By Christine Leonard
CALGARY — FOMO (fear of missing out) has never been a concern for B.C. musician, Jeffrey Innes. The singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist and his band, Yukon Blonde, are known for bringing the thunder and making the scene wherever they may roam. Footsore from a stint of tours and live performances, the Blondes took some much needed R’n’R late last year, leaving Innes to ponder the possibilities.
“The band decided to take a break over the winter,” confirms Innes. “During that period, I went a bit stir-crazy and wrote a bunch of music. We still had time booked and I had the idea of going into the studio to do a solo project. For some reason, I knew I could do it.”
Boldly stepping out of his role as ringleader of Kelowna’s indie rock mainstay and into the velvet underground of a Vancouver Island recording facility, Innes fantasized about crafting a playful album that would put a friendly collaboration front and centre. While he did manage to wrangle the New Pornographers’ Kathryn Calder, Ladyhawk’s Darcy Hancock, Louise Burns and Gold & Youth drummer Jeff Mitchelmore into contributing to the lush yet eminently danceable tracks that comprise the resultant LP, Super Class, Innes was somewhat disillusioned to discover that many of his High Ends dream team was unavailable to come out and play.
“I wanted to get a bunch of friends in on the recording, but everybody was busy. So, I wound up just doing it myself,” says Innes. “It was really cool being so involved in the recording of an album, having conversations with producer Colin Stewart (Dan Mangan, New Pornographers) about the LP’s overall construction, committing to what sounded cool and cutting out what didn’t. It was a really fun quirky adventure at that time inside my brain.”
Faced with the task of generating his own feel good vibes, Innes has pulled out a bevy of synth-soaked cocktails that are as intoxicating as they are artful. In the (High) end, his lonely Friday nights generated a suave and modern soundtrack to the death of isolation. A dazzling yet phlegmatic debut, Super Class is a glowing neon beacon holding back the grungy, grey-scale haze of anti-social networks.
“It’s funny because I don’t enjoy writing music with a crowd in mind,” he explains. “I didn’t want to Yukon Blonde’s audience to get the impression that this some fake project we’re using to get our minds out of a rut. This is a new thing with songs that started from scratch and came together in a short period of time from September to December. It’s an absolutely personal experience, as well as a fun outlet, inspired by solo/collaborative fusions, like Gorillaz.”
Catch High Ends this month at the Starlite (Edmonton) on September 24th and at Republik (Calgary) on October 1st.AB, Alberta, High Ends, Jeffrey Innes, Republik, Starlite Room, Yukon Blonde