YACHT's world

Portland-born YACHT have their own have their own insignia and their own ideology.

By Manchester's Finest | July 28th '11

Portland-born YACHT have their own have their own insignia, their own ideology, and certainly their own unique style of stage-show.

YACHT is “conducted” by Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans; I’ve always been wary of people including their middle initial when not living in a Dickensian novel, but Ms Evans can be excused on account of her entrancing stage presence and early Annie Lennox-esque appearence.  Jona is like a bouncy Nick Grimshaw and both seem likeable right from the off.
Although the crowd isn’t massive, the band seem genuinely happy to be there and portray this through lavish amounts of voguing, and giving out hugs to unsuspecting audience members.

The set is upbeat and with the interjectory Q & As with the audience, even the strangely placed parental looking figures amongst the crowd are having an enjoyable time.  Lead singer and front woman Claire tells us that “the stage is carpeted….I feel like I’m in my parent’s basement”.  And we do too – the vibe is relaxed and informal and the bounciness becomes contagious as they perform their catalogue of catchy electro-pop numbers.  Favourites include Eutopia, Dystopia (The Earth Is on Fire), and the better known Psychic City.

Now you’re probably wondering why their song titles don’t follow the formula of other fellow excitable electro-synth ensembles (The Ting Tings’ That’s not my Name being the most obvious example). Well, the explanation comes in the form of YACHT’s other varied (and confusing) guise.  YACHT is not only a band but a ‘belief system and a business’.  They credit their inspiration to be as diverse as Devendra Banhart, Aldous Huxley and Star Trek and they purport, amongst other things, to be ‘exploring frontiers’ and ‘expanding awareness of Extraterrestrial Activity’.  They also explain on their website that “YACHT encourages online dissemination of all things”, which I can only take to mean that the band thinks everyone should Ask Jeeves, a lot.  The guys point again to their love of the interweb when they tell us that “YACHT believes ‘Free Wi Fi’ is not an advertisement of services, but a political statement” (and yes I did ask Jona if any of the ideology was tongue-in-cheek, and no, it isn’t).

I don’t mean to mock YACHT – as a collective group of trendy musicians they put on a fun show and come across as nice guys.  Also, some of their online offerings seem to be philosophically sound:  Every person is the master of their own neurological experience. Our minds contain the universe, by the act of comprehending it. But to me, trying popularise their sometimes dubious musings alongside leading a really fun life on the road (in 2007, YACHT played more than 200 shows in 17 countries around the world) doesn’t quite work.  Just stick to singing your songs, looking cool and bouncing!  You’re good at it!

YACHT’s new record Shangri-La is out on DFA Records now.