Yukon Blonde

On Blonde

June 16, 2015

Dine Alone

Yukon Blonde’s third album, On Blonde is the product of an intense period and personal escapism for the band. “These songs weren’t initially created with an album in mind,” explains frontman Jeffrey Innes. “Initially I was just started fooling around with drum machines and synthesizers recording demos in Abelton. There was no defined end point, I didn’t know if there’d be another Yukon Blonde record.”

Sure, in the past the group had pushed out two albums of energetic indie pop music, along with a handful of EPs, but constant touring, and compromises on their collective vision for the band had left them exhausted. “I think we were all unsure as to the direction we were heading in, and coupled with living out of suitcases, and sweating it out in an Econoline for years,” he continues. “We needed a moment…a moment out to figure it out.”

But the band (which currently also features the talents of Graham Jones, Brandon Scott, James Younger and girl name) prefers not to focus on the dark times. Their renaissance, says frontman Jeffrey Innes, started with a group vacation.

“Gram our drummer was in Toronto, we were going to go out there and meet with him,” he recalls. “But it was going to cost so much to fly from Vancouver to Toronto. So we actually found really cheap all-inclusive resort packages in Mexico. So we flew down to Mexico. That was the first time we had hung out in forever and we were in the Caribbean! It was so awesome. In retrospect, we would have probably had meetings in a coffee shop or something like that. It would have been this weird environment. Instead we were stuck together. We just hashed it out. It was awesome. After that things started rolling again.”
What they discovered was that, yes, it is still fun to make music. Bolstered by the success of his solo project Highends, which was recorded on a limited budget, Innes orchestrated everyone-in recording sessions, where the entire band took over local recording studio The Hive, capturing songs on a 24 track analogue board once used by Studio 54 Disco Band. Band members would switch between instruments, often throwing out full song demos in favor of writing on the fly.

“I feel like Tiger Talk was standing on the outside, staring in,” says Innes. “This record, you’re in whatever’s happening. When you listen to it, it feels like a real record. I feel like our other record was just us playing some songs. This feels like there’s care put into everything.”

Produced by Colin Stewart (Black Mountain, Dan Mangan, Sleepy Sun) and mixed by Tony Hoffer (M83, Beck, Foster the People, Air, Depeche Mode), On Blonde (the title, a nod to Bob Dylan), is an exercise in pop pleasures ranging from spiky guitar-driven tracks (often recorded with a Dinosaur Jr. flare for the dramatic), to Depeche Mode-dark synth songs (“Starvation”), and irrepressible sing-alongs (lead single, “Saturday Night”). There’s even a wistful synth track called “Como,” complete with Beach Boy-lite harmonies, inspired by the HBO series Girls. (A fact that Innes reveals in bashful tones.)
“On Blonde is more dynamic, more visceral than our previous records, we were more ambitious, it’s sort of ironic that in experimenting we created a more accessible record than ever before, however this time it feels like there is a lot more to explore,” says Innes.

Analogue synthesizers, modulating Moog saw tooth leads, and FM soft pads, create an atmosphere akin to city street summer midnight meanderings. The album’s tone (which Innes likens to “a summer night”) is a nod to the eclectic nature of the band’s Brit pop heroes and their willingness to reinvent their style from track to track. But more recently, says Innes, their marriage of psychedelic, digital and synthetic sounds has become an unintentional symbol of Yukon Blonde’s own creative freedom.
“Whatever we’re thinking and talking about in between us and whatever we can agree on as a band, I feel like it’s the right thing, that gives me confidence and optimism,” he says. “I really encourage anybody who’s doing music or anything with their lives to do whatever they want. If you’re passionate about it you’re probably right.”

 

YUKON BLONDE CANADIAN + INTERNATIONAL TOUR DATES

Aug 21 – Golden, BC @ Golden Sound Fest

Aug 22 – Oliver, BC @ Tinhorn Creek Winery

Sept 8 – Sydney, Australia @ Newtown Social Club

Sept 9 – Brisbane, Australia @ Big Sound Festival

Sept 10 – Melbourne, Australia @ Shebeen

Sept 16 – Charlottetown, PEI @ Prince Edward Island Brewing Company 

Sept 17 – Moncton, NB @ Tide and Boar

Sept 19 – Fredericton, NB @ Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival 

Sept 21  – St. John’s, NL @ Rock House

Sept 26 – Hamburg, DE @ Reeperbahn Festival

Sept 27 – Utrecht, Holland @ Ekko w/ The Wooden Sky

Sept 28 – London, UK @ Birthdays w/ The Wooden Sky

Oct 02 – Vankleek Hill, ON @ Beau’s Oktoberfest

 

YUKON BLONDE NORTH AMERICAN FALL TOUR W/ HEY ROSETTA!

Nov 01 – Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour

Nov 02 – San Francisco, CA @ Brick & Mortar

Nov 04 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile

Nov 06 – Vancouver, BC @ The Vogue

Nov 07 – Victoria, BC @ McPherson Playhouse

Nov 09 – Edmonton, AB @ Winspear

Nov 10 – Calgary, AB @ Jack Singer

Nov 11 – Saskatoon, SK @ The Broadway Theatre

Nov 12 – Winnipeg, MB @ Garrick Centre

Nov 15 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall

Nov 16 – London, ON @ London Music Hall

Nov 17 – Kitchener, ON @ Centre In The Square

Nov 19 – Kingston, ON @ The Grand Theatre

Nov 20 – Toronto, ON @ Massey Hall

Nov 21 – Montreal, QC @ Corona Theatre

Nov 25 – Saint John, NB @ The Kent Theatre

Nov 27 – Halifax, NS @ Rebecca Cohn Auditorium

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