Spectacular, captivating and staggering are three fan words often heard describing the psychedelic noh wave Canadian band Yamantaka // Sonic Titan.
Noh, a centuries-old form of Japanese musical drama with masked characters, only partially describes the music of Yamantaka // Sonic Titan.
Their sound is very similar to progressive alternative rock but cannot be categorized simply into one genre.
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan began as an art collective, said core band member Alaska B.
“We made a lot of music that kind of ended up eclipsing a lot of our other work,” she said.
Previous Humber College student Brendan Swanson, keyboardist for the band, said he grew up with Alaska B. and began helping the band with vocal recordings.
“The next thing you know I’m helping write songs and recording keyboard,” Swanson said.
The band thrives off the spectacle they bring to all their performances. Yamantaka // Sonic Titan wears costumes with eye-catching fashions and make-up that separates them from the norm.
“Why would we want to be boring?” Alaska B asks.
“We are enamored with the spectacle. So when we are performing we want to make a scene,” she said.
Swanson said the preparation is what truly fascinates him.
“The creative process is much more engaging than the delivery,” he said. “I find myself encouraged to write more. My own experiences shape the music.”
Fascinating costumes and whimsical make up are not the only elements the band brings to the table. Their creative process is also inspired by a number of social issues, said Alaska B.
“Political urgency, issues of identity, pushing against expectations, imposed boundaries, and being weird” are a few elements that motivate their music, said Alaska B.
“Humanity as a species is fascinating, but we don’t really appropriate or take influence from ‘ethnicities’ but rather our own diverse backgrounds as a group,” Alaska B. said.
Currently Yamantaka // Sonic Titan is “busy getting ready to tour,” Alaska B. said.
“They’re getting ready for SXSW,” said band manager Shaun Bronstein, who has been working with the band for two years.
The annual SXSW (South By Southwest) festival is a music and film interactive event held in Austin, Texas.
“I love their music, their aesthetic and I think they’re brilliant composers,” Bronstein said.
He believes managing artists requires a “belief in the project and the people involved.” “They’re wonderful people so it makes working with them that much easier,” Bronstein said.
“It makes my work a pleasure to do and keeps me excited about the prospect of proliferating their music for more people to hear,” he said.