By Safiya Hopfe
VANCOUVER — The four West Coasters that have comprised Yukon Blonde since 2009 have always endeavoured to conquer unfamiliar musical territory ‑ they’re proud of their drive to pursue what feels organic to the moment. In Jeffrey Innes’s own words, “It’s kind of one of those mantras that’s continued as long as we’ve been a band, like any time we set out to make a new record we really try and just make the music we wanna make at that time. We don’t have a nice solid central identity, we’re just making the music we wanna make, you know?” The tone and texture of what they produce has therefore evolved too naturally for them to follow suit of artists who aspire to carve themselves into something specifically recognizable. This attitude has left them full of surprises, despite the distinct essence that always remains at the heart of their music.
The disintegration of a project called Alphababy, as Innes explains, left room for the band we hear today one that could be true to what they were genuinely inspired to achieve, as they quickly did in Vancouver, the city they swiftly decided to be an optimal nest for artists such as them. “We ditched all of the Alphababy songs, ditched everything. We actually got in a car accident on one of our last shows as Alphababy, so we even ditched our van! (…) For some reason we were just continuing to be a band that we didn’t really want to be… why don’t we just do something we really wanna do?”
As they have. Elements of exploration evident in On Blonde, the group’s newest album, include ‘50sinfluenced vocal production, bolder synthetic sounds, and singletracking that accentuates the subtlest of melodic nuances. Innes addresses process: “For this record particularly, we’d take some time off, then when we got back together talk about all of the records we’d been into, all of the sounds, the instruments that got us excited. Bass sounds for instance having the bass pretty much at your throat. That gets us really excited, but it’s not what you traditionally should do.”
As they let their expectations of themselves grow along with them, Yukon Blonde’s strong summery sound will continue to reinvent itself. Their priority will continue to be making what they wanna make, doing what they wanna do, and letting what gets them excited command priority over “what you traditionally should do.”
Yukon Blonde headline Tall Tree Festival June 26-28 at Port Renfrew, B.C. and Khatsalano Festival, taking place July 11 on West 4 Ave, Vancouver.BC, British Columbia, Khatsahlano Festival, Tall Tree Festival, Yukon Blonde