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YACHT: band and belief system

By in Culture


HOLLY CULP
Arts Writer

“Oh no, a penis! Don’t look!” said Claire L. Evans of YACHT as she moved to cover my eyes.

When she’s not busy protecting the eyes of the innocent from the menacing perverts on Chatroulette, Evans serves as one half of the electronic “2000s style grunge” duo YACHT along with Jona Bechtolt.

Hailing from Portland, Ore., the duo recently kicked off their North American tour with Bobby Birdman and played one wicked show at Scratch on Feb. 24.

“We’ve sort of spread ourselves thin in the past couple of years playing shows all over the place,” said Evans. “We’ve been surprised by how big shows are all around the world. When we go to a place where we’ve never been or expected we go to like, Seoul, South Korea, and have people know the songs and sing along it is such a trip and so overwhelming.”

They kicked off their latest tour in Vancouver on Feb. 19 after a busy 2009, touring around China, South Korea, South America, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

“This is our first time in the middle of Canada, so it is new territory for us,” added Bechtolt. “The tour has been great so far.”

The show itself was unique and energetic. At one point they had the crowd sitting on the floor with their eyes closed repeating after them: “The world may end in my lifetime. But my energy will continue. I will love. I will not waste my money. And I sure as hell won’t waste my motherfucking time.”

This was all a part of a “group meditation” exercise orchestrated by Bechtolt. He also had the audience imagine something they hated more than anything and have them yell one giant “Fuck you!” at it.

If you were lucky enough to randomly catch them on Chatroulette.com you could end up with them yelling “Show us your dick!” at you, or with your name on a guest list.

“We met a girl who was awesome and knew the band and she’s going to come to our show in Pontiac (in Michigan). We put her on the guest list,” said Bechtolt. “She thought we were kidding. She was like ”˜You’re not YACHT. Seriously? Come on!’”

“That’s the power of the Internet,” added Evans.

YACHT advertise themselves as a band, a business and a belief system. The belief system is centred on evolution and an avoidance of overspecialization. An actual clear cut explanation of the system itself is hard to come by, which could be intentional as a way of encouraging the reader to interpret the belief system in whichever way they like.

“Everything we do is intentional and all part of the larger project that is YACHT, so us playing Chatroulette right now is part of YACHT. Us playing music, making documents or films or videos is a part of YACHT”¦. For us it is really important to be as general as possible and to not be overspecialized,” said Evans.

“We actually have a document on our belief system,” said Bechtolt. “We internally refer to it as our Bible but it is less dogmatic than that, obviously.”

In their “Bible,” titled The Secret Teachings of the Mystery Lights, it reads under their “Addendum on Piracy” that “it should be clearly stated that this book can and must be disseminated as freely as possible. We place no constraints on its life. We encourage you to copy, reproduce, alter, amend and distribute this book. Please pirate this material.”

It could be said that YACHT are heroes of the Internet. They believe in free access to all media and the right to alter, reproduce and share that material. YACHT also promotes spirituality and explores ideas on the universe, overcoming humanity and becoming your own god in their Secret Teachings pamphlet and has chosen the triangle as their primary identifying symbol.

“We wanted to have a symbol for our band,” said Evans. “And when people wear symbols it’s more than just saying ”˜I like the Dead Kennedys.’ They become part of a culture, a community, a part of something that is more than just music. It’s a way for people to communicate with each other.

“We wanted something that would be universal so we ended up picking the triangle because it has significance in basically every religion and also has relevance in mathematics, architecture and so on. People can wear it without feeling that they’re part of one specific, dogmatic school of thought.”

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