Layabozi

YACHT – Intentionally Unexplained Mysteries

marfLayabozi

Well, we just saw you and I’ll have my own labels, but how do you label your own music, if at all?

YACHT

(Johna) We don’t. We leave that for the people. We feel that’s a privilege that the listener deserves. They get to call it whatever they want. We don’t want to force anything on anyone.

(Claire) We don’t think about our music in terms of genre at all. I think that that sort of limits you as a person and an artist in the world. The more you specify what you do, the less able you are to…understand the world that you are a part of. So we try to make very song different from the last.

Layabozi

What I want to know is, favorite artists from you, new and unknown.

YACHT

(Claire) You mean musical artists?

Layabozi

Yes, or otherwise.

YACHT

(Claire) That’s an interesting question. We kind of work in a vacuum. In a void, if you will. Most of our influences are not musical, really. I mean we listen to the music of our friends- wonderful artists in Oregon, Portland. There’s a lot of amazing music. White Rainbow- check it out- Bobby Birdman, Ballet, White Fan, State’s Rights…

Layabozi

One other thing I wanted to know- the Pacific Northwest is a beautiful place so do you take anything from that in your music?

YACHT

(Claire) Uh, yeah, I think so. We try to work based on the environment around us. We actually recorded our last record not in Portland so there’s very little of Portland in there—

Layabozi

We’ll get to that.

YACHT

(Claire) The music that we make is heavily influenced by the strange political and physical forces we’re surrounded by.

Layabozi

Chinese bands: Do you know any, do you like any?

YACHT

(Johna) I like Hedgehog. I only know Chinese bands that I’ve played with and two years ago I played a festival and they played there.

(Claire) I don’t know any Chinese bands. I’m here to discover.

(Johna) That’s sort of why we’re here.

(Claire) That’s sort of why we’re here. We thought we would go straight to the source, do some research.

Layabozi

All-time favorite artists?

YACHT

(Johna) Nirvana are my all-time favorite artists. They’re the reason I play music. The Bragg’s are culinary artists—they made this liquid amino called Bragg’s.

Layabozi

Oh! Bragg’s and quinoa.

YACHT

(Johna) You know Bragg’s.

(Claire) All-time favorite artists? My all-time favorite band is the Decembrists, followed closely by Spacemen 3.

Layabozi

Are you guys familiar with Jose Arguelles?

YACHT

(Claire) I was just going to bring him up. I mean, the human race loves apocalyptic metaphor. It gives our life purpose. It gives our life structure. It gives us something to strive towards. It puts like a time frame on everything that we do. It keeps us humble, but at the same time, the world will not end for a very long time, I don’t believe. You know, most of that 2012 stuff is very dubious experimental concepts that don’t have anything to do with anything the Mayans did, but I am ready to be shown up and humbled by some kind of polar flow…

Layabozi

Well, there’s a movie coming out. I don’t know if you’ve heard. It’s called 2012.

YACHT

(Both laughing)

(Claire) I’ve heard! That’s the authoritative documentary of what’s going to happen.

Layabozi

It’s non-fiction.

YACHT

We almost decided to name our next record 2012. We feel like it’s too of-the-moment.

Layabozi

I’ve got a title for you: 2013.

YACHT

(Johna) The Day After. December 24th, 2012.

Layabozi

Marfa, Texas. They have these lights there. How did you find out about the lights?

YACHT

I was on tour in 2005 in Austin, Texas. 6 and a half hours east, I was told, “You have to go Marfa.” I had the day off. They told me about these “lights.” They made it sound like it was like the Aurora Borealis, like a natural phenomenon, like “explained.” So I was like: “That sounds cool. I’ll go.” So I went, saw them for the first time and the next day I met Claire. I thought that was serendipitous. Our bands were there at the same time, her old band when YACHT was just me.

Layabozi

What was the name of your old band?

YACHT

(Claire) It was called Weirdo Begeirdo. It was a noise band.

(Johna) So then a year later Claire and I went together to see the lights and we decide we had to live there, among the lights, to try to figure out what daily life was like in this crazy part of the world that has this paranormal optical phenomena that is completely unexplained, which is so rare in the world. We live in this digital information age where Wikipedia can answer any question. “Mythbusters” busts all the myths.

Layabozi

Right. I already looked it up. But I didn’t get anything.

YACHT

(Claire) There’s no answer. It’s an unexplained phenomenon and it’s beautiful.

Layabozi

Was it just the lights? It seems like there were some people in Marfa, Texas that…

YACHT

(Claire) We came for the lights. We stayed for the people.

(Johna) Everyone has a really intense personal story about the lights because people grow up with the lights so everyone has a story about chasing the lights or being chased by the lights or feeling the presence behind the lights. Craziness shaped these people’s lives.

(Claire) People in Marfa, Texas are unlike anywhere else in the world. I mean, it’s incredibly isolated and it is a very self-contained, dynamic community of very interesting things and there is no desire to go anywhere else. It’s kind of like a new utopia.

(Johna) A Newtopia.

Layabozi

What do you think the lights are?

YACHT

(Johna) I don’t want to know.

(Claire) If we found out what the lights are it would just shatter us emotionally because we base so much of our ideology now on the phenomenon and the possibility of mystery. It would be awful.

(Johna) I don’t think we’ll find out anytime soon. They’ve been around since recorded history. Native Americans thought they were spirits leaving the body. Cowboys thought they were ghost fires and now there’s been tons of scientists coming from around the world for the past 30 years trying to figure them out.

Layabozi

What role does mystery play in your ideology?

YACHT

(Claire) We highly value mystery. It’s something that is very uncommon in this day and age and not valued. Even a hundred years ago people lived with natural phenomena that they didn’t understand and they just attributed it to magic and mystery and the unknowable and the whole world was like this capricious, living thing that you never really fully understood. That’s a very strange and humbling way to live your life. That’s what humanity was like for hundreds of years before magic became science. And magic became religion and all that went away. We’ve lost contact with what the world is really like. We’ve lost contact with the fact that there are still things much larger than us. There are still things that can humble and frighten us. We’ve become over-confident and coming across something that is fully mysterious brings us back to a more ancient way of life, which is what YACHT is all about.

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