L.A. experimental pop duo YACHT have always used art and technology to parallel their accomplished music careers. Some of them have been really cool, like when they created an app that gave people in Los Angeles five cool things to do every single day, and some have been more questionable such as releasing their track listing’s as “tracklisticles“.
Today the group took that intersection of art, music and technology to the next level in an effort to promote their new album I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler.
Yesterday, they posted on Facebook alerting fans that a sex tape featuring band members Claire L. Evans and Jona Bechtolt had been leaked without their consent. In the note, they asked fans to please respect their privacy by not viewing the sex tape: “Just because we are public figures does not mean we asked for this. Like anyone, we still deserve to have a choice about what we share with the world.”
We are writing today because we want you to be the first to know some news.
This has been a hard time for us as a band. It’s hard for bands generally these days. We make music in a time where album sales are at an all time low. Tours are a formidable expense with no guarantees that we’ll make the money back. Not even t-shirts sell the way that they used to. Music isn’t art anymore, it’s just content. We don’t need to write yet another op-ed column to describe the intricacies of why mid-level bands like us are in trouble.
That being said…
Today, without our previous knowledge nor consent, a personal video was released.
For more than 10 years, Claire and I have been the frontman and frontwoman of a band that has been core to the meaning of our mutual existence. YACHT is the result of love, tremendous work and unending, unflinching collaboration. We have always operated under the principle of doing our best to maintain dignity and a commitment to openness and truth, both on stage and off.
But today, due to a series of technological missteps and one morally abject person, a video that we made privately has been released to the public. We have commenced legal proceedings against the aforementioned person, but now that it could potentially circulate, we feel like it’s important for you to know what happened and why.
Claire and I — who have been romantic and artistic partners since 2006 — made a “sex tape.” It was intended for us only. We don’t feel the need to justify the reason we made it. Anyone reading this who has been in a long term partnership understands that preserving the relationship is an ever-changing and challenging thing. It’s especially difficult when the lines between career and romance are as merged as ours are. The financial pressures that we’ve been under, which de facto extend into our extracurricular lives, created a circumstance in which we felt like we needed a bit of an escape from the day-to-day. So we turned on a camera, became naked, and had sex. We assumed that we were the only people who would be privy to that video. I guess we were naive. Now you have the option to be privy to that video. For us, that’s a shame. We feel like art is an act of generosity. The art we make for the public is for that expressed purpose. And now we’re in an awkward situation where the art that we made for us and us alone is being viewed by anyone who has the inclination to hit play — a true and humiliating blurring of the public and private.
Our tastes in the bedroom might seem uncommon to some, and possibly off-putting. But considering the variables that go into any sexual experience, wouldn’t anything seem uncommon, and possibly off-putting? This is our private life. And no one should have governance over what people do consensually in their private lives.
Just because we are public figures does not mean we asked for this. Like anyone, we still deserve to have a choice about what we share with the world. Today we no longer have that choice. But our hope is that you fundamentally understand that choice and you choose not to view a private act that was inadvertently made public. We hope you understand that this is not a delicious scandal. This is an exploitation.
We love you all and hope that you will make the right decision. And if you don’t, we hope that you will continue to enjoy our music regardless of what you’ve seen today.
With love and respect,
Jona and Claire
The band later followed up on that post by releasing a link to purchase and download the alleged sextape for $5, saying that if it was gonna be out there, they might as well profit from it.
Hi everyone. We’re deeply touched by the overwhelming support you’ve shown us. This is an uncomfortable and pretty bizarre situation for us to be in, but it’s made better by the evidence that we have fans like you.
Since this happened we’ve been researching sex tapes. It shouldn’t have come as any surprise that Pamela Anderson never saw a dime from the tape she filmed with Tommy Lee, and Paris Hilton lost a court battle with the man who leaked their private video. We’re not as savvy as the Kardashians, but something occurred to us this morning: we could try and distribute the video directly to you ourselves. Lemonade?
This video is out there now. We can’t change that. But we can try to be “as YACHT as possible” about it and take some kind of ownership over what has happened. So we’re asking you one thing: if you feel like you 100% have to see this tape, don’t stream it on some tube site, or download a torrent. Instead, we beg of you to download the video, Louis C.K.-style, directly from us.
Huge thanks to our friend Daniel Bogan for cobbling this site together last night, and to the people that make free tools and easily accessible platforms like Let’s Encrypt, Bootstrap, and Stripe that made it much less painful. At the very least we can laugh about this URL:
The whole thing was suspicious from the start due to the band’s background in performance art. The suspicions were ultimately proved right. The link ultimately led to a video of the two cuddling in bed, with some alien sci fi violence at the end.
Seems a bit silly to go to all those lengths just to promote an album, I wouldn’t be surprised if YACHT was trying to make some bigger commentary on media and how we consume it.