Need To Know: YACHT
By Courtney Nichols
You utilize many symbols in your work and onscreen. Is there a subliminal aspect to them?
Jona Bechtolt: I don't think they are very subliminal. They are right out there. They are right out front.
Claire L. Evans: No comment.
When did you get your YACHT tattoos?
Claire L. Evans: We got the triangles when we committed to the idea of the triangle as a motif.
Why the triangle?
Claire L. Evans: We wanted to have a logo because there are two categories of things that we wanted to emulate: punk rock bands and religions. Punk rock bands and religions both have these qualities where people will wear a Black Flag t-shirt and that does not mean they are really into Black Flag -- it means they participate in punk and the subculture and they have certain values. The same way a Christian will wear a cross or [a Jew] will wear a Star of David around their neck -- this does not mean you go to a certain church but it instead means you participate in a value system that is much great than yourself. The commonalities between the two are very interesting to us. We wanted to find a logo that spoke to that universal quality. The triangle seemed like the obvious choice. It is very ancient and means an infinite amount of things to an infinite amount of people. It has mathematical qualities, spiritual qualities, architectural qualities, and it is even the gay rights symbol.
Jona Bechtolt: We like that the triangle can stand for everything and nothing at the same time.
Claire L. Evans: It plays with idea of dogma. It is dogmatic since it is a logo but it is also the most ancient and open-ended logo that we could find.
It's completely accessible. Everyone can draw a triangle!
Claire L. Evans: It's a simple shape, so that is nice as well. It has social integrity.
Were you raised a certain religion? Do you subscribe to any faith other than the YACHT faith?
Claire L. Evans: I was raised Atheist.
Jona Bechtolt: I was raised Catholic.
Claire L. Evans: It's not so much about being religious, but it is instead about creating an alternative from that culture. There is a great value in community and communal transcendence that we find interesting, but we don't want to submit ourselves into the dogmatic or ideological aspects of that. For us, music is very similar to spirituality. This is especially true with underground music where people are devoted to their favorite bands in an almost religious way. Live shows are people coming together and transcending. This is all very religious without being dogmatic.
You are signed to DFA Records. I get the sense that DFA is a true community. Are you friends with other acts on the label?
Claire L. Evans: It's totally a family.
Jona Bechtolt: I had emailed DFA out of the blue in 2005 or 2006. We were looking to contribute remixes for people that we liked, so I immediately thought of DFA and Juan MacLean specifically. I wrote to the one email address they had on their website, which was email@example.com. I wrote to them and told them that I would love to do a remix. They responded telling me that Juan would love to do it, but he is too busy right now but they will keep me in mind for the future. We had rough email correspondence the years after that. One day I got a call from John at DFA. DFA is a very small operation with literally like three employees. They informed me that LCD Soundsystem is going on their North American tour for their new album Sound of Silver and their support band couldn't get work visas. They asked if I could fill in for them starting tomorrow. I had never met anyone from DFA or LCD so I was really excited and nervous. They invited me to ride on their tour bus with them! I said "Yes," and it was amazing. It was a life-changing experience. Everyone who is even remotely involved with DFA is incredible and so sweet and so nice. They took us in as immediate family members. They then asked us to make a record with them and so we made a single and now the next album.
DFA is very well curated. It's a new breed of record label.
Claire L. Evans: DFA is such a small operation that they can only afford to put out a few records a year. They have to be great records or else it is a waste. We have never worked with any label where everyone on the label is a friend. We were nervous because it is such a small family. We are really lucky.