There is nothing quite like a night when a band radiates an unstoppable creative energy onto the crowd. You start to dance, they increase the groove and then the music puts you completely in the moment. One New Orleans trio seems to capture this moment night after night as they shatter all boundaries with a fury of musical skill coupled with the most fun, flavorful attitudes one could ever encounter. Yojimbo has continued to creatively develop their raw yet charmingly catchy sound, both in the studio and live. The indie punk-funk trio, composed of trombone, drums and keys, is now at it full time, having just released their album Ghost Birthdays. Where Y’at spoke with drummer Adam Gertner to see where the band comes from and what’s in store for the future.
Where Y'at: So how did the three of you decide to form Yojimbo?
Adam Gertner: I moved down to New Orleans to go to Loyola. I met Doc Sharp because he was always in their practice rooms. I went to high school with Carly Meyers, and I just told her how great of a city it was. She moved down and fell instantly in love with the city. That’s just kind of how we came together.
WYAT: This band has done so much in so little time. How did this evolution come about?
Gertner: When we first started, I think it was more of a solid funk band. We did a lot of covers of P-funk songs, some Maceo Parker songs and funky standards. That was our first record, We Are Dogs. We loved all this experimental music and that evolved into our next record, which was Bumble Bee Crown King. And then we were like, “We should sing some songs,” and Carly started taking vocal lessons, which led to our last record that she sings all over.
WYAT: I’ve noticed you’ve also created your own stage decorations for every live show. Did this also come about naturally?
Gertner: Carly and I had this idea that we should make a backdrop. It’s kind of our fourth member. And I suggested that we wear these boxers that Carly hand-sewed, and Doc really loved the idea. So now we have four or five different pairs of boxers and we try to wear them every single time we play.
WYAT: Y’all seem like such great friends. Does this affect the band's creative process?
Gertner: Yeah, for sure. On the new songs that we’ve been writing, we’ve written a lot of them as a trio. Or Carly will have lyrics and Doc will figure out what to do with the bridge or something, and we’ve just kind of naturally ended up writing all these songs together now.
WYAT: So now that the three of you have been here for a few years, how do you feel living in New Orleans has shaped the project as a whole?
Gertner: I would definitely say that we all consider it home for sure now. Carly and I are from Denver and Doc is from Memphis. We go back and play those cities and they don’t feel like home anymore. There’s also such a giant, flavorful music scene here. Everybody’s so relaxed and I think that really is a big part of our music. Its like, “Oh, why don’t we just take a breath and try to have a good time,” and that’s the whole point of what we’re trying to do. Just get people to come out, forget their problems and enjoy a musical show. Just have a good time. We kind of embody New Orleans in that way.
WYAT: Speaking of embodying New Orleans, your latest music video for “Subliminal Socrates” was shot in the streets here almost like a parade.
Gertner: We were originally going to have us riding around on separate pedicabs in the Quarter, and then it evolved into us getting on one trailer and riding a bike down the street. We invited all these friends, and they actually ended up coming out and being in the video. It was really sweet to see everybody come out and support us. They all dressed up in the coolest ways.
WYAT: Amazing. Well you’ve already mentioned recording soon. I’m wondering what all is in store for the future of Yojimbo.
Gertner: Some of our favorite bands have always had these records where the last one doesn’t sound anything like the one before it. We appreciate that and enjoy a changing band. We always want new things, so we’re writing songs and trying to do new things we wouldn’t expect. It’s fun trying to cross over genres; it’s really fun because all three of us just never shoot down ideas. We’re always creating together, so it really evolves the sound of the band and we can go in any direction we want. Adding the vocals is just a whole other element that has been so much fun for us.