“Yukon Blonde are one of Canada’s best kept secrets. Until now.
Vancouver’s acclaimed contribution to the world of enigmatic folk/country/indie-rock have amassed a loyal fan base in their home country, but their sun-drenched melodies (reminiscent of a far sunnier climate than from whence they sprung!) and lush harmonies have recently captured the attention of a much broader audience.
Most recently referenced on How I Met Your Mother as a quintessentially Canadian band, Yukon Blonde have clocked up monster tour mileage in the past year and a half, including festivals such as SXSW, CMJ, NXNE, CMW & Popkomm in Berlin.
It is only fitting then, that Yukon Blonde finally make their way to Australia for their debut tour this summer. The Kelowna quartet will play at Peats Ridge Festival in NSW, see in the New Year with Brissie crowds at No Years Festival, and then head down to Melbourne and Sydney for some intimate sideshows.
The anticipation preceding Yukon Blonde’s newest EP Fire//Water is considerable in the wake of their previous long player receiving nominations for both the WCMA and Polaris music prizes. Produced by Colin Stewart (Black Mountain, Ladyhawk), the EP is now available internationally via iTunes.
Yukon Blonde will soon be putting the finishing touches on a fresh new album set for release in early 2012. Don’t miss your opportunity to catch Yukon Blonde this summer before the masses catch on!”
Check out our interview below with lead singer Jeffrey Innes.
Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to do this interview! First things first, Yukon Blonde may not yet be familiar to a bunch of our readers, so let’s start with the basics first, when did the band first get together and what was the background to choosing Yukon Blonde as your band name?
Graham, Brandon and myself used to play in a group called AlphaBaby that started about six years ago. We were all part of bands around our hometown of Kelowna that weren’t very good, so after we had met and became friends, we decided to start a project that produced something other that the novelty of distorted everything., Our band got kind of stale after a few years of touring relentlessly and we found we were no longer playing the music we liked, we were basically dead in the water but trying to keep afloat. So we disbanded and started something we’d all enjoy musically. It was our ex-bassists boss that coined the term “Yukon Blonde”. It means “grey hair”, but it can also mean anything you want. We liked it only because it sounded cool.
In your own words, how would you describe the music of Yukon Blonde?
I think we’re fun sometimes.
Can you introduce each member of the band and give us a rock ‘n’ roll fact or myth about each?
Alright! Graham: He’s the drummer of our band, but did you know that he played the alien in ET? True story. Afterwards he became Toby McGuire for a few years but got tired of the Spider-man gig. That’s why the don’t make those movies anymore., Brandon: Plays guitar in our band sometimes, but he used to have the job of Waldo in the Where’s Waldo books. He got into music in the 90’s under a different monkier: Weird Al., John: Our newish bassist, but you’ve probably seen him playing guitar for Aerosmith. He used to go by Joe Perry., Jeff: I sing in the band and play guitar but I used to sing for White Zombie. I left that band to briefly play backup guitar for the Moffats.
In a few weeks you are headed to Australia for your first tour here. Whilst you have toured extensively this year and no doubt spent plenty of time in a van…how do you think you will handle the 15 or so hour flight out to Australia haha?
I hate airplanes. I imagine if I get through this flight, I’ll probably just stay in Australia.
What are your expectations of your visit to Australia, have you been conscious of a reasonable following for the band, or is it a journey into the unknown so to speak?
We’re really excited to play Australia. I expect to surf, make friends with a Kangaroo, meet a Koala, eat a Kangaroo while out for dinner with my new Koala friend, find the baby eating dingo’s and ask them where the babies are at- you know, what most of you guys do. Oh yeah, and then move to Canada and take up snowboarding. “Australia” is one of my favourite Kinks songs as well.
You have twenty seconds in an elevator to try and convince someone to listen to your recent EP “FIRE/WATER”, without resorting to threats or violence, what do you tell them?
Is persuading by sexy permitted?
Prior to the FIRE/WATER EP, you have also released another EP and full length album…have you been working towards releasing another full length album in 2012?
Yes! It’ll be out in the spring.
You have just released your video clip for “Water” which certainly looked like hot thirsty work to make, can you share what you were aiming for as far as the concept for this video?
It’s actually a mini-documentary, the song came after. We got stranded in the desert a few days ago and Graham died, and I almost died of dehydration. It was such a long day. Anyways, at least the film crew we had with us captured our hallucinations well.
What or who inspires and influences your music the most, in both a lyrical and musical sense?
I love the Kinks but really, we listen to everything from all over the world. Some of our newer songs were inspired by afro-cuban music, and some were influenced by late 70’s and early eighties punk. We love all music and play whatever we want.
In terms of your song writing, what do you consider to be the most important things that need to feature in a Yukon Blonde song?
Melody, melody and melody. If you don’t have that, nothing else makes sense.
If you were a person in the crowd at one of your gigs, what five words would you walk away using to describe the performance you just witnessed?
Fat, lazy, self-deprecating, amazing, and “best show of my life”.
As far as the style of rock that Yukon Blonde plays, what’s happening over in Canada at the moment – is there a thriving scene of similar styled bands that you guys might call your peers, or do the echo’s of Nickleback and Simple Plan still reign supreme?
Oh, come on! Arcade Fire is killing it right now. Other than that, there’s tons of amazing bands in Canada that we’ve had the pleasure of playing with such as: Young Rival, Hannah Georgas, Black Mountain, Ladyhawk, Library Voices, The Wooden Sky, The Great Bloomers, City and Colour, Timber Timbre, Dan Mangan… there’s so many I could go on forever.
Here’s a chance to gaze into your crystal ball. In the next 6 months Yukon Blonde will have:
1. A huge Australian fan base so we never have to leave.
2. A billion dollars.
3. Crazy awesome surf skills.
Sounds like: Folk, indie rock
Band members: Graham Jones, Jeffrey Innes, Brandon Scott and John Jeffrey with friends.
Latest release: Fire & Water EP (September 2011)
Dec 29-30 – Peats Ridge Festival
Dec 31 – No Years festival – Brisbane
Jan 3 – Northcote Social Club – Melbourne
Jan 5 – FBi social – Sydney