With Red Yeti’s upcoming EP release at Velour in sight, the band reflects on its evolution as it moves forward.
This EP marks a shift in the Red Yeti focus. The band’s setup once included banjo, violin and female vocalists. But today’s Red Yeti ditches folky vibes for rock ‘n roll’s sake.
Band frontman Kimball Barker said he initially wrote folk-driven, “heartbroken” songs because that’s who he was at the time. But he noted an additional motive — he wrote folk-rock-flavored songs to fit the Provo scene.
That changed one day after Barker finished a jam session with Red Yeti drummer Nic Blosil.
“We were making up these really cool blues-rock grooves,” Barker said. “And afterwards, Nic said, ‘Kimball, why don’t we play this more? It’s more you. That’s where you really express yourself more: through rock ‘n roll.’”
So the band made the switch. Keyboardist Coleman Edwards describes the band’s current sound as rock ‘n roll with a bluesy, new age feel. High-energy performances and guitar solos showcase these stylistic focal points. Red Yeti seems to have found its niche, a niche with room for more residents.
“We’re always trying to find other rock bands to share this with us,” Barker said. “We’re trying to make a scene here. But it’s not the Red Yeti scene. It’s the rock scene. We’re trying to get more people involved and really get rock music back to Provo.”
Barker noted that this new EP is “the most honest music they’ve ever made,” and to him, that’s the most important aspect of their style. Barker prioritizes artistic honesty over wooing record labels.
“The success comes when artists are really honest,” Barker said. “And when that’s present, I don’t think it matters whether you have a label or not. People are attracted to that honesty. And if people are attracted, then that will attract labels.”
Red Yeti members intend to own and maintain control over everything they create themselves. Their financial strategy has proved successful so far. They’ve paid for all band expenses exclusively with money they’ve made as a band.
What to expect at Friday’s show
Sometimes, Provo show-goers stand as statues, arms folded as they contemplate musical nuances. Red Yeti expects their audiences to break free from this mold and move.
“We don’t want people to just cross their arms, stand there and listen,” Barker said. “We want them to jump around, push each other around and sing along; that’s become the brand of Red Yeti. You’re supposed to go wild at a Red Yeti show.”
Stephen Aldridge, a filmmaker who created the Red Yeti Microtrilogy, sees a unique energy in the band members.
“Everyone has a personal side and a public side,” Aldridge said. “But musicians like Red Yeti also have this kind of turbo-charged performance mode where they take their own personality and launch it at the audience.”
But the band cultivates a soft side as well, according to Edwards. He said they seek to leave an inspiring, positive impact on listeners.
“During every show, we try to have, for lack of a better term, a tender moment,” Edwards said. “We try to have a moment where we just get real, talk about something and connect with the crowd.”
Red Yeti hits the stage at Velour Live Music Gallery (135 N University Ave, Provo, UT 84601) on Apr. 4. Doors open at 8 p.m. Find tickets here.