By: Hannah Frank
Where are the members of YACHT from, and how have those locations/experiences influenced the music?
YACHT lives in Los Angeles, but the band came together in Pacific Northwest; Jona is from a small coastal fishing community called Astoria, in Oregon, and Claire, who is originally from France, grew up in Portland. Our third member, Rob Kieswetter, is from Nevada City, California, and we usually record in the far West Texas desert. We used to call Portland, Los Angeles, and Marfa the “Western American Utopian Triangle,” because they were the most meaningful places to us, but these days we take our utopias where we can get them.
What are the influences of YACHT? I hear something completely original.
We came of age musically in the DIY and punk scenes of the Pacific Northwest; bands like Beat Happening, Bikini Kill, Nirvana, and The Microphones were our biggest influences growing up, although those were largely cultural signposts for us—they taught us that punk is what you make of it—rather than direct sonic influences. These days we’ve been listening to a lot of YMO. Ultimately we like to leave our own music open to interpretation.
What is the ideal place in a record collection for Strawberry Moon? Between _____ album and ____ album?
Well, we only made a flexidisc of Strawberry Moon, and I’ll tell you where it lives in our house. It’s sitting in a pile of books in the living room, sandwiched between a David Hockney monograph and a late-70s compendium of computer art called Artist and Computer. When we first released it, we had a donut shop here in Los Angeles use it as a plate. We like how disposable, how totally unprecious a flexi is, and how subversive too—did you know the Soviets used to cut bootleg flexidiscs on discarded medical X-rays, back when Western music was censored in the USSR?
What is the live set up like, what is the instrumentation on stage?
YACHT’s a four-piece: three people and a computer. That’s a pretty good ratio, in this day and age. There are also synthesizers, a guitar, a bass guitar, and a drum synthesizer and pad.
What software is used?
We’ve used Ableton Live since 2002 for both recording and performing.
What is the role of each performer?
We’re all in it together.
What sets this release apart from previous releases?
Most of our work has been concept-heavy: the last three records were about mystery, utopia, and the future. Strawberry Moon is personal. It’s about our own unwinding from a difficult year, and the disconnect between private and public life. In a sense it’s the most sincere thing we’ve ever recorded: angry and earnest, just like us.
What is YACHT looking forward to most about their show in Chicago?
Apart from the vegan Monte Cristo sandwiches at the Chicago Diner, which are worth the trip alone, we’re excited to see our Chicago fans again—it’s been a minute—and give everyone a reason to come in from the cold.