Scott Ayers spent the last four years turning an old bar in Oakland, CA into a successful venue for outsized drag shows, jazz groups, live band karaoke, and a huge Skee-Ball league — and the odd drink sold here and there. But all those things ended when Covid closed up bars and venues across the country earlier this year. But rather than dwell on this tragedy, Ayers turned all that frustration and anguish into music, namely music made under the auspices of Yachtclub101, a raucous vehicle for his synth-fueled daydreams and euphoric electronic impulses.
However, this wasn’t Ayers first brush with putting together a record. After moving from Bennington, VT to Oakland in 1996, he began playing with a number of local bands, before eventually achieving success with The Lovemakers, who would go on to release an album on Interscope in 2005. The band has only shared one full-length and a few singles over the last 10 years, though Ayers has also performed alongside Debbie Harry and Nick Cave on a Gun Club tribute and worked with Chris Stein of Blondie in that time. His new work as Yachtclub101 is far different than anything he’s released in the past, filled with warping synths and dense pop theatrics.
Ayers announced that he would be releasing three records in three years, with ten songs per record and seven videos per album, and he will release his debut album as Yachtclub101 on November 24. Driven in part because of his own medical issues and the near-constant threat of Covid, he was determined to make these records before anything kept him from imparting just a little bit of joy into our current devastations.
“I don’t give a shit about fame or money and I’ve lived my life happily without either,” says Ayers. “I imagined every song on the record live as one of the first concerts after the virus has dissipated. That first six months of live shows will be crowds so happy to be literally anywhere it will undoubtedly be a really emotional experience. Being trapped inside the last five months and the everyday fear that you might be in a hospital tomorrow on a ventilator made this record a necessary dream of the future. When this crap is over I think people are just gonna want something fun and happy for a while and I plan on bringing that happiness to every single person in the world.”
Equal parts Midnite Vultures-era Beck and the 80’s pop supersonics of Twin Shadow, his latest single, “Nothing They Say”, is a vivid and necessary burst of musical support at a time when we need it the most. His voice floats high above us, an omnipresent narrator that reminds us to listen to that sound in our hearts and to disregard anything and anyone that tells us we can’t achieve all that we dream. The accompanying video is a stage for Ava LaShay, Nia Politan, Rosie Petals, and Audrey Elle, a group of drag performers whose middle fingers are in a constant stare of uprightness toward anyone who has the audacity to question their tenacity and relevance.