In August, Yeasayer performed on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon surrounded by formless, space-age structures designed and built in collaboration with the Creators Project. The odd shapes will appear again in the fall when the Brooklyn band embarks on their national tour.
"We are such a visually overstimulated culture, at this point, that it becomes a challenge to craft something onstage that is more interesting than the iPhone," Yeasayer frontman Chris Keating tells Rolling Stone. The "crystalline-mirrored canvases," as he calls them, are the band's attempt to create a live "religious experience" for the audience.
Yeasayer and the Creators Project reached out to software designer Casey Reas and Aaron Meyers (programmer of Treachery of Sanctuary) to create a custom program for the band's stage show. The structure was designed by architecture firm Aranda/Lasch, and the videos were created by visual artist Yoshi Sodeoka.
"The platform was built to be flexible and dynamic, like a visual instrument that interacts with four or five different stage elements live," Reas tells Rolling Stone. To design the set, he listened to Yeasayer's new Fragrant Rock LP daily from May onward and says that the album's range of music "seeped naturally" into his work. He also drew inspiration from light artists James Turrell and Robert Owen; Keating cites Bob Fosse, Olafur Eliasson and Dan Flavin as his influences.
Along with the structures, Yeasayer is bringing a projectionist on tour to display the visuals live onstage. "The way [the projectionist] modulates the images live is analogous to how modern electronic music is performed," Reas says.
"It is exciting to engage depth and contrast as much as possible while onstage," Keating adds. "I have noticed an intense, almost numinous experience on the faces of some audience members."