Before their show last Thursday at The Great Hall during Canadian Music Week, Torontette had the great opportunity to sit down with Jeff Innes and Graham Jones of Vancouver-based band, Yukon Blonde. Last year was a huge one for them, being named one of the 10 Canadian bands to break in 2010 by the CBC and being designated at the best band of 2010 Canadian Music Week in 2010 – among other worthy accolades.
Torontette: How did Yukon Blonde come to be?
Jeff Innes: Originally Graham and I went to school together and I used to play guitar a lot. I had a film class where I did a couple soundtracks and Graham was friends with the person that I did the soundtracks for and we met through that. Graham had a band at the time, so I started watching them play and I really wanted Graham to play drums with me and eventually he left that band and we started this band. We found Brandon our guitar player working in a shitty retail job and he had another band in town at the same time that we used to go and watch. And you know, he just looked the part so we stole him from his band. To begin with, we were a band called Alphababy for about three years and then some shit got all messed up and we decided to make a new band. So we disbanded and re-formed as Yukon Blonde, moved to Vancouver and here we are.
T: Tell me about the difference in essence between Alphababy and Yukon Blonde, if there is any.
JI: Vibes. The sound. Alphababy was pretty jammy. Pretty dark.
Graham Jones: And a little more progressive I guess.
JI: And with Yukon Blonde we just wanted to make a good, fun, rock and roll band. The first Yukon Blonde song was called ‘Babies Don’t Like Blue Anymore’. So that’s how we started. We wanted to make good pop music.
T: What’s the Vancouver music scene like?
JI: It’s crazy, and it’s all over the place, in a good way. And it’s getting recently better. It’s been good to us. We have a lot of friends out there. Our friends Said the Whale, they’re there, our new friends Sun Wizard, who are excellent, are there. It’s pretty eclectic. It’s pretty rootsy I’d say. It’s got that pacific northwest rootsy sound all over it. You can’t really escape it out there, that’s just what it is.
T: What’s your favourite festival that you’ve played to date?
GJ: Tough to say but I’d have to say Hillside.
T: I’m from Guelph so I love that answer!
JI: I’ve heard that a considerable amount of the volunteers were conceived at the festival. I’m not even kidding.
T: Well Guelph is known to be quite the hippy town.
JI: When we were there, it was such a cool atmosphere. It’s just one of those festivals. You know you’ve done a festival right when you’re at the festival and you feel like you’ve been there forever. You’re there and you feel like you’re surrounded by everything you want to be surrounded by. And that’s kind of how I felt.
T: If you could tour with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
JI: I would say Bowie or Plastic Ono Band.
GJ: Or The Flaming Lips.
JI: Yeah that’d be awesome. Maybe if we keep saying that for every interview, it’ll finally happen. We stalked them for a bit (laughs). We went and saw them live and I met Wayne Coyne and we talked a bit, it was cool. And then we dropped the record off at his house.
GJ: We did a little Google Earth to find his house.
T: Slightly creepy?
GJ: It is. I know. We caught him in the bathtub, having a bath in his front yard on Google Earth, so he was pretty easy to find.
T: How was touring with Plants and Animals?
JI: Awesome. They are very, very cool. It was one of those tours where you can’t really ask for more.
GJ: All the shows were really well attended, and we got to watch a really good band play every single night.
T: So what’s next for Yukon Blonde? You guys had a huge year, last year.
JI: Yeah we’re hoping to top it this year.
GJ: Try and play as many shows as we played last year.
JI: And make a record. It’s exciting. It’s always exciting.
Here’s the video for the song ‘Wind Blows’ off of their self-titled debut that came out last year.