Davey Pierce comes to Israel for the first time with both his bands – Of Montreal and Yip Deceiver.

Of Montreal and Yip Deceiver 370 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Of Montreal and Yip Deceiver 370
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The good thing about being your own opening act is that you don’t have to worry about getting upstaged. But that’s not the impetus that attracted Davey Pierce and Nicholas Dobbratz, the bassist and multi-instrumentalist, respectively, for acclaimed American indie band Of Montreal, to form their own musical project, Yip Deceiver.
“I just fell in love with synthesizers and sequencers,” said Pierce last week in London, on the road with both Yip Deceiver and Of Montreal, as part of a tour that will see them arrive in Tel Aviv on May 7 for a show at the Barby Club. The rhythmic electro-pop excursions of Yip Deceiver may not sound like Of Montreal, but they aren’t that far removed thematically from that sprawling Athens, Georgia, unit.
Orchestrated by charismatic and eccentric frontman Kevin Barnes, Of Montreal’s working method since 1996 has been that anything goes. Over nearly a dozen and a half albums – including last year’s much-praised Paralytic Stalks – Barnes has led Of Montreal – which also features his wife Nina and his brother David – through diverse musical avenues ranging from Beatley psychedelia, Prince-inspired funk and Bowie glam to vaudeville and afro beats. While the band may not be a household name, most households in the US have probably heard their music, which has often been licensed for TV commercials (“Every Day Feels Like Sunday” by NASDAQ; “A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger” by Comcast; and “Gronlandic Edit” by TMobile).
In addition, their 2010 album False Priest – produced by hit maker Jon Brion – offered a more accessible, organic sound than some of their previous more experimental work.
For Pierce, who joined the band in 2007, Of Montreal provides him with a challenging task – to help the everambitious Barnes actualize onstage the complex music he makes in the studio.
“On the records, Kevin is doing everything – they’re his songs. But as far as the live show goes, it’s pretty collaborative,” said Pierce. “We try to keep it as close as possible to the album as we can, but there are a lot of layers there and tons of instruments that we can’t reproduce onstage. So that’s where the collaborative effort comes in, rewriting and arranging things a little to make them more cohesive within what an eight-piece band can produce.”
Pierce also makes his presence felt on the visual side of the theatrical band, designing props and costumes for the False Priest tour, a process that saw him learning how to weld and cut fiberglass.
“I always wanted to learn how to weld, so I went out and did it. That stuff is fun for me,” he said.
And so is performing with Yip Deceiver, where Pierce, a Florida native, can shed the support role he plays in Of Montreal and take center stage to go wild on his portable keyboard. Yip Deceiver’s experimental dance pop provides strong hooks and a playful combination of 1980s new wave and electro.
For the veteran of innumerable punky sloppy, guitar-based bands over the last 20 years, Pierce’s transition to electronica has been a refreshing one.
“This new avenue I’ve been going down has been really enjoyable. I get to go out in front and jump around on stage and do whatever I want and not be tethered by that guitar cord,” he said.
Pierce is quick to point out that Yip Deceiver, which has released a self-titled EP, is a completely separate entity from Of Montreal, adding that it’s imperative for him that the band is not labeled as a side project.
However, sometimes circumstances – like a European tour – enable Pierce to fuel both his outlets at the same time.
“Actually, we don’t usually open for Of Montreal – it’s a totally different situation and a different band,” he said. “But since we’re both in Europe now, it works out fine. Yip Deceiver is staying on for another three weeks after the Of Montreal tour ends. Our goal is to tour constantly, and being in two bands certainly helps.”
It also doubles the laundry bill, as not only in an effort to keep band identities separate but also as a basic hygienic measure, Pierce and Dobbratz change clothes between Yip Deceiver’s and Of Montreal’s sets.
“We tend to sweat a lot, so to go out and sweat again in the same clothes is just disgusting,” he laughed.
One thing Pierce isn’t laughing about, though, is making his first trip to Israel, an eventuality that finds him anticipatory, but in a good way.
“We’re all so excited about it, with absolutely no apprehensions, just positive thoughts. I’m trying to keep my expectations open. Our sound man has been to Israel a couple times with Why, and he keeps telling us how amazing it is. I have to keep telling him to stop - ‘Don’t tell me anything!’ – I want to experience it for myself.”
The same could probably be said for seeing Of Montreal and Yip Deceiver - you should experience them for yourself.