You need good hangs when you’re playing a zillion shows
MUSIC by Sonia Stanger
Vancouver-based indie pop outfit Yukon Blonde don’t do anything half-assed. When they go on hiatus, they go on serious hiatus. And when they release a new album, like their third full-length On Blonde? They hit the road and hit it hard.
On Blonde came out last June, and Yukon Blonde haven’t really stopped moving since. The band’s hit the summer festival circuit, toured Australia, and done a marathon fall tour of North America with Newfoundland’s Hey Rosetta! They also fit in a quick jaunt to Europe and the UK in December.
It’s probably worth noting at this point that “Confused”, a song from that latest album, was featured on Grey’s Anatomy in October. No big deal.
This month, Yukon Blonde will launch their first headline tour of Canada since their last major release, 2012’s Tiger Talk. Crossing from Vancouver to St. John’s at breakneck speed — they’re playing 22 shows in 31 days — the band seems intent on maintaining their momentum.
The Big Break
A lot has changed since the release of Tiger Talk, and it shows. After that tour, the band went on a break (in fact, that break was long enough to make fans worry that Yukon Blonde was gone, gone, gone). But as it turns out, the time apart was just what everyone needed to come back stronger than ever.
During the time off, all four members worked on side projects.
“When you play in a band for so many years, you get these things you want to do with your life, but you can’t because you’re always touring,” says guitarist and vocalist Brandon Wolfe Scott. “It felt good to do these separate things from the band.”
Those things included working on his solo EP, The Postcard Writer, which came out last month. Frontman Jeffrey Innes also produced a solo album, Super Class, under the moniker High Ends.
The electronic elements of that album “sparked a whole new interest” as Yukon Blonde returned to the studio, says Scott. “It re-energized things.”
That energy shines through in every song on the album.
On Blonde is a departure from the band’s lower-key folk aesthetic. The album steers into decidedly ’80s glam-jam/new-wave territory, dripping with synths, keys and fuzzy guitars. Innes has said that it’s their best record so far, and Scott agrees. He says there was very little rehearsal time before recording, so playing the new songs live has been a fun relearning process.
But 22 shows in 31 days. Is he was worried about burnout returning? Nope. “We know how to take time away,” says Scott. “We know what makes each other tick and we know how to give each other space.”
“It’s a family event, really. It’s a marriage,” he says. “I spend more time with them than I do with my girlfriend.”
Luckily, given that they spend so much time together, Yukon Blonde also knows how to have fun. This time around, they’re joined by Minneapolis’s ON AN ON, whom Scott says the band is looking forward to getting to know.
“Having an opening band where you can really bond is our biggest thing,” he said. “We love a good hang.”