YOB frontman Mike Scheidt has spent the past 10 minutes describing the new gear he’s rounded up for the band’s sixth album, titled ATMA. Having about as much expertise in the topic as a Luddite, I have no idea what the hell the doom maestro is talking about, so I just listen.
“I’ve been using a few cabs loaded with Eminence Man O War speakers; each cab’s almost 500 watts,” Scheidt beams. “I’ve been using amps that are actually kits that are made by MetroAmp… they’re basically point-to-point re-creations of late ’60s Marshall plexies. They’re extremely dynamic.” OK, I see, go on. “I’ve been using Monson guitars. They’ve made me a few guitars, and they’re just perfect. They have incredible range and tone and clarity but bottom-end rumble at the same time.” Good, good. “Aaron’s [Reiseberg, bassist] been using these cabinets made by a guy named Todd Corbett called Roller Sound. They’re the gnarliest, heaviest, most gigantic crazy cabs ever. They’re the best bass cabs I’ve ever heard! We’ve assembled these pieces of gear, the culmination of which doesn’t really exist anywhere else. The tones are unique to us.”
The sheer excitement in Scheidt’s voice says more than his inventory ever could. He, Reiseberg and drummer Travis Foster have been holed up with engineer Jeff Olsen at Dogwood Recording in their hometown of Eugene, OR, hammering out the follow-up to the band’s 2009 comeback, The Great Cessation.
“On one hand, it sounds really classic-rock analog,” Scheidt says. Some of his friends have compared the new material to YOB’s hard-hitting, aggressive 2001 album Elaborations of Carbon. “There’s also some stuff that’s really just angular and kinda messed up,” he adds. “There’s Burning Witch in there for sure, and there’s definitely some Greg Ginn. I listened to a lot of My War.”
But Scheidt stresses that he’s taken care to combine the discordant elements with “the melodic, beautiful stuff. There are some pieces that our listeners out there expect from us, but I think in a different flavor.”
Making the follow-up to a comeback album is potentially treacherous territory for a band that’s been around as long as YOB. Was the success of The Great Cessation a one-shot kind of thing? Scheidt prefers not to think about it.
“It’s really not in my brain,” he says. “As time goes on, we’re continually surprised at the enthusiasm that we’ve gotten and the growth that’s happened with the band. If we gave that too much thought, it might feel like maybe pressure. Between trying to live a good life and raise my kids well, the only way to make the art kind of new and fresh is to really stick to what moves me and try to be current. As long as I stay in the moment with my life, new music comes out of that.”