Yacht (band)

Yacht (band)

Yacht and the Straight Gaze
Background information
Origin Portland, Oregon, Marfa, Texas, Los Angeles, California, The Western American Utopian Triangle
Genres Electropop, alternative rock, dance-punk, synthpop
Years active 2002–present
Labels DFA Records, Downtown Records, Marriage Records, States Rights Records
Associated acts The Blow, Bobby Birdman, Jeffrey Jerusalem, Key Losers, Lucky Dragons, Architecture in Helsinki, Devendra Banhart, The Badger King, White Rainbow
Website .comteamyacht
Members Jona Bechtolt
Claire L. Evans
Rob "Bobby Birdman" Kieswetter
Jeffrey Brodsky

Yacht (stylized as YACHT, Y△CHT or Y▲CHT) is an American band from Portland, Oregon, currently based in Los Angeles, California. The core group consists of Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans, but expands to include Rob "Bobby Birdman" Kieswetter and Jeffrey Brodsky as touring members.

Yacht has released albums on States Rights Records, Marriage Records, DFA Records, and Downtown Records.


Early history

Bechtolt chose the name Yacht in reference to Y.A.C.H.T., an alternative school in Portland, Oregon. Bechtolt told Spin, "It stands for Young Americans Challenging High Technology. It refers to an education program that was held in Portland, Oregon. I was enrolled when I was 16, back in 1996."[1]


Yacht was Bechtolt's solo project from 2002 to 2008.[2] During this period, he released three albums, Super Warren MMIV, Mega and I Believe in You. Your Magic Is Real, on record labels in the Pacific Northwest area.

In January 2006, Yacht was commissioned for two performances for the Rhizome, as part of its Crap-tops vs Laptops show. In February 2006, Yacht performed at the Museum of Modern Art's P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center and produced an hour-long Internet radio program with Clear Cut Press, a Northwest-based publisher of new literary work. In April 2006, the Aurora Picture Show commissioned a Yacht performance as part of its Media Archeology Festival in Houston, Texas.[3]

For the 2007 release of I Believe in You. Your Magic Is Real by Split Works.

Live performances during this period included dancing along to music[5] as well as elaborate PowerPoint presentations.


In 2008, Yacht became a duo with the introduction of longtime collaborator Claire L. Evans as a full member. She contributed vocals to many of the songs on the 2009 album See Mystery Lights,[6] Yacht's first full-length release on DFA Records. The album cover was designed by the Texas-based artist Boyd Elder,[7] who had previously designed album art for The Eagles. Pitchfork rated See Mystery Lights an 8.5, calling it "a triumph, ,and Rolling Stone wrote that Yacht "split the different between Talking Heads and electro pop, and make a breakthrough album of digital ear candy." It was chosen as a "Critic's Choice" by the New York Times critic Nate Chinen.[8]

During this period, Yacht began publicly discussing their personal philosophy, and published a book called The Secret Teachings of the Mystery Lights: A Handbook on Overcoming Humanity and Becoming Your Own God which explained their beliefs,[9] a list of which is maintained on their website.[10]

In January 2010, Yacht added a live band, The Straight Gaze, consisting of the musicians Rob "Bobby Birdman" Kieswetter and Jeffrey Brodsky to their live show. This incarnation is known as Yacht and the Straight Gaze.[11]

2010–present day

In November 2011, Yacht worked with the Youtuber and long time Yacht supporter Mitchell Davis on their music video for the song "I Walked Alone".

In June 2011, Yacht released Shangri-La, their second album on DFA Records. They made a double video for its first two singles, "Utopia" and '"Dystopia (The Earth Is on Fire)", directed by the experimental filmmaker and documentary maker Rene Daalder.[12] In 2012, they recorded "Le Goudron", a cover version of the Brigitte Fontaine song (1969). In early 2013, the retailer Kohls used Yacht typeface imagery and lyrics from "Shangri-La" on a series of T-shirts made available online, until the band notified the company about possible legal liabilities.[13]

In an August 2012 interview with New York Music News, Evans explained the Yacht band, business and belief system: "Yacht is the name we give to all the projects we do together. Usually that’s recording and performing music, but as we emphasize in our axiom of "band, business, and belief system," there are both materialistic and metaphysical dimensions to our work. It's full-spectrum."[14]

In December 2012, the band celebrated its 10-year anniversary by releasing the single "Second Summer".[15] The video was produced by the Fox animation studio, Animation Domination.

In August 2013, the band released "Party at the NSA,"[16] a song satirizing the National Security Agency's unwarranted surveillance of private citizens, and donated all proceeds from sales of the song online to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The comedian Marc Maron plays the guitar solo on the song.[17] Yacht and the design blog Nothing Major created a T-shirt of the "Party at the NSA" artwork, of which sale proceeds were also donated to the EFF.[18]

Band members

  • Jona Bechtolt – vocals, programming, guitar, drums, bass guitar, percussion, claps, synthesizers, keyboards, piano, effects
  • Claire L. Evans – vocals

When performing live, Yacht is accompanied by the following band members:[19]

  • Rob "Bobby Birdman" Kieswetter – vocals, bass guitar, keyboard
  • Jeffrey Brodsky – drums, percussion
  • Katy Davidson;– guitar, keyboard, vocals (no longer with Yacht)


Studio albums

Other releases

  • Mike's Crest (2003) States Rights Records
  • The Winter Is Coming Jam (2004) States Rights Records
  • Radio Sessions (split CD with Lucky Dragons) (2004) Ultra Eczema
  • We Float Around, Hang Out On Clouds (Black Label collaborative LP with Lucky Dragons)12" split (2005) Marriage Records
  • Our Friends in Hell (August 2007) States Rights Records
  • Instrumentals 2007 (December 2007) Marriage Records
  • "Summer Song" 12" single (August 2008) DFA
  • "Don't Put Out [Digital 45]" 7" single (June 2009) Marriage Records
  • See Mystery Lights (Instrumentals) (July 2009) DFA
  • Anthem of the Trinity (August 2009) States Rights Records
  • "Psychic City" 7" single (August 2009) DFA
  • iTunes Session (February 2010) DFA
  • "The Afterlife" 7" single (May 2010) DFA
  • Utopia (Remixes) (July 2011) DFA
  • "Dystopia (Remixes)" 12" single (October 2011) DFA
  • Shangri-La (Instrumentals) (October 2011) DFA
  • "I Walked Alone (Remixes)" 12" single (November 2011) DFA
  • Shangri-La (Remixes) (February 2012) DFA
  • Le Goudron (cover version of a Brigitte Fontaine song) (April 2012) DFA
  • "Second Summer" (single) (December 2012) DFA
  • "Plastic Soul" single (January 2014) DFA
  • Where Does This Disco? (September 2014) Downtown Records


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  15. ^ http://www.stereogum.com/1214111/yacht-second-summer-video/video/
  16. ^ http://partyatthensa.com
  17. ^ Christian Hoard, "Yacht feat. Marc Maron 'Party at the NSA'", Rolling Stone, August 21, 2013
  18. ^ http://nothingmajor.com/features/76-yacht-party-at-the-nsa/
  19. ^
  20. ^ http://www.stereogum.com/1823932/yacht-i-thought-the-future-would-be-cooler/mp3s/

External links

  • Official website
  • Yacht blog on TrustYacht.org
  • Yacht on Twitter
  • Yacht on Facebook
  • Yacht discography at Discogs
  • Yacht statistics, tagging and previews at Last.FM
  • Yacht on IFC's Dinner With The Band
  • Claire L. Evans' blog on the ScienceBlogs.com Network
  • MTV Hive Hive Five listing of Yacht's 5 oddest gigs
  • Interview by Chris Chafin for Prefix
  • Article about and photos of the band in POSH magazine
  • Interview with Jona and Claire in LA I'm Yours
  • Interview with Jona and Claire from the Dickies Party from SXSW 2012
  • Interview with Jona and Claire from the Willamette Week April 2, 2012 by Robert Ham
  • Interview with Claire by Siobhán Kane on Thumped April 25, 2012
  • Interview with Claire from The Conversation on October 30,2012
  • YACHT gave a talk about their creative process and diverse projects at CreativeMornings, a monthly global lecture series
  • Article about YACHT in Philthy Mag Dec 18, 2013