Written by Suzie McCracken
15 Sunday 15th April 2012

We can’t wait to see you guys in London next month. You’re constantly touring though and your schedule seems pretty intense. Is performing the most important part of what you do, or do you just really enjoy seeing the world?

Jona: It’s super exhausting, but yeah, it’s both of those things. Before I was in bands I’d never seen any of the world, I’d only ever seen Oregon. I feel blessed that I’ve been able to see the world through playing music. I wouldn’t say playing shows is the most important part of what we do, but it’s maybe our favourite aspect of being a band. We love getting to share human energy with people.

Claire: A big part of what YACHT is about is connecting with people. We think a big part of that is also making records, making books, reaching out to people online and generally making objects that people can participate with. You can’t beat face-to-face human interaction; it’s a mainline right into the heart of what we do.

Where do you get the best response? Do you have a favourite place to play?

J: We’re always just blown away that anyone ever comes to our shows. I mean, it’s crazy to go to places like the Tibetan plateau in China and have people show up and know our songs because they torrented the record. We’re so humbled by that. It’s always so surprising that it’s hard to say where the best response has come from.

C: The places where we are really well received always surprise me. Poland was crazy, for instance.

J: A lot of people in America assume, because dance music has been on the outskirts of pop culture for so long, that we must be ‘huge in Europe’. I feel like we’re just under the radar everywhere, which is kind of exactly where we want to be. If we can keep doing what we’re doing now for the rest of our lives then we’ll be set up.

Image by Alin Dragulin

You’ve said before that you’re really interested in binaries like love and hate or creation and destruction. What's the binary opposite of the music you make?

J: I know what it is, it’s Nickelback.

C: No, it’s silence!

J: Ok, it’s someone thinking of Nickelback in their head, in a silent room.

Image by Sarah Meadows

You’re also obsessed with the universe. How does a concept so dense translate into the pop music you make? Is pop just the form of expression you feel most comfortable with, or do you feel there is something about the repetitiveness that links with the subject matter?

C: We see pop music as one of a handful of vehicles we use to communicate with people. Obviously we’re going to be more known for making pop songs than anything else we do, but we don’t necessarily place it higher than making books, or making videos, or making highly dense philosophical belief systems that we advertise online. But at the same time I do think it’s one of the most effective ways we use to communicate our ideas. Even though it can be a little bit oblique, pop music has a quality which writing and visual culture doesn’t. People attach themselves to pop music in a really personal way and they allow the lyrics, the repetitiveness and certain qualities of the song to live inside of their heads for years. There are pop songs that I feel like I was born knowing, they’re just part of my make-up. I don’t even really think about what the words mean because it’s almost beyond language.

J: So in that way you can sneak ideas into those words, even if people don’t understand what they are. Maybe the words carry an inherent meaning through people having them in their head at all times.

C: Getting a pop song stuck in your head being repeated over and over again is not that different from chanting some kind of mantra to yourself. If the lyrics are right, then you might find yourself having some strange revelation in the middle of the night where you realize that the song you love is actually trying to tell you something. That’s something we really like to play with.

You guys are both prolific bloggers, do you have your own favourite blogs? What do you regularly read?

J: Well my friend and I started a blog network in 2001 called Urban Honking and there are a lot of blogs on that website that I am a big fan of. I guess notably Regarding is one of my favourites. It’s an anonymous personal blog by a friend of ours. He/she is hysterically funny.

C: I like reading a lot of sci-fi, and design and architecture blogs [Claire writes Universe and Space Canon]. Jona reads a lot of technology-based stuff. I think one of my favourites is BLDG, which is a speculative architecture and science fiction blog - it’s amazing.

Image by Alex Nguyen

You recently made a Shangri-la fragrance. What does Shangri-la smell like?

C: It smells great. And it’s unisex!

J: I’ve been a fan of that perfumer (Heather Sielaff of OLO) for a few years, so for her to say yes to a collaboration was a dream of mine and I was excited about making it. It smells really smoky.

C: It was interesting working with a perfumer because we don’t share much of a common technical language, so we had to talk about it in abstract terms. We built a fantasy of what we wanted to evoke. The idea is that it smells like the morning after some sort of temple ritual has happened where the flowers are smashed on the floor and the incense is hanging heavy in the air and people are lying prostrate on the marble floor. It also kind of smells like Los Angeles on fire.

Click here for more information on YACHT the band, the belief system, and the business. They play XOYO on May 8th and you can buy tickets here.

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