes to play, and that means we're gonna pick 3 songs. So that's just our quandary. It'd be great to have a bunch of shorter ones, but that's not the way it is.

MU: Well doom kind of moves on a much slower pace anyways, so it just takes longer to get through everything.

MS: Oh yeah, if you took "Sweet Leaf" and played it on 33, it's gonna take longer to get there. That's just the physics of it.

MU: An eight to ten minute long song, I've done the doom band thing before, and that's just how long it takes on average.

MS: The one thing that I will say that we try to be careful about on our super long tunes is not to repeat anything too much. There's gonna be the singing parts that are gonna have the same riffs. But it really needs to change. There are some bands that I hear like Corrupted, you know, which I love the fact that they just are so vibe crushing overtones within just a few riffs. Like on that 'Nadie' EP - that 40-minute song – have you heard that?

MU: No.

MS: God man, it is sooo fucking heavy. It sounds like Warhorse on Satan. So intense. They have walls of feedback happening the whole fucking time while they are doing this crushingly slow riff. If you can track down 'Nadie', it is just fucking insane. But I am not comfortable doing that. It's like if it came out that way. . . I mean, I buy every doom release that comes out if I've heard it's any good at all. Those bands are the standard. If I don't feel like I'm writing a song that has something to contribute to that, then you don't ever hear it. It just ain't going out there. So I wouldn't feel comfortable doing what they do. But for us, when we do a song like "Catharsis", where it's got a lot of twists and turns, changes and ups and downs - that's just how we are. It's almost like doom for the ADD guy in a way, cause it isn't Jerusalem where it's five riffs in an hour of time, which I love but I personally feel too exposed to do that.

MU: What kind of equipment do you guys use in a nutshell?

MS: Well, right now Isamu is using a SVT stack and it's an old one from the '60s and he also uses a Sunn 2x15 with an Orange Graphic 120 with an A/B switch. The SVT handles sub harmonics pretty good and the Orange gives that really killer grindy mid. And it just sounds rad. And then he runs a Turbo Rat in front of it with a CS-2 Boss Compressor. So that's the one that doesn't have the tone knob on it. It's the only one that I really like. The one that came out later, the C-3s had an attack knob. It sucks. You just can't get away from it. You have to choose a tone. Whenever you step on that pedal it's gonna change your tone. So that's what he uses and Rickenbacker basses. Travis has a big, very rare, rad red Vistalite Ludwig drumset that's all big sizes - 26" kick, matching snare, 14" rack, 18" and 20" floor toms. It's just huge. Then we also put together and we've been using this a lot too, and it's an old wooden drum set, a Frankensparkle. We rigged up a bunch of different sparkle drums and we used an 18" and a 20" on the floor too with gold sparkle, and we have a pink sparkle 14" rack, and a 28" x 12" green sparkle kick. It rules. And we just put these spikes in front of it and just root that thing right down. With the 12" depth, it's a lot snappier than you'd think it would be, cause it doesn't cavern around in there as much. It's just knarly. It really is a great sounding kick drum. I use Matamp stuff. I have a black Matamp stack. It was the first black Matamp in the United States. I only use non-master volume Matamps. I just want the clean tone and then I have two black Matamp cabinets that are loaded with Hot 100s. And I also have a white Matamp that is also a non-master volume with Hot 100s in it also. And I also have a Matamp, what's called a GTH, and it's voiced like a Hiwatt. But it's not the New England Classic. It's one that's built like the G Series on that amp so it's all hard wired and it puts out about 120 Watts. My other two bench about 160. They say they do 140, but 160 is about what they do. Really loud. Two Les Pauls dropped down to A with Baritone strings so I use 14 to 68 gauge and I change out the G and put a 30 on there. For distortion I use an old 70's Ross distortion and combined with that is a 70's MXR Dynacomp. And that combination is the best I've ever used. Then I also use a Block Logo Phase 90 and this very unlikely delay pedal that I wouldn't think would be any good because I hate DOD stuff, but I tracked down this DOD delay pedal that I really like. So I've been using it and a Bad Horsie Wah. So that's pretty much my live gig in a nutshell. Generally in smaller clubs, I'll just use one full stack, and it pumps plenty of volume. In the bigger clubs like at Intermissions, I'll definitely run a stack and a half with an A/B switch. We just played this show in Portland with Place Of Skulls. In the bigger places, this place was Conan's Pub, it's big and it holds like 400 or 500 people real easily. As far as a club goes it's pretty big. A stack and a half of Matamp fills the place right up. It worked just fine. I had somebody put a decibel meter in front of it. It pumped about 130 easily.

MU: Do you guys wear earplugs at all?

MS: Uh Uh. Travis and Isamu do at practice. I do half the time. It's funny, I had a hearing test done just about 6 weeks ago. My hearing is great, which means it was probably superhuman at one time. It's come down significantly over the years. But I just love loud music so much and this body is gonna decay and go away anyway so fuck it. I just like it loud. Sometimes I'll stick in earplugs. It just depends on the band. Like when I went and saw Jucifer, I wore earplugs. Have you seen those guys?

MU: No.

MS: Fuckola! You just won't believe it. They make High On Fire seem like a lounge band. It's a woman and a man. That's all that it is. And this woman, who is the guitar player, uses a Fender bass six, one of those older Fender amp guitars, which were like a sub harmonic bass thing. It's got a longer scale neck on it. At least I think that's what it is. She runs, I shit you not, a wall of amps. They have a roadie, and all they were doing before their set is wiring up cabinets. They had this setup where they had all these cabinets. I'll make a conservative estimate, but it's to make it not sound like I am blowing this out of proportion. A conservative estimate would be six 4x12s, probably two 2x15s, let's say two 8x10s, a couple of 1x15s and a couple of 2x12s. I know that they were running three or four different power amps into one preamp.

MU: All for one guitar?

MS: Correct.

MU: Wow. Sounds like somebody owns a music store.

MS: They could certainly start one. I mean, it is just so fucking loud you just wouldn't believe it. And of course they're not micing it. So they are just dumping all that PA power, whatever club it is into the drummer and the vocals. I put in earplugs. There is not very often where I feel like I have to. I wanted to be in the same room with that and I did. I wanted to be there and feel the wind, so earplugs went in. To make a long story short, I'll be a deaf fucker in the next 30 years.

MU: Yeah, most of us will be I'm sure. How would you describe your music to somebody who knows nothing about doom?

MS: You know. For somebody who knows nothing about it, I would just say, "If you take early Black Sabbath and infuse modern elements." They just go, "Oh, ok." They don't know what that means outside of metal. We grew up in the hardcore scene so there's certainly some elements of that, hardcore and punk. That's how we conduct ourselves attitude-wise. We're scene supporters and give all our money to the out of town bands when we do shows. That's just how we do it. I was brought up doing it, playing in punk bands and crossover bands in the 80's and early 90's and that's what feels best at the end of the day. But Sabbath mixed with. . . some of it's super slow. Some of it's really chaotic. I think one thing, when we put out our next record, I don't think even our listeners are gonna even know completely where we're at. Our new record is going to be different. 'Elaborations' and 'Catharsis' in my opinion that are a little different. This record is going to have elements of the two records and on a whole it's more angular and I'd say a little angrier. It's faster, but the slow parts are slower than anything we've ever done. Some of the snare hits are on full ten counts before something hits. It's slow. It's slow by doom standards. But some of it's really fast and super riffy and technical. So it's different. I think even for people that are in the doom scene. We're certainly not leaving the doom scene, but we're a little bit on the outskirts of it at the same time.

MU: What inspired you to play doom?

MS: I was mostly way into hardcore bands in the early 80's and some metal bands. I was one of those rare guys back then who liked both. There were times in the early 80's where you either had long hair or no hair and there was always friction at every show. I was one of those guys who wore the Saxon shirt to the Cro-Mags show. I think I went and saw Napalm Death and Brutal Truth in '91, and Cathedral was on tour with them. I bought 'Forest Of Equilibrium' and didn't like it at all. I was like whatever. And when I saw them play it live, I got it. I was blown away. I really was there expecting Napalm Death to blow me away, and I walked out thinking Cathedral and Brutal Truth were the best bands on the planet. Carcass played that tour. Carcass was untouchable back then. That's what got me started, and then I bought ‘Holy Mountain’. I grew up on Sabbath. I grew up on Zeppelin. When I was crawling around in my house, my dad would blast Zeppelin II, so I always had those roots in there. Then when I heard Cathedral and Sleep, I just went, "Wow, that's amazing," that these newer bands are doing that, but in a new way. And I started getting way into it and started just going down their thank you lists and started searching out records - started searching out Revelation records, started searching out Dream Death records, started searching out the Obsessed and Pentagram. And this was in '91 or '92 and all these bands had been hummin' for a while. There was this sub sub subculture of bands. I thought death metal was underground. I couldn't believe how underground this shit was. That's what got me into it.

MU: What is special about this form of music?

MS: It reminds me a lot of what the punk scene used to be in the early 80's / 70's. It was music by fans for the fans. The music was honest and passionate. It's made by people who love it. I've never met anybody in this scene who felt to me like they were on any kind of bandwagon. It feels to me like, "Oh yeah, I bought Sleep in '91 too." We have the same records in our collection and have for 15 years. I certainly meet people now who are just getting into it, but they're blown away. It just feels genuine and I haven't felt that in a long time. So I think that's what is special about it. And I think that it's music, like jazz, especially far out styles of jazz. It's not music for everybody. It's musicians' music. Not necessarily musicians' music, I'll pull back. The crowd picks you. Not the other way around. Not a band going out and picking their crowd. So I dig that. When we do these shows - that kind of comradery and closeness that I feel with the band that we get to play with - the kind of genuine love and respect that we have for our favorite band and for the scene - there's no explanation required. You just lay it down with each other and we all have our favorite band's shirts on and it's just the raddest thing.

Yob 'Catharsis' cover

MU: I see doom as almost the bastard child of the metal scene, and at the same time almost the most cult subgenre of metal. That's probably what makes it so special.

MS: When you look at the extreme doom metal, in a way it's like metal almost started with Sabbath back in the day. And then metal just kept getting harder and harder and harder and harder and then it took the speed from the punk scene. Slayer took it from D.R.I. and took it from Verbal Abuse and started playing really fast. Out of the death metal scene came the doom scene and somewhere along the line, which I think it's interesting when you talk to the old school doomsters, because they don't get it. When you talk to Victor, Victor Griffin. He likes that it's grown so much, but he doesn't know if he can completely relate to the death metal vocal. Whereas for people who came out of the death scene relate to it instantaneously. For me I love a classic voice. When you go to see somebody like Graves At Sea, they've just got this caustic voice, or EyeHateGod. Any voice that is not a traditional clean voice. I've got no problem with it at all.

MU: Same here. I understand that you three are all avid music fans. What genres do you prefer?

MS: I don't know. I guess I'm never going to grow up personally. I'm still listening to my D.R.I. 'Dealing With It' and early Poison Idea almost daily. And I listen to Immolation and Ackercocke quite a bit. That last Ackercocke record is mind-boggling. That's a record that they made on their own terms. It's not like anyone else, man. I really like that record. You can hear their influences but they do something kind of twisty. I also still listen to a lot of Pentagram and a lot of the Obsessed. I'm a big Van Morrison fan. I'm a big early Joni Mitchell fan. I like a lot of the better 70's and late 60's classic rock music. There's a certain level of musicianship that happened in pop music back then that doesn't really happen now as much. I love a lot of black metal stuff, but the essence black metal bands like early Emperor, Satyricon and Darkthrone. Satyricon 'Nemesis Divina' and earlier. My record collection is pretty fucking far out. It's got a lot of weird shit in it. As far as the hardcore scene goes, I really love Neurosis, definitely, even though they are kind of outside of the hardcore scene. Will Haven I like a lot. Converge I like a lot. Coalesce. Playing Enemy is incredible. There's a lot of things. Will Haven 'Carpe Diem'. We got to play with those guys. It's like the first time I heard Sleep and me, as a guitar player, changed that day. Changed the way I gripped chords. And when I saw Jeff Erwin and met him and saw them on the 'Carpe Diem' tour, I just permanently changed the way I played guitar after it. I just started using six note chords regularly and lots of drone notes and started really playing some different stuff. And you'll definitely hear some of that on the next record. The thing that's wild about 'Catharsis' is that's a two-year-old record. We recorded that and finished that two years ago. Our label was sold and the switchover took a long time before we were actually able to put out the record. So now the stuff we are putting out, even 3/4 of the tunes that are going to be on 'The Illusion Of Motion' are over a year old. That's how it goes. That's the music biz. There's nothing you can do about it. I like early Bethlehem too - the kind of suicide grim kind of black metal. There's just so much killer music. Metal music and the hardcore scene were so freely borrowed from everything. I just can't get bored with it. I haven't gotten bored with it yet.

MU: What format do you prefer? Are you a vinyl guy? A CD guy?

MS: I'm a CD guy because I had vinyl when my parents had vinyl. I just never had the patience for it, because my friends are way into vinyl. They spend a lot of time taking care of it and that's cool. I take care of my CDs too. But I'm not wiping them down any time I'm done with 'em and the way you have to handle 'em and they're super fragile. It's a pain in the ass. I just think vinyl sounds better. You have to have the stereo that is appropriate too, cause vinyl on a bad stereo sounds like anything else on a crappy stereo, like crap. At least a CD player, a lot of the time you can get this little crappy Sony $60 CD player with mega bass and you can play your CD on it and it sounds good.

MU: What doom bands would you recommend to those unfamiliar with the genre?

MS: Certainly places to start are Sleep's 'Holy Mountain' and Electric Wizard 'Come My Fanatics' or 'Dopethrone'. Warhorse 'When Heaven Turns to Ash'. Those are really strong records. As you start branching out a bit, that early Cathedral 'Forest of Equilibrium' and Graves At Sea certainly have a killer approach. Asunder is fucking amazing. Have you heard them?

MU: Nope.

MS: Goddamn. They are down in Oakland. Their drummer is Dino from Dystopia. They sound like 'Forest Of Equilibrium' era Cathedral and mixed it with Morgion and then gave it a huge atmosphere like a black metal record. It's really melodic, but crushingly heavy. And they have two singers. Their bass player and Dino the drummer. Dino does the death metal vocal. He's got a mid range but not super low death metal growl. And the other singer's got this super baritone Gregorian chant. Their new record called 'The Clarion Call' was recorded by Billy Anderson. It just sounds epic. Epic in the best sense.

MU: Sounds worth checking out.

MS: Yeah, but there's lots of great doom for people who are way more into the classic end of it. The Obsessed and Pentagram and Solace and Place Of Skulls. All super quality Sabbath inspired bands and are kinda are more into that particular vibe. For people who are more into the extreme stuff, the Buried At Sea and Corrupted. I guess Warhorse falls in that category and the early Cathedral stuff falls in that category. That's the stuff I listen to a lot. Burning Witch is one of my all time favorite bands. That's yet another great doom metal band that was playing on their own terms long before it was cool to do it. There's a lot of 'em. It's amazing to me. So many new bands.

MU: Have you guys played outside of the West Coast yet?

MS: That's what we're doing in May, first time. We're going to do a US tour and we're going to end up at Emissions on May 30th, a Sunday show. And that'll be our first time off the west coast.

MU: Not quite on the east coast yet, right?

MS: We're making it all the way to NYC. We're gonna play at the pyramid in New York with Unearthly Trance, Dove and Solace. We're gonna play in Washington, DC, Allentown, PA, and I think we are playing Philadelphia too.

MU: Who are some of the best doom bands you've played with so far?

MS: I would have to say, and this isn't in any particular order, but just bands that come to mind: Graves At Sea, Goatsblood, certainly Electric Wizard, High On Fire isn't really doom metal but Matt Pike got me into it so I think of him when I think of doom metal. Orange Goblin certainly - fucking amazing doom metal band. Unearthly Trance blew my brain away a few nights in a row. Place Of Skulls - Victor Griffin has an undeniable presence and on this tour they are touring with Dennis Cornelius from Revelation, and boy, they are quality people and quality doom metal. They lay it down. There's so many great bands. Witch Mountain - when they were around, they were a great band. Certainly Golden Pig Electric Blues Band from Seattle - crushing, and also have that retro vibe too but just a really killer sounding band. Asunder - Asunder blew me away. Warhorse - we played with Warhorse. Of course, they were fucking amazing. That was before the guy from Grief was in the band, and I haven't heard 'em in that new lineup yet but I hear real mixed opinions of it. Yeah, those are the ones that really jump out at me at the moment.

MU: Future plans of the band would be?

MS: Right now we are in the process of maybe signing a new record deal with maybe another label, and it's 90% in the bag and it would certainly mean some bigger stuff for us as far as promotion and budgets. So it's almost assuredly going to happen, but it hasn't happened yet. Then our tour that's coming up. We're booked up for shows through September. So we just have lots of stuff going on. I guess for us we were just going to try to keep doing the thing that we've become very accustomed to, which is being able to get together and have fun and write music and be able to play with bands that we love and respect. It's been fucking incredible. If you would have asked me six years ago if I would have played with Electric Wizard I would have said, "Yeah right." Electric Wizard, to me, was on the hugest pedestal, just like Sleep was, and Pentagram. I worshiped Victor Griffin, and I know this guy by first name and they know me by first name. And if you would have asked me if that was a reality I would have said that you're fucking nuts. To be able to do that, we just want to keep doing it and more than that. Being able to have the bands here, and have 'em in Portland and take care of 'em and give them good guarantees and good shows and continue to be a part of this really fantastic thing that's just super supportive and it's just a good thing. Keep doing it until we run out of ideas or get too old to carry around gear.





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