YACHT is everything you’d want in a band: they make you think, they make you laugh, and they definitely make you dance. LOOKOUT chatted with Claire L. Evans and Jonah Bechtolt of YACHT, before they embarked on their 2010 North American “Mystery Moods Tour” along with the addition to YACHT, The Straight Gaze.
LOOKOUT: See Mystery Lights is the first YACHT album after the induction of Claire. How have you both built on the old conception of YACHT as a solo act? Or is this reincarnation completely different from previous forms of YACHT?
Jona: Well, I think there's a similar spirit to the band. The core message and core goals are the same, but now they are shared with Claire.
Claire: There’s no distinction of before me and after me, we had this shared experience (The Marfa Lights) and it changed our perspectives. It’s something that we share as a common source of inspiration.
Jona: We came together through this paranormal phenomenon of Marfa Mystery Lights. There’s no explanation for the paranormal phenomenon of the Marfa Lights, and teams of scientists have been trying to figure it out. After we saw it together, we felt we need to continue our journey together in everything we do together.
I find the very existence of something like a "modern mystery" very odd and kind of disturbing and unnerving to curious people like myself who think there should be an explanation for everything. Were the lights the first or main reason why you both decided moved to Marfa, Texas?
Claire: Yes, it was the reason we moved there. We hadn’t been looking for it, it just came to us in a random way. Jona saw it while he was driving on a tour.
Jona: I had no idea what it was going to be. I thought it was going to be an explained natural beauty but it really changed me and ended up being really supernatural and unexplainable.
Claire: We decided we had to live amongst them and figure them out.
Montreal, much like your hometown of Portland, Oregon, has long and depressing winters, but a thriving artistic population. How did Portland influence your creativity and the making of your music?
Claire: It’s always interesting to make music and art in a place where you don’t have access to the tools other people have. We were lucky to have a cool music scene but it wasn’t always there. A lot of musical trends in the Northwest is born out of a DIY period.
Jona: Yeah, we didn’t have the means to make anything, but I don't mean in a political sense.
Claire: It’s interesting to make music with limitations and to have no big record label, no awesome venues, no professional studios.
The band is very stylized with the black and white represention. What’s the intention behind the black and white dualities? Are these dualities completely distinct from each other?
Claire: We’ve always been interested in duality. We both have had a renewed interest in the ritual history of the world. We like to study religion, the secret societies of the world and any codified set of beliefs. There are huge commonalities between different threads of ideological history, whether it be Inter-Babylonian, Syrian or contemporary Western religion. We are all motivated by the same impulses. We want an understanding of things that are beyond human understanding. The light and the dark are two different paths, there’s no fundamental evil or fundamental good. There’s no right or wrong path, we all live in this interconnected universe. We’re all just a bunch of monkeys trying to transcend our situation.
For more Q&A with YACHT, don't miss the March 4th issue of The McGill Daily.