YACHT sees the mystery lights

By Julia MacGregor

Besides creating catchy electro-dance tunes, YACHT is also a belief system open to everyone.

After having experienced the supernatural Mystery Lights in Marfa, Texas, which inspired their 2009 album See Mystery Lights, Jona Bechtolt and Claire Evans have embarked on the latest transformation of YACHT, adding a live band to their 2010 tour called The Straight Gaze.

“The name is how we aim to have a straight gaze with those we work and collaborate with,” says Evans. “It’s about directness and honesty, breaking down barriers between audiences and the performer. At the same time it is factious as we do operate on several levels, it’s an emblem of honesty, a bit of a joke and political as we are very much aligned with gay rights movements.”

The sudden shift of the traditional YACHT format is typical for the band’s live appearances, whether it is remixing songs, changing their visuals or how they interact with the audience — no one has seen the same YACHT show twice.

“Every six months we feel we have to challenge ourselves in some way to redefine and reformat YACHT as a whole, [and adding the Straight Gaze] was the next step in our evolution,” says Bechtolt.

This makes every YACHT show a new experience with Bechtolt and Evans moving about the stage.

“Everything we do comes straight out of the moment,” says Bechtolt. “[What you would classify as dance moves] we don’t consider it dancing at all, it’s just something that happens. People always ask us if we’re trained classical dancers, which is really flattering, but it’s just something that happens when the loud music that we’ve created comes out of the speakers.”

When experiencing a YACHT show, don’t be afraid to break out of the concert mold, as an audience reaction is the most rewarding thing for the band.

“We seek the willingness for our audience to step out of traditional indie rock or concert ritual body language,” says Evans. “There is a very codified way of acting at a concert that people generally stick with, a certain way of holding yourself that suggests you are not part of the performance.”

“We like the audience to make themselves known,” adds Bechtolt.

One world tour took them through rural China, where audiences stared at the group because they were the first Westerners to come through. YACHT’s next endeavor will take them back to Marfa, Texas, where they saw the lights that would inform their belief system.

“We have a collection of mantras that we have written to encourage participating Team YACHT members to practice with us, which are the original versions of See Mystery Lights,” says Evans.

“Our number one band goal is to try to create some kind of living, working, visiting space in Marfa where Team YACHT members could gather and see Mystery Lights with us,” says Bechtolt.

Leave a comment