Producer Christopher Willits — who crafts positive, beautiful, relaxing electronic music — brings his one-man band of guitar, vocals and electronics to the Independent on Friday.
The leading figure in San Francisco electronic music, opening for Tycho on Friday, will debut a new audio-video show featuring exotic, gorgeous vistas that he shot in HD and Super 8. He live-edits the video material while simultaneously layering guitar, vocals and effects.
The dreamy, surreal show offers a visual first look at Willits’ third album, which he hopes to release this year.
“I feel like the live show is more dialed in than it’s ever been,” he says. “I’m really excited to show it.”
As he shoots on long hikes in places like Thailand, Willits searches for “beautiful spots on earth — things that represent a lot of the images and places I hear and see as I’m creating my music.”
The Kansas City native came to the Bay Area in 2000 on a painting scholarship, but ended up getting a master’s degree in electronic music at Mills College. Along the way, he advanced his skills in photography, cinematography and new media.
The Bernal Heights resident and Ghostly International artist’s releases include the 2006 album “Surf Boundaries” and 2010 album “Tiger Flower Circle Sun.” His 2012 collaboration with legendary pianist-composer Ryuichi Sakamoto yielded the cerebral, sleepy ambient jazz release “Ancient Future.”
After 12 years in The City, Willits says San Francisco is home.
“I feel like San Francisco accepts you in the first couple of years or it’ll kick you out because it’s kind of expensive. I feel lucky. The vibe of what I want to do and create and love — all that’s been just reciprocal in the community I found here.”
The multimedia artist just released a successful line of museum-quality archival photo prints: minimalist beach landscapes that bridge Willits’ sound and video work. His art collective, Overlap, is also supporting releases and events in 2013.
“I feel really sort of blessed. Things are flowing. I feel like there’s a new scene that is emerging in San Francisco. It’s positive, it’s beautiful and it’s about the sound and the lights,” he says. “It’s attentive. It’s listening music, but it’s also accessible. It’s not something that’s trying to just be eccentric for the sake of being eccentric.”