Since moving to Portland, OR in 1999 Emil has cut down his output a bit and focused in on the details of each song's sonics. He also started doing shows on a more regular basis with different backing bands, bringing him on stage with the likes of Will Oldham, J Mascis, Smog, Daniel Johnston, Sir Richard Bishop, Quasi, Six Organs of Admittance, Devendra Banhart, Califone, Eric Gaffney, Mark Kozelek and many others.
In 2000, he formed a second band called Grails. When Grails toured in Europe late 2004, Holy Sons opened most of the shows. After that tour, Emil spent a lot of time going through his archives trying to make sense of piles of tapes.