erasing clouds

100 Musicians Answer the Same 10 Questions

Part Thirty-Nine: Jona Bechtolt of YACHT and The Blow

instigated by dave heaton

The music Jona Bechtolt creates as YACHT is a crazy-beautiful mix of bright colors and wild dance beats. His is a unique positive energy, and he brings it to everything he does, whether it's the YACHT releases like his 2004 album Super Warren MMIV (States Rights) and his 2005 10" MEGA (Marriage -- or his contributions to others. The last couple years he's added a brilliant new dimension to Khaela Maricich's songs in The Blow, for example, but he also shows up other places here and there. To keep up, check out his website and MySpace, plus the Blow's MySpace while you're at it.


What aspect of making music excites you the most right now?

The money.

What aspect of making music gets you the most discouraged?

The money. More money, more problems.

What are you up to right now, music-wise? (Current or upcoming recordings, tours, extravaganzas, experiments, top-secret projects, etc).

I just finished making the new Blow album with Khaela for K and it comes out in October. I'm working on a new YACHT full length right now that'll come out sometime in early 2007. Khaela and I are going to tour separately this fall and I have a couple really fancy shows I'm nervous and excited about... one at the Pompidou in Paris (the effing museum!) and one at the Kitchen in New York (amazing performance space where Laurie Anderson, Meredith Monk, and Philip Glass are on the board of directors).

What's the most unusual place you've ever played a show or made a recording? How did the qualities of that place affect the show/recording?

The one and only time I've played in Saint Louis I played in a very small bathroom in a rec-room at a teenaged avant-garde kid's grandmother's house. I put my computer on the ground between the toilet and the wall. It was amazing. It sounded crazy and louder than usual. A bunch of kids crammed in the bathroom with me and danced. It was radical.

In what ways does the place where you live (or places where you have lived), affect the music you create, or your taste in music?

I live in Portland, Oregon and the winters here are dark. Most people go into a mild seasonal depression and this deeply affects how we listen to and make music. Also, somehow almost all of my favorite music is made by my friends that live here. I'm really lucky.

When was the last time you wrote a song? What can you tell us about it?

Yesterday. I played at this three-day-long all-ages free festival here called PDX POP NOW! and I made a new song about how I hate the telephone.

As you create more music, do you find yourself getting more or less interested in seeking out and listening to new music made by other people...and why do you think that is?

I'm deeply inspired by everything my friends are making right now, music and other stuff like drawings, videos, etc. I'm not really a super active record store person, but when I hear new stuff that gets me pumped I go deep on finding out about that scene of people and what else they're making.

Lately what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener? (Old or new music? Music like yours or different from yours?)

Radio hip-hop. I'll say it again: Hip-hop and R&B music, to me, is the most innovative music being made right now. They are doing crazy stuff that plays on the radio and MTV and people don't notice how crazy it is because it's also very poppy and easy to sing along and dance to.

Name a band or musician, past or present, who you flat-out LOVE and think more people should be listening to. What's one of your all-time favorite recordings by this band/musician?

Valet, Thunder Sundress (they broke up, but hey), Thanksgiving, Bobby Birdman, White Rainbow, Lucky Dragons, The Love Letter Band, E*Rock, and last, but almost BEST, is MANTA. I would be literally dead without these people.

What's the saddest song you've ever heard?

Every Arthur Russell song.

To check out the rest of the Q&As, click here.

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