Need To Know: YACHT


By Courtney Nichols

Why does Portland have such a great music scene?
Claire L. Evans: Does it?

Claire L. Evans: People always ask us about that.
Jona Bechtolt: Portland is not unique from other cities in America. There are so many cities that produce great music and Portland just has the spotlight for the next 15 minutes.
Claire L. Evans: People say that the weather is so bad in Portland that people are stuck in their basements making music all winter. But it is not the only city with terrible weather. It has the perfect storm of terrible weather, cheap rent and lots of young creative people. There is no fluoride in the water, so everyone has bad teeth.

Are you both from Portland? How are you connected to Marfa, Texas?
Jona Bechtolt: Where should we start? I guess we can say we are from Portland. Marfa, Texas, is a special place for us. We have written most of our songs there.

Tell me more about Marfa. I just got back from SXSW but didn't make it to Marfa.
Claire L. Evans: Marfa is incredible. It is in the middle of nowhere. To go there you have to really want to go there. That is probably a huge reason why it is so special. It is incredibly beautiful. The light is beautiful. The water has a small amount of lithium in it. There is a paranormal mystery that occurs in Marfa called the Marfa Mystery Lights. It breeds a general ambiance and vibe and acceptance of psychedelia.

Is it like the Aurora Borealis?
Claire L. Evans: It looks like stars are falling from the sky. It has happened there since before recorded human history. It is a Native American myth. Nobody has figured it out. There is an ambiance in Marfa that has a different tolerance for humankind. It is a beautiful and small art community. It is a perfect place to work and be separate from the world and make music. We made our last two albums there and I want to continue doing it there. It is our spiritual home.

When speaking of the band's style, why have you committed yourselves to black and white?
Jona Bechtolt: It's always been important. With our style we wanted to give people a solid understanding of our commitment to this band and this project and the idea of history.
Claire L. Evans: When we witnessed the Marfa Mystery Lights, it was an important moment for us. We realized that for the last two centuries of human existence we have been operating with an absence of mysticism. We have become rational and scientific in regard to real life. We have grown up in this world of constant information that is seeking reasons. We feel entitled in that sense.
Jona Bechtolt: Right.
Claire L. Evans: We realized that all of art and spirituality and religion for all of humankind before the Scientific Revolution had overpowering ritualistic feelings about the world. We wanted to recommit to that idea. The black and white for us shows identification. The reason we wear black and white doesn't have a why. It just is. For us, we want to become a separate entity onstage and we want people to see it as special.

Do you think you are living in the ideal decade or do you wish you lived during a different era?
Claire L. Evans: All we have is now, that has always been our philosophy.
Jona Bechtolt: We only know how to live in the now.

For info on YACHT, including upcoming tour dates, click here.

Tags: Music