This weekend, Ottawa will be hit with two Canadian talents Yukon Blonde and Hey Rosetta! for the second time this year after two knockout performances at the Dragon Boat festival in June. These bicoastal sweethearts will be rocking Southam Hall at the NAC on Sunday to a packed house who will certainly be dancing in their seats.
I was able to speak with Yukon Blonde’s Jeff Innes before the doors opened on their show at the London Music Hall. We talked about their summer release On Blonde and their extensive tour. ‘Dude we are so busy, in the past few months we’ve only been home for about ten days. We have a bus though now so we get to take our home with us.’
The tour has taken the band to theatres across the US and Canada. I couldn’t help but point out the irony of the band playing these sit down theatres after releasing an album full of upbeat dance tracks like “Confused” and “Saturday Night”. ‘Yeah, we would like to see people standing and dancing but a lot of these venues are really legendary in my mind and we are lucky that they are still around and we get to be playing them. It is really blowing my mind right now.’
On Blonde was recorded after a two year break following their Juno nominated album, Tiger Talk (2012) during which the guys worked on other projects. Innes stated that the break was good for the band ‘We took some time off and when we started working together again there was this kind of really cool energy. Everyone was really inspired by the music that each of us were making. It gave us an immense respect for each other’s musical endeavours and musical abilities. It’s great when you are inspired by your own bandmates, you kind of have a sense of trust in what they are doing.’
This inspiration allowed the band to take a different approach to On Blonde, where they spent more time mixing the tracks in post-production and less time working them out before recording. Innes shared rough sketches of the songs and took a step back to let the band jam them out together over a five day retreat on Galiano Island. When they hit the studio, the songs were not quite to the point of being structured. ‘We wanted to capture the excitement of rewriting a rift or changing tone that happens, as opposed to figuring it out in a jam space and being bored of it by the time you actually record. A lot of the details and the really cool parts happened in the studio.’
On Blonde was also their first attempt at working with a producer and a mixer, the latter being acclaimed Tony Hoffer, whose most notable titles include Beck’s Guero and Air’s 10, 000 HZ legend. ‘It was really inspiring to talk to someone that is so close to something that you envision as being perfect. I got to kind of interview him about all these records that I grew up on.’
Innes is starting to get used to the band’s success and enthusiasm and excitement for Yukon Blonde’s future is palpable and contagious. He jokes: ‘I feel like I’m talking like a hockey player right now, we’re ready to keep going for another five years’.
We are giving away a pair of tickets to this performance. To enter, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with On Blonde in the subject header. A winner will be chosen by random draw at noon on Friday, November 20, 2015. Good luck!
Yukon Blonde opens for Hey Rosetta! on Sunday, November 22, 2015 at the National Arts Centre. 8pm. Tickets start at $29 and can be purchased online.