Yello Echo: Complicated Instigators Keep Disco Torch Lit

Each week, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? E-mail their particulars to sheaserrano@gmail.com.

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L-R: Mani Nezami (guitar, bass), Crystal Tolivar (vocals, bass), Chris Bassett (drums, percussion)
Here's what you're about to walk into: A conversation with the quirktastic, surprisingly emotive trio Yello Echo.

That's really the only way to explain it. And really, that's the only way we'd like to explain. Because it's as encompassing and broad and without-borders as their music. (There's music for you, too.)

Just read the interview, you'll see what we mean. Just a sampling of things that make a cameo: Craigslist, Scarface, murder by drowning, the alphabet, Barack Obama, jazz, Barry Gibb, an asshole and the Hindenburg. That's not even everything. And we only asked, like, seven questions. Weirdos.

Rocks Off: Tell everyone everything they need to know about Yello Echo.

Crystal: Mani is my best friend's husband and we started writing songs in the summer of 2010. A couple of months later, we found Chris on Craigslist.

Mani: More like, Chris found us.

Chris: And my life was forever changed.

Mani: We all come from different backgrounds and have differing tastes in music, but we have a strong appreciation of older music. I think that's what makes our sound pretty unique. We're into everything, from soul, funk and hip-hop to classic rock and country.

Crystal: With songwriting, either Mani comes up with a guitar riff or I come up with a vocal line/lyric, and we usually bang something out and then take it to Chris.

Mani: Where he completely destroys it.


RO: Is there any truth to the rumor that the W that used to be in your name (Yellow) was killed in a horrific motorcycle accident? That's terrible to hear. I'm sorry for your alphabetical loss.

Crystal: No comment.

Mani: We drowned it.


RO: We think the most interesting song (for us, anyway) that you guys have is "Complicated Instigator." Can you talk a bit about that? How it came to be, who wrote it, things like that.

C: We all had a part in writing the song. Originally, Mani came up with the guitar part. He had intended it to be more of a punk song.

Mani: Then Crystal put down a very jazzy/doo-wop vocal line that changed the entire dynamic.

Crystal: Finally, when Chris got his hands on it, it became much harder sounding and took it in a completely different direction. The moral of the story is that we have absolutely no fucking idea what we're doing when we're writing songs.


RO: If someone has never heard your music before, what's the one song you'd play for them to win them over? Why?

Crystal: "Mission for You" because it's a disco song!

Mani: Everyone needs a little disco in their pants. Especially with the passing of Donna Summer and Robin Gibb.

Crystal: DISCO IN THE PANTS!


RO: What will we see at a Yello Echo show that we wouldn't see anywhere else?

Yello Echo, "The Color Red."

Mani: Somehow we always end up with a mass of people dancing onstage. We really don't know where they come from.

Crystal: Yeah we do, you call them up there.

C: Asshole.

Crystal: It's a whole lot of hip-hop, funk, rock and soul, so it's not like you see that every day.

C: And Mani bows a guitar!


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38 comments
precision engineers
precision engineers

Now that you have it secured, use a marker or pencil to mark the areas that you want to cut using the concrete torch.

sassy-thesweet.
sassy-thesweet.

 GREATEST and most underrated band in Houston right now!  Their drumma is AMAZING!  It is a must to see them live, and check out their cd release on June 23. 

Lacey
Lacey

I love this band. I've seen them twice now and they are really good!

Noel Gallagher
Noel Gallagher

Yello Echo rocks, really looking forward to the album release.  Mani is the ultimate showman!

Wizkid
Wizkid

I put yellow echo's album in my car and had no desire to take it out for over two weeks. That's the highest compliment I can give to any artist.

Rogerscorpion
Rogerscorpion

I discovered Yello Echo @ 2011's 420  Festival.  They ROCKED! Love Crystal's voice. The Color Red is my fave song---so far. By the way, Shea---Barry Gibb was not mentioned anywhere, in the conversation. Robin Gibb was.

Piruz Nezami
Piruz Nezami

Cant wait for the album to come out. Right on. Go guys (and girl of course); you rull.

Ccatalina
Ccatalina

Yesss soo happy! Lead singer Crystal is phenomenal! Lotsa diff styles in a full set & love every one of their songs :)

Guest
Guest

This band is so awesome

Janet Copestake
Janet Copestake

A fabulous local group.  You should see them as soon as you get a chance.  I have seen them at The Mink, Last concert cafe and Notsuoh

junebug
junebug

the best local group I have seen in Houston

Flowergrannyjanet
Flowergrannyjanet

This is a fabulous group and if you like good music you should see them at the first opportunity.  The singer is particularly great

Crystal
Crystal

Oh and my name is "Toliver" w/ an E. I mean I'm not like pissed it anything, I'm just sayin..

Crystal
Crystal

Band o' the week eh? Next thing you know we'll be flavor of the month, then pick of the year, then bang! Hold on to your stylish pantaloons boys we're goin straight to the top!

Postman Pat's Cat.
Postman Pat's Cat.

I will.go to any yello echo show I possibly can. I will for sure be at the album release party. I cant wait to be able to listen to themin my car. Ill be driving to work jamming "hey little typical!!!" Woot woot!

Mic Skills
Mic Skills

"the way your hips swing..." is stuck in my head

lovelyleah07
lovelyleah07

I love this band, their music is awesome!!:)

Dr. Funnytickle
Dr. Funnytickle

I meant yello echo.. damn you auto-correct.. Respect the echo!

Walt
Walt

Respect the Yello!

RustyNail
RustyNail

An amazing live band. Their music makes me happy.

Kirby San
Kirby San

I wish they would visit austin and play at my living room

shadow bacon
shadow bacon

they are so hipster in a non-trending hipster kind of way; looooove

Tofufartsalot
Tofufartsalot

this comment is sooooo ryan gosling in raybans  :)

Mani
Mani

What the hell are you talking about? Ryan Gosling is NOT hipster. He was in the Notebook for fuck's sake!

Monkeycage82
Monkeycage82

their music is like a knife dressed with a hip pop hilt and a hipster blade cutting through rainbow butter with each color of the rainbow representing a genre that has influenced their personality

Ken_Stratford
Ken_Stratford

The ECHO rocks. Great sounds and thoughts. Great interview! I love those guys!

Mani
Mani

We goin platinum!

Valerie
Valerie

Well done! Can't wait for the album release!

Erika
Erika

Well, I know where I'll be at on June 23rd! ;) Great article of one of my favorite local bands. Happy you guys are getting the recognition you deserve.

Chris Bassett
Chris Bassett

Just a matter of time now...............HOPEFULLY.

Walt
Walt

This is awesome! I've seen Yello Echo live four times and the ROCK! It's great that they're finally getting the recognition they deserve!

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