Musician, techno-geek and unwitting pirate philosopher, YACHT's Jona Bechtolt is some heretofore-unseen combination of enigma and open book.
YACHT's mission statement is a jumble of slightly creepy assertions about unity, individualism and politics, and it is also an open invitation to everyone to join Bechtolt and Claire Evans in becoming a member of the group. Weird, right?
But take note: Just above that statement on the band's MySpace page is a video for YACHT's "Summer Song" " a faithful parody of a goofy scene in John Cusack's woefully underappreciated 1988 film, "Tapeheads."
YACHT, if you were wondering, is actually a band, of sorts, although it's difficult to cull that from its bipolar Internet persona.
"YACHT is always whatever YACHT is when you are in the midst of experiencing YACHT. There is no 'real' experience, short of being us," Bechtolt said. "That said, seeing us live is as close as you can get to knowing what it is like to be us, because we are very absorbed in what we do."
This is the sort of statement that might provoke eye-rolling to those unfamiliar with the act's shtick, but Bechtolt appears to be earnest, although vaguely robotic. And it's probably not far from the truth.
Live performances from the duo incorporate video and PowerPoint presentations and rely on immersion, or, as YACHT puts it: "The YACHT Performance is expressly designed to provide groups of people with catharsis and purification." That purification happens via a number of highly danceable electronic pop songs " think MGMT, but less meaty.
One can search for the tongue in YACHT's cheek, but it probably won't be found without reading at least some of Bechtolt's numerous blog entries: how his day went, video high jinks, internal monologues and pretty much anything having to do with anything.
He is something of an Internet free spirit, which has led to consternation as he freely admits to using pirated software and downloading music illegally. The authors of some of Bechtolt's pirated software responded to the interview, and Bechtolt responded in kind, igniting what YACHT now passively refers to as part of the "flame war culture" in its mission statement.
Now, Bechtolt is stoic when discussing the subject of software piracy, labeling it not as right or wrong, necessarily, but as just the way it is, or at least the way it will be someday.
"One could argue that the inherent value of the 'Mona Lisa' has become largely dependent on the ubiquity of its mechanical and digital reproduction," he said. "It's become an image devoid of authorship, context and referents."
According to Bechtolt, resistance is futile, even for YACHT.
"The pieces are already in place, the current has already taken hold, and the battle of 'intellectual property' is un-winnable," he said. "Becky Carman