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    Loquat Biography

    Kylee Swenson and Earl Otsuka met in 1996 and began writing music together under the name of an exotic fruit; Loquat. Five years later Anthony Gordon came along and asked the duo “Why aren’t you playing live?” To which Otsuka and Swenson just shrugged their shoulders and went back to their guitars. Gordon then recruited childhood buddy, drummer Christopher Lautz, and original Loquat keyboardist (now Loquat photographer and fellow eating club member) Ben Kasman to whip the gang into shape. After Kasman left, Ryan Manley entered the fray, and the happy quintet now makes stunningly gorgeous pop music while trying -- often unsuccessfully -- to drink in moderation.

    Kylee Swenson (guitar/vocals)
    Now the Editor of the production and performance magazine, Remix, Kylee Swenson’s earliest attempts at mixing and mastering involved herself, her saxophone, and the dual cassette player on her boom box at age 10. There wasn’t a whole lot to do in Orono, Minnesota, so she also entertained herself in the winter by building snow forts and playing king of the mountain on the giant snowdrifts. But the cold got to her, and she moved to Santa Clara, California; chucked her sax; and started playing guitar in her first band -- the horribly named Solar Slurpee, later renamed Bunkbed -- with her late, great friend Keith Krate. (“It’s Yours to Keep,” both the song and the album, is dedicated to Krate). The band played its first-ever live show opening for Starship (as in Jefferson Starship). It sucked. Not long after, Swenson moved to San Francisco and met her cat Scuzzlebutt (SCSI for short). Around the same time, she met Otsuka, and Loquat was born.

    Earl Otsuka (guitar)
    Growing up in the Bay Area, Earl Otsuka began his love of music at the age of five. Then a violinist, he was introduced to the instrument through the popular Suzuki method -- along with his two sisters and brother, who were all forced to practice every damn morning at 6am. At age 11, while experimenting with his mother’s acoustic guitar, he figured out that if he placed his father’s turntable needle on his mother’s guitar (get your head out of the gutter, sicko), it would amplify the sound. It wasn’t but one Christmas later that Otsuka received his first guitar -- a Fender Bullet guitar and Fender Champ amp. Many bands later, in ’96, Otsuka met Swenson, and they have been fighting ever since. Otsuka is also a graphic designer at Digidesign, the company that makes Pro Tools, the software Loquat recorded its music on.

    Anthony Gordon (bass)
    Anthony Gordon, much like his band-mate Otsuka, began playing music at the young age of five studying the Suzuki method of violin. After moving to a new school with no orchestra at age 13, he and another transfer student had to flip a coin to decide who would get first choice to play one of the two available instruments in the school band: the saxophone or the electric bass. After losing the coin toss, a vintage '60s Fender bass was thrust into his hands; and Gordon’s 15-year love affair with the bass began. Gordon has played in everything from britpop bands in San Francisco to country bands in Scotland, but found his true calling when he joined Loquat in 2001. He is also a champion drinker. Challenge him, you’ll lose.

    Christopher Lautz (drums/vocals)
    Christopher Lautz grew up in the SF Bay Area and was inspired to learn drums at age 10 by Van Halen. After thousands of headphoned hours spent playing along to “Hot For Teacher,” it was time to form his own band. In high school, he met future Loquat bassist Anthony Gordon and they started a punk/funk band called Someone’s Children. This would be one of many bands the two would play in together over the years. Lautz then enrolled in and dropped out of college. During this time he gave up the drums and learned guitar. He fronted a few bands, which included members of Death Cab for Cutie and The Jim Yoshii Pile Up, until Gordon called and told him Loquat needed a drummer. The two friends were reunited once more. Lautz also plays drums in the Oakland rock/pop band Truxton, enjoys Fernet, red heads, furniture designed in the ’50s.

    Ryan Manley (keyboards)
    Ryan Manley began studying classical piano at age six in the backwoods of Little Rock, AR (Manley is also trained in classical violin and classical, blues, and jazz trumpet). He later moved to San Francisco where the Bay Area’s electronic music scene had a significant influence on Manley’s classical training. After playing in several now-defunct SF bands, Manley joined Loquat in 2002. By combining electronic and classical keyboard elements, Manley adds a complementary blend of melody and texture to Loquat’s music. He is best known in the band for his smart-ass comments, which, although sometimes humorous only to Manley himself, are never in short supply.

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