A yacht is a luxury ship typically owned by the extremely wealthy. YACHT, which stands for Young Americans Challenging Higher Technology, is a musical group that will be accessible to everyone when they perform at Western for the Associated Students Pop Music’s first electronic show of the year.
YACHT will play on Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Viking Union Multipurpose Room. Doors for the show will open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 with student ID and $12 for general admission.
“I think people are looking for live shows that are an experience,” AS Pop Music Coordinator Megan Housekeeper said. “With music from YACHT, I see this more as an opportunity for a dance party to wake people up out of winter quarter.”
Jona Bechtolt, who plays many instruments and programs YACHT’s distinct, space-like beats, and vocalist Claire L. Evans are the duo behind YACHT.
Evans said that YACHT has a goal for the live translation of “Shangri-La,” their most recent album, and for their live performances in general.
“It’s impossible, but we strive for total translation via as much physical contact as possible, live and electronic instrumentation, an audio-visual experience, immersive interaction, and massive invasion of personal space,” Evans said.
One of the most appealing aspects of YACHT is their inherent bizarreness. Their website, aside from providing information on the band, offers fans guides on how to appropriately tattoo YACHT symbols, a list of mantras to study and practice at home, and paragraphs that lightheartedly explain whether YACHT is compatible with people’s religion. Evans even said that YACHT has grown exponentially since its inception and will one day be it’s own sovereign nation.
YACHT may seem cult-ish, but Evans said that everyone attending the show is in total control of their own experience.
“We have no interest in directing your wills,” Evans said. “Just come with an open mind, do not feel self-conscious - if you can avoid it - and prepare to gaze into the mirror of your own radical beauty and autonomous freedom.”
Evans said the “Shangri-La” album was an attempt to explore the concept of utopia. It is not surprising then that the first track of the album, “Utopia,” is possibly the best musical summary for the entirety of “Shangri-La.”
The song has a little bit of everything that makes YACHT’s music so catchy and danceable. Evolving, peaking synth leads mesh and build up with frantic guitar noises until one of the funkiest, fastest baselines ever rolls in after the drums. The simple, repetitive chorus of the song is just a sample of a technique that YACHT has managed to master – creating vocal parts that get stuck in one’s head and refuse to leave.
Both members share roots in Portland, Oregon. Evans said that the spirit of punk that resided in the Northwest in the time of her and Bechtolt’s upbringing is one that dominates their performance style.
“Playing shows in the Northwest is like returning to the heart of our adolescent ideals,” Evans said. “We know the audience understands our background, to a certain extent, so we can really be free.”