Yello Echo: Complicated Instigators Keep Disco Torch Lit
Each week, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? E-mail their particulars to email@example.com.
L-R: Mani Nezami (guitar, bass), Crystal Tolivar (vocals, bass), Chris Bassett (drums, percussion)
Here's what you're about to walk into: A conversation with the quirktastic, surprisingly emotive trio Yello Echo.
That's really the only way to explain it. And really, that's the only way we'd like to explain. Because it's as encompassing and broad and without-borders as their music. (There's music for you, too.)
Just read the interview, you'll see what we mean. Just a sampling of things that make a cameo: Craigslist, Scarface, murder by drowning, the alphabet, Barack Obama, jazz, Barry Gibb, an asshole and the Hindenburg. That's not even everything. And we only asked, like, seven questions. Weirdos.
Rocks Off: Tell everyone everything they need to know about Yello Echo.
Crystal: Mani is my best friend's husband and we started writing songs in the summer of 2010. A couple of months later, we found Chris on Craigslist.
Mani: More like, Chris found us.
Chris: And my life was forever changed.
Mani: We all come from different backgrounds and have differing tastes in music, but we have a strong appreciation of older music. I think that's what makes our sound pretty unique. We're into everything, from soul, funk and hip-hop to classic rock and country.
Crystal: With songwriting, either Mani comes up with a guitar riff or I come up with a vocal line/lyric, and we usually bang something out and then take it to Chris.
Mani: Where he completely destroys it.
RO: Is there any truth to the rumor that the W that used to be in your name (Yellow) was killed in a horrific motorcycle accident? That's terrible to hear. I'm sorry for your alphabetical loss.
Crystal: No comment.
Mani: We drowned it.
RO: We think the most interesting song (for us, anyway) that you guys have is "Complicated Instigator." Can you talk a bit about that? How it came to be, who wrote it, things like that.
C: We all had a part in writing the song. Originally, Mani came up with the guitar part. He had intended it to be more of a punk song.
Mani: Then Crystal put down a very jazzy/doo-wop vocal line that changed the entire dynamic.
Crystal: Finally, when Chris got his hands on it, it became much harder sounding and took it in a completely different direction. The moral of the story is that we have absolutely no fucking idea what we're doing when we're writing songs.
RO: If someone has never heard your music before, what's the one song you'd play for them to win them over? Why?
Crystal: "Mission for You" because it's a disco song!
Mani: Everyone needs a little disco in their pants. Especially with the passing of Donna Summer and Robin Gibb.
Crystal: DISCO IN THE PANTS!
RO: What will we see at a Yello Echo show that we wouldn't see anywhere else?
Mani: Somehow we always end up with a mass of people dancing onstage. We really don't know where they come from.
Crystal: Yeah we do, you call them up there.
Crystal: It's a whole lot of hip-hop, funk, rock and soul, so it's not like you see that every day.
C: And Mani bows a guitar!
RO: Is there any way we could get you to remake Scarface's "Seen a Man Cry"? We suspect you guys might make an excellent version. Or it'll be a total plane crash. Either way, fun for us.
M: It would be a total plane crash.
Chris: The Hindenburg of covers.
Crystal: In big funny shit land... yeah.
Mani: You know, actually, Scarface's bassist/producer mixed, mastered and performed on our album. We saw the gold record on his wall!
RO: Anything you want to be sure gets mentioned? Now's the time.
Mani: We just finished our debut album, Introducing Yello Echo, and we're having a record release for it on June 23 as part of the Caroline Sessions. It'll be at the Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company at 5301 Nolda. Free beer, barbecue and summer activities including a slip 'n slide, kiddie pool, water guns/balloons and hula hoops!
Crystal: Also, our album is currently available on iTunes and Spotify. We're getting pressed and it'll be out as a CD by the time of the album-release party. We're also looking to have it available at some of the local record shops in our wonderful town.
Chris: We're already writing new songs for our second album and if you come out, you'll be able to hear a few of the newer tracks.
Mani: We'd also like to mention that Barack Obama makes a cameo in our album.
Crystal: We roll deep.
Check out Yello Echo on Spotify, because that's what someone who's hip would do.
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