Highlighting the best of touring, recording and growing up with Yukon Blonde

By in Culture

Few bands in the Canadian indie scene have put in the work like Yukon Blonde has. Between extensive touring and working to release a new record, Yukon Blonde continues to make waves.

In the band’s quest to bring their synthy, glam-charged sound to the forefront of the CanCon scene, the core team — Jeff Innes, vocals and guitar, Brandon Scott, guitar and vocals, and Graham Jones, drums and vocals — has recently brought in James Younger, bass and vocals, and Rebecca Gray, keys and vocals.

Yukon Blonde has been playing together for nearly 10 years.

The Vancouver-based rockers have toured extensively in their near ten-year stint as Yukon Blonde, and they are now on tour again, supporting the Rural Alberta Advantage, as part of a near cross-continental tour.

The Sheaf caught up with Brandon Scott — a founding member of Yukon Blonde — to talk about the tour and the band’s upcoming album. For Scott, the differences between touring in Canada and in the U.S. are like night and day.

“We have Canadian radio — our team is based in Canada — everything is Canadian, so obviously, Canada is a little more intense, fan-wise. In the States, we have to work a little harder — it’s kind of like starting over,” Scott said. “America is a really crazy country but really accepting at the end of the shows.”

Despite these somewhat disheartening differences, Scott saw a silver lining to touring the States — the band could play a number of new tunes without disappointing fans who expect their hits.

Scott let on that this new material will be featured on Yukon Blonde’s upcoming album — the first full-length release since On Blonde in 2015. He disclosed that Thomas D’Arcy of Taurus Recording is producing the album. D’Arcy has worked with the likes of Arkells, July Talk and the Sheepdogs. This is a first, of sorts, for the band, as they have done the majority of the production on their previous albums themselves.

When asked about the specifics of Yukon Blonde’s forthcoming record, Scott was playfully reticent, declining to give the title of the album or a hard release date.

“I’ve got no answers for those questions. We’ve got a list of names. You want [the album’s name] to be good, so we’re being patient with it, but I won’t say anything yet,” Scott said. “As for a release, we’re hoping for a release early next year, because it would be nice to start touring.”

Though initially cryptic and secretive about the new album, Scott revealed that it will be more somber in tone than what fans have come to expect from a Yukon Blonde record.

“It’s definitely our most mature record — it’s quite heavy, emotionally, which is a little different for us. I think we approached it, initially, as a dance record, but Jeff brought some upbeat songs in the beginning that didn’t make the cut,” Scott said. “I don’t want to call it a breakup record — but [Jeff] brought a lot of emotional depth to it.”

Ultimately, Scott said the album’s change in direction signals a more honed trajectory for the band.

“We’re in our early thirties — we’re not in our twenties, just trying to be rock stars now. After we travelled to all these places, we kind of finished the goal that we had when we started the band. Now, I think we really just want to record,” Scott said.

After nearly 10 years since the band first started, Scott states that Yukon Blonde has found where they want to be in the Canadian music scene.

“We’ve been learning as much as we can over the years, and I think we’re getting close. I think we just want to continue to make really good music that people would hopefully like, but also, that we really enjoy.”

Yukon Blonde will be playing with the Rural Alberta Advantage at O’Brians Event Centre on Dec. 1. Doors open at 7 p.m., and tickets are $25 on the O’Brians Event Centre website.

Tanner Bayne / Culture Editor

Photo: Vanessa Heins / Supplied