Since Claire L. Evans joined solo artist Jona Bechtolt in 2008, YACHT, an acronym for Young Americans Challenging High Technology, has released an array of singles, EPs and albums that capture the band’s vibrant spirit. The duo from YACHT, who moved to Los Angeles, is performing with DJ Classixx at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, and took time to speak with Daily Bruin’s Pauline Yang about its Coachella performance and band philosophy.
Daily Bruin: How was performing at Coachella weekend one?
Jonas Bechtolt: We didn’t know what to expect. We never played this song (remix of “Psychic City”) with Classixx before. Neither of us has ever played it live so it was really fun.
Claire L. Evans: It’s fun to do it the first time in front of five thousand people. It could have been a disaster but it went really well. Besides, we were just playing one song so we didn’t have to go through any (stress) of playing Coachella. We just got to show up, do our thing and have fun.
DB: What kind of vibe do you go for when you perform? What do you want the audience to take away from the experience?
JB: Hopefully something transcendent. We want to make a fully immersive experience.
CLE: We always talk about a concert as being kind of like a temporary autonomous zone, like a sovereign nation, if you will, but disappears at the end of the show. Where people will feel like they have just as much involved and have just as much at stake as we do. It’s a collaborative thing that we all do together.
DB: You guys have so much energy when you play live. How do you guys get ready for your shows?
JB: The four of us stand in a circle together and we take turns slapping each other in the face as hard as possible. Then as soon as someone starts bleeding the other three have to drink the blood of that person, and then the person who drinks the blood … then the other person has to clean up the vomit. Then after this … no, I’m just kidding.
CLE: Wow, I was wondering how far you were going with that. It’s just fear and necessity, flight or flight, you know you just have to do it, and the closer it comes, the more psyched up you get!
DB: So I noticed on your Shangri-la shirts, the “la” is like the L.A. sign logo. What’s so special to you about L.A.?
CLE: I mean what isn’t? I mean we grew up in Portland, Oregon, which is a really cool place, but in relation to Los Angeles, it feels like a little village. We’re so excited still to be living in a big city in all of the chaos and beauty and culture and complexity that that involves. We strive on complexity.
JB: There’s just so many problems with it that make it so special and unique and fun and interesting and just like other giant cities, there are so many industries happening all at once. We love tapping into those – like you were saying the things on our website, we made ourselves, we source ourselves, and all of those things can be sourced locally in L.A. because there’s so much industry here and so many people making so many different types of things. Whereas Portland – it’s crafty and precious in the way that it makes it expensive and time consuming. Whereas here, you can making anything quickly and cheaply and that’s so awesome.
DB: On your book, “The Secret Teachings of the Mystery Lights,” where does your personal philosophy come from and what inspired you to write a book about it?
CLE: I think every musician or artist has a kind of philosophy but not everyone makes it in the forefront of what they share with their fans. But we’re all driven by whatever ethos is instilled in us by a combination of where we come from and how we were raised. We like to read our own personal experiences. Our band is so much about really sharing as much as possible with people – the music and everything else that we make, so it kind of seems logical for us to make a book. I mean it’s not logical, but we like to give everything that we can and if that means that people are interested in our band just for the music that’s cool but if they want to go all the way then all the resources are available to them.
DB: If you had a yacht, what would you name it?
JB: I would name it “Privilege.” Neither of us identify with our band name with an actual yacht itself. It’s an acronym for Young Americans Challenging High Technology. It’s never meant to be perceived with luxury fetishism so when we see people celebrating that kind of extreme wealth, it’s just a bummer. If I had to have a yacht, it would be a total waste and privilege so I wouldn’t know how to celebrate. So it would have to have a weird dark name like “Privilege.”
CLE: Shame …
JB: Yeah, it would be called “Privileger’s Shame.”