Alex Baumann chuckled recalling his initial gig at Gabe’s in Iowa City two years ago.
“There were five people there,” he said. “It was still cool. That’s what happens sometimes. We weren’t around that long and when you step out and there’s a handful of people, you still play like you’re before a big crowd. I love to play in front of any audience, big or small. Telekinetic Yeti only started in 2015. It’s all good.”
The laid-back vocalist-guitarist formed his stoner/metal act in Dubuque with his childhood friend, drummer Anthony Dreyer, who recently left the band. Matt Ajishegiri is the interim drummer.
“I grew up loving classic rock,” Baumann said by phone from a tour stop in Boise, Idaho. “I always loved the heavy and the raw. When I was 7 years old, my dad played me Iron Butterfly and I loved it. I was really into that song (‘In a Gadda da Vida’). I thought it was the coolest song. I remember learning Led Zeppelin songs as a kid, like ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ I went from that to the stoner rock thing. I love it.”
Courtesy of its video of “Stoned and Feathered,” which has more than 150,000 views, the sludge rockers have taken off.
“There was so much buzz after the video came out,” Baumann said. “The buzz was there before the album came out. We had great reviews. People listened to our album because of the ‘Stoned and Feathered’ clip.”
The visceral track is the highlight of the ACT’s debut album, “Abominable.” The release contains big riffs. It’s surprising that only two musicians are required to deliver Telekinetic Yeti’s massive sonic attack.
“We hear that a lot,” Baumann said. “We’re all for a big sound. I knew that we could achieve a big sound with just two people. The decision to be a two-piece was decided at the start. I’ve been in a number of bands and it’s difficult to rely on people. If you’re in a band with just two people, that makes it easier. It also makes it easy when it comes to making decisions. Life is a lot easier when you’re just a two-piece. It makes it easier writing and touring. It’s worked out so far.”
The moniker Telekinetic Yeti stands out almost as much as the tandem’s brawny music.
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“When I was thinking of a name, yeti jumped out at me,” Baumann said. “I was thinking about something big and hairy. I think it goes along with the music.”
Telekinetic Yeti will start working on its next album shortly after the new year.
“I want to create something fresh that doesn’t sound like anything out there,” Baumann said. “I want the next album to be big and thunderous. I want to write music that will keep me entertained.”
When Telekinetic Yeti returns Friday to Gabe’s, Baumann is looking forward to playing to a bigger crowd than the last time.
“More people know about us,” he said. “That’s the power of the video for ‘Stoned and Feathered’ and YouTube. That video was totally DIY and cheap ($600). It helped put us on the map. Hopefully people come out and support a band from Iowa.”
WHAT: Telekinetic Yeti, co-headline with Stinking Lizaveta; with openers Commander and Acoustic Guillotine
WHERE: Gabe’s, 330 E. Washington St. Iowa City
WHEN: 9 p.m. Friday (12/14)
TICKETS: $10 advance, $15 show day; Icgabes.com