Yacht Club! battles the weather gods
The weather gods must hate Yacht Club!.
“The weather has not worked out for us. It usually rains wherever we are,” Yacht Club! keyboardist Ian Tinnery said.
Show with Student Film cancelled due to storms? Check. Show with Maria Taylor cancelled due to blizzards? Check. Flooding during a show in Denton, Texas? Check. Tornado while performing in Norman? Check.
“I think God thinks we’re bigger than we are,” bass player Scott Harper joked, but quickly corrected himself by saying, “Just kidding, just kidding.”
Although it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for this recent addition to the Norman music community, the sunny rock quartet has been diligent in establishing its place in the music community and getting its name out across Oklahoma and Texas.
Despite the convenient weather imagery, band members say their band name actually has little significance.
“There’s unfortunately not a Beatle or song to reference. It’s just easy to remember,” Harper said.
“It’s just fun,” Tinnery chimes in. “We’re not nautically themed.”
Formed from a brief and unfruitful (but still nautically named) band called Whales Band, the current line-up is composed of members Tinnery and Harper along with drummer Patrick Wetwiska and lead vocalist and guitarist Jay Easton. They combine their tastes and talents to perform bouncy rock-slash-“indie-rock”-slash-pop ditties that they hope will leave listeners hooked.
“I think the music’s danceable. We try and play with a lot of energy. We don’t use a lot of effects,” Tinnery said.
Tinnery, a classically-trained pianist, recalls feeling lost at sea when he first joined the crew.
“It was kind of overwhelming,” he says. “But I was listening to New Order, and it was really, really good and really simple. It kinda brought the scope down, and I saw that the music’s gonna be what I make it.”
And despite some choppy waves, members say they’ve been able to find inspiration in the little victories.
“It’s nice to even be known as an up-and-coming band,” Harper said. “Just for us to be where we are, that is an achievement. We haven’t looked back since we started. We don’t really know the lifespan—it came together so fast.”
For Harper, the prize catch was when his grandmother watched a video of the band performing and simply said, “I like it.”
For Tinnery, it was the sheer realization of their goal.
“We’ve all been to shows, but after the first show, we got off the stage, and then you realize that you were actually up there,” he said.
For now, the winds are picking up for Yacht Club!; they are using the summer to tentatively finish a record by mid-August.
They are also taking full advantage of their prime practice spot above Wetwiska’s father’s office in downtown Oklahoma City.
“We never get in trouble, and we have plenty of space. We have the whole city to rock out on—after 5 p.m,” Tinnery said.
Later this month, the band plans to rock the boat by featuring a comedian as their opening act before a performance at the Opolis.
And come fall, all four members will be in the same boat as fellow students attending the University of Oklahoma.
“It’s just about having a good time. We have these weird amateurish, silly personalities. I’m sure every band says this, but we really don’t take ourselves too seriously,” Harper said.
There remain, however, uncharted territories in the horizon. Graduating takes priority over rock star dreams for now, and Tinnery is tentatively looking to move on to medical school or dental school in the fall.
“We haven’t talked about that at all,” Harper said sheepishly. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”
But for now, all hands are on deck as Yacht Club! continues to sail on, hoping to avoid more severe weather and horrible nautical puns. When asked about future goals, Harper says he hopes they can get signed, while Tinnery simply says, “Uh… rock stardom.”
Fortunately, even if the weather gods aren’t on their side, Yacht Club! can still count on its growing fan base. Harper laughs as he describes some of the band’s earliest supporters: “All the homeless guys [outside our practice space] claim to know people in Nashville.”