Houston Music

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 protected].

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.


RO: What will we see at a Yello Echo show that we wouldn't see anywhere else?

Yello Echo, "The Color Red."

Yello Echo, "The Color Red."

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.

C: Asshole.

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!

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Shea Serrano