Young at heart

Teen Creature

Feelin’ squirrely: Ian Yount of Teen Creature.

Feelin’ squirrely: Ian Yount of Teen Creature.

Photo By Brad Bynum

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Where did the band name Teen Creature come from?

“It came from my mind,” says Ian James Yount, with a laugh. “No, it’s just how I feel, how I see myself … even though I’m a middle-aged man.”

Though Yount’s 34 years seem a bit short of qualifying for middle age, his point remains: his teen years were half his life ago. But the feelings of youth, alienation and inhumanity that often accompany the teen years can stay with some of us for lifetimes.

Yount might be familiar to many local music lovers. As DJ Bat Brains, he plays records at bars around town; he plays guitar in the epic, heavy band Yesir; and he’s a manager at Recycled Records, Reno’s iconic used record store.(The EP, which features artwork by Omar Pierce, is on sale there on a donation basis.)

Teen Creature is the name of his solo music project. He recently released a limited edition CD EP of five original songs on which he played everything: All the guitars, bass, drums, vocals, and even the occasional keyboard part. It was recorded in the basement of his Reno home over the course of three years.

Yount describes the music as “garage death rock.” The recording has an intentionally murky quality, with lots of distortion, reverb and tremolo on the guitars, and the vocals buried in grit, the lyrics barely decipherable.

“I wanted there to be some mystery to it somehow,” he says, adding that part of the appeal of mystery, for him, is that he’s shy. And the music has some of that classic, introverted, basement-dwelling, never-come-out-during-the-daytime feeling of great goth music.

“I like things to be moody,” says Yount. “I don’t know why.”

He started the project when he was between bands, but decided to keep it going even after joining Yesir because it offered a different kind of creative outlet than his DJing or other band.

“I wanted to have something that wouldn’t break up unless I died,” he says (though it is possible to develop serious creative differences with oneself). Since he released the EP a few weeks ago, Yount says he’s had musicians from some of Reno’s best bands approach him offering to help realize the songs in front of a live audience, something he’d like to do soon.

He recorded the songs one at a time, not starting one until the recoding of the previous song was complete. “Breeding a Dead Horse”—which should win some kind of award for Best Song Title—took him five months to finish. The finished product sounds worth that time, especially the extended keyboard drone coda that sounds like great guitar feedback, but Yount says it was an exhausting process. But he stuck to his rule and refused to start another song until it was finished.

“If I didn’t finish it, I might not ever finish it,” he says. “I had a bad habit when I was a kid of starting things and not finishing them. I’d join the football team and quit a week later.”

He says that one of the big musical influences on the record was old-school surf rock: The Ventures, Dick Dale and Link Wray. And it’s great to hear the tremolo and reverb sonic palette of surf rock used to craft introverted music. And if the music conjures the mental image of a pale, scrawny goth kid, black hair and black nails, more creature than feature, riding a surfboard, so much the better.