YACHT is a conceptual pop group based in Los Angeles, California. It’s the brainchild of Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans, whose wide-ranging interests and deep-seated ADD cause YACHT to frequently metamorphose: from band to belief system, from disco infiltrators to punk rockers, from performance artists to graphic designers, publishers, sculptors, or philosophers.
YACHT was born in 2002 in Portland, Oregon, as a solo cross-disciplinary experiment for Jona Bechtolt, using technology to extend physical boundaries of communication, performance, and music. In 2008, after a shared mystical experience in the Far West Texas desert, Bechtolt was joined in the YACHT endeavor by longtime collaborator Claire L. Evans. Spurred by this paranormal bond, this new incarnation of YACHT wrote and recorded the critically-acclaimed See Mystery Lights in Marfa, Texas. This album was followed in 2011 by Shangri-La, a genre-defying concept album about utopia, dystopia, and every place in between.
Currently, the Straight Gaze, Robert “Bobby Birdman” Kieswetter and Jeffrey “Jerusalem” Brodsky, round out the live YACHT band. YACHT’s heart is in their live shows, which they call “Temporary Autonomous Zones:” uncluttered, anarchic, inspiring sessions of damaged dance moves and coded ritualism, backed by constantly changing elements—Power Point presentations, audience Q&A sessions, and shamanistic video environments.
YACHT has toured with LCD Soundsystem, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Hot Chip, Architecture in Helsinki, Vampire Weekend, The Dirty Projectors, and Chairlift; YACHT is multidisciplinary enough to have been paired with the Chemical Brothers, the Breeders, and Phoenix; YACHT has played on boats, in caves, in bathrooms, in art galleries and museums, in rural China, and at the Hollywood Bowl; YACHT are prolific remixers, dismantling songs by Snoop Dogg, Kings of Leon, Phoenix, Neon Indian, Stereolab, RATATAT, Classixx, and many more.
Bechtolt has been a promiscuous genre-smasher since his adolescence, when he opted to tour in a punk band over attending high school. He’s plied his unique breed of beat-heavy laptop wizardry and grunge ethos to endless collaborations, both as producer and drummer, with west coast mainstays like Devendra Banhart, The Blow, Little Wings, and Bobby Birdman. He’s also been recognized by such bigwigs as David Byrne, who name-dropped Bechtolt’s production on The Blow’s Paper Television in his Artforum Top 10 list, Paris’ Centre Georges Pompidou, where he was commissioned for a large-scale performance, and Vibe Magazine, who touted Bechtolt as “indie rock’s Timbaland.”
Evans joined the band full-time in 2008. She’s a science writer and artist who pens a popular blog about the intersection of art and science, Universe, for National Geographic’s ScienceBlogs network. She has lectured at MoMA PS1, The Kitchen, The Smithsonian, and the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, spoken at the Rubin Museum of Art about extraterrestrial life, co-written a book about technology and art at Carnegie Mellon University, made commissioned films for the World Science Festival and SEEDMagazine, and has collaborated with Bechtolt on literally hundreds of projects since they met in 2004.