Instrumental trio Yoma planning EP

For 12 years now, guitarist Baird Buchanan and bassist Brendan Hoyt have played in bands together, f

For 12 years now, guitarist Baird Buchanan and bassist Brendan Hoyt have played in bands together, first in the Orange County area and then in Albany.

For a time in Albany, the two had some success with indie rock group Ophelia, the latest of many bands they started. But eventually, the same thing that happened with previous bands happened with Ophelia — members began leaving.

“You get right to that point where you’re kind of — you’re doing it,” Buchanan said. “All right, we’re making progress, we’re moving forward, things feel good — and then somebody’s like, ‘Oh . . .’ ”

“Pretty much I guess you could say it’s right at the point where it starts to become actual work — once the work detail comes, they always quit,” Hoyt added.

In April of last year, the two decided to simplify their approach, hooking up with drummer Seth Maset to form the heavy instrumental trio Yoma. After a year of playing together, the band is working on its four-song debut EP, “Earthbound,” due out at the end of the month, and have been steadily gigging in the area. The band’s next show is at Dublin’s in Troy on Friday night, — with City of Ships and BLKSN.


with City of Ships, BLKSN

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Where: Dublin’s, 121 Fourth St., Troy

How Much: $5

More Info: 629-0799

Not as mellow

All three members of the band are originally from the Orange County area, although the younger Maset didn’t meet Buchanan and Hoyt until Yoma formed in Albany. Buchanan was the first to arrive in the Capital Region about nine years ago, with Hoyt following three or four years later.

At that time, the two were playing in a long-distance incarnation of Ophelia, which fell apart once Hoyt moved, leaving half the band in Albany and the other half in Orange County. After trying to piece together a band under the same name in Albany, the two decided to make a clean break, in part due to their continually evolving musical style.

“I think that what we’re doing now is a lot more rock-oriented than what we were doing before,” Hoyt said. “What we were doing before was very much — it didn’t have nearly as much heavy stuff in it. It was mellower; it was much more cliché post-rock-y, because that was the vein I always pushed it in as much as I could. And then for some reason, once we got down to the three-piece, Baird’s influences I think got more shone through — there’s a lot more riff-y stuff.”

The three bandmates all come from different backgrounds — Buchanan prefers ’90s noise rockers such as Jesus Lizard, Mr. Bungle and Coalesce, while Hoyt brings atmospheric influences including Pink Floyd and Portishead. Maset draws his drumming inspiration from King Crimson and other progressive rock groups.

All three members contribute in the songwriting process, whereas in previous groups Hoyt and Buchanan usually brought completed ideas to practices. The results careen between crushing riffs featuring Buchanan’s swirling guitar effects, and spacier atmospheric moments anchored by Hoyt’s bass lines. Without a vocalist, all three members compensate to create tension and build melody.

Forget the vocalist

Although Hoyt and Buchanan worked with vocalists in Ophelia, they decided against it in Yoma. Besides keeping things simpler with fewer band members, the lack of a vocalist has actually helped the band gain an audience.

“I always feel like, with any band I’ve played with that’s had a vocalist, the problem has generally been that really good vocalists — really good versatile vocalists are extremely hard to come by,” Hoyt said.

“A bad vocalist can ruin music so much, and I feel like it’s — most of the bands I’ve played in have been instrumental now. I feel like once you add vocals, you might think it would open it up to more people, but I think it actually a lot of times has the opposite effect, depending on the kind of music you’re playing.”

Categories: Life and Arts

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