YACHT began as a solo project for Jona Bechtolt, a musician and multimedia artist who embraces an eclectic but playful blend of electronics, acoustic percussion, and noises of all sorts. Bechtolt took up music as a teenager, dropping out of high school to play drums in a touring punk band with his brother, and in the latter part of the '90s he began working with electronics. Bechtolt teamed up with vocalist and performance artist Khaela Maricich to form the Blow, whose upbeat blend of beats and off-kilter melodies won them a loyal following after releasing the first of several albums for K Records in 2002.
In 2003, Bechtolt unveiled YACHT, his solo project, with the largely instrumental album Super Warren MMIV, released by States Rights Records. A year later, Bechtolt teamed with the Marriage label for a 10" vinyl YACHT album Mega 10", which was re-released as a CD with accompanying DVD of Bechtolt's digital filmmaking. The third YACHT album, I Believe in You. Your Magic Is Real., arrived in the spring of 2007. When not occupied with YACHT or the Blow, Bechtolt has worked as a collaborator and/or accompanist for Devendra Banhart, Bobby Birdman, Mirah, Little Wings, the Microphones, and many others, as well as remixing tracks for Architecture in Helsinki and White Rainbow. In addition, Bechtolt is the founder of the Urban Honking blog collective, helmed the online reality show satire The Ultimate Blogger, and has created performance pieces under commission to New York City's New Museum of Contemporary Art and the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art.
By 2009, Bechtolt had transformed YACHT from a solo project to a full-fledged duo, recruiting vocalist (and respected science writer/theorist) Claire L. Evans to sing on the critically well-received See Mystery Lights. They continued working together, releasing the Shangri-La album in 2011 for DFA and a string of singles afterward ("Second Summer" in 2012, "Plastic Soul" and "Where Does This Disco?" in 2014). For the 2015 album I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler, Bechtolt and Evans worked with Rob Kieswetter (aka Bobby Birdman and also a member of YACHT's live band) to come up with their poppiest effort yet. It was released in late 2015 by their new label, Downtown. ~ Mark Deming
- Portland, OR