By Jamila Pomeroy
After receiving what he referred to as a “courtesy call from [his] eventual death”, Mike Scheidt, vocalist and guitarist of Yob, returns with a new lease and dedication to life and music.
While grocery shopping not to far from his home, in Eugene, Oregon, Scheidt was struck with a violent pain down the left side of his face. This pain lead him to discovering a severe case of acute diverticulitis, a disease that attacks the intestines. Scheidt endured multiple surgeries, near death experiences and a grueling recovery period, which put life on hold not only for himself, but for the whole band.
While often barely mobile, Scheidt continued to write and play music with the help of a custom Monson guitar; the lighter guitar allowed him to play, and write, within the bounds of his weight restrictions following his surgery. He went six months without singing and had to rebuild from the beginning with a vocal coach, a delicate process, as he could herniate any of his incisions if he pushed too hard. He began experimenting with the new tricks taught by his vocal coach, to rebuild his technical range and power. “In some ways actually, my vocals are better than they have ever been,” says Scheidt.
While the band approaches each album from the point in which they are at in life — lyrically, and thematically — Scheidt’s health struggles have deeply impacted the new album. “I had no guarantee any of the music I was making was going to ever see the light of day,” he says. With the potential complications of his surgeries and recovery process, Scheidt had this underlying feeling that his compositions had to be “good enough.” He explains there was an extra level of love, gratitude and dedication to intention, superimposed by his illness, both in regards to music processes and his relationships with his bandmates and family. Thematically, the feeling of losing control played a heavy roll in inspiration of the new album.
Yob released “The Screen”, earlier this year, and while the song is a preview of their upcoming album, Our Raw Heart, it features some of the oldest sets of riffs on the album. The song is sonically in line with their previous heavy doom metal brutality, but on the heavier side of their sonic spectrum, which spans from meditative ambience, to skull crushing riffage. “It’s a song we’ve had around for five or six years. It just never found a place and there was no album that it seemed like it fit. Post illness, as I was writing, all of a sudden everything came into focus, and it became part of this new album” he explains. Scheidt says he is still writing about the same things, persona and sincere lyrics, driven by the pursuit of positive influence. Thematically, the band takes inspiration from eastern mysticism, shamanic practices, poetry and meditative mindfulness.
Scheidt has been described previously as the zen or Yogi Master type and in speaking with him, there’s a strong imprint of that. He is calm, collected and deeply humble. While the music Yob makes is often brutal and heavy, there have always been conscious tones and a meditative quality.
“I’ve spent a lot of years sitting and doing meditation. I don’t pretend to be a great practitioner, but I’m consistent,” Scheidt says. His conscious and humble attitude carries into all aspects of his life; and while always present, there is a new level of gratitude his near death experience has brought him.
Yob perform as part of the Modified Ghost Festival on May 25 at the Rickshaw Theatre.doom, Meditation, Metal, mikescheidt, mindfulness, modifiedghostfestival, monson, monsonguitars, ourrawheart, postmetal, relapserecords, sludge, YOB