Canadian rock band Yukon Blonde is delving into the 70s on their new album Vindicator. Yukon Blonde consists of guitarists Jeff Innes and Brandon Scott , James Younger on bass, Graham Jones on drums, and Rebecca Gray on keyboard. Each member of the band also provides their vocals to each song. It’s a smorgasbord of everyone’s talent. “We’ve been a band for almost a decade now. We started off as a three-piece. James and Rebecca joined in 2015,” guitarist Brandon Scott says. The band is based in Vancouver, Canada circa 2009.
The indie-rock outfit began their career as a rock band, but now they are comfortable exploring different sounds. “Our attention shifts to different genres between the rock and indie canon. The synthesizers and electronic instruments push it further. The 70s sound is something we lean into very hard when guitars are involved,” bassist Younger says.
The band’s new album is completely DIY. The band strayed away from any outside producers for help. “There was no outside help. We produced the record on our own. We recorded most of it on the Galiano Islands, which is off the coast of Vancouver. We packed it with a lot of cool new music gear that we bought from the past couple years and dove in,” Scott says.
LADYGUNN’s Robert Frezza sat down with Brandon Scott and James Younger of Yukon Blonde to talk record labels, the Canadian rock scene, and what it feels like creating rock music in 2020.
Dine Alone Records is one of Canada’s premiere indie record labels. They support the Canadian music scene to the fullest. “We’ve been on Dine Alone records for the better part of our career. We’d love to spend more time in the United States, but we are very lucky to be a part of Dine Alone. They are like family,” Younger says.
Crossing the Border
Yukon Blonde have spent the majority of their career in Canada, but we would love to tour the States more. “It’s like the holy grail. It’s a dream. That’s the spot. That’s where you want to be as a touring band. It’s being in a bit of dream to play the big venues like The Troubadour in Los Angeles or Bowery Ballroom in NYC,” says Younger. “We try to get down there a couple times a year and make it a priority,” Scott says.
The band’s latest single, “You Were Mine” is a trip back in time with a nostalgic 70s vibe. “I started messing around at home and it started with a loop. The song was recorded in three separate sessions. The song is about being in a relationship and thinking about it too much, and then the B section of the song it goes into a strong hazy memory and by the end it’s a dance party that is possibly compared to LCD Soundsystem. It’s one of the most exciting songs on the record because it is chronically imperfect. It’s a bit of a psychedelic mess.” Younger says.
Rock Is Dead
“It’s hard being a creative in 2020”, Younger admits. “If we would have gotten into this for the money, we would have been idiots in the first place. It’s a weird time, but there’s great music coming out from it.”
“People are working on some pretty cool stuff and making it work and it’s interesting to see how they are evolving,” Scott remarks.
“We just plays as it lays. Physical health comes first. There are ideas in the pipeline. We are pretty good at managing at our online output. Just getting good at other aspects and getting better at our art. People are literally dying, so we shouldn’t lament on it,” Younger says.
A lot has changed and keeps evolving the way we hear and purchase music nowadays with DSPs our fingertips. “It’s how people access music. The band is all in our thirties now and everything changes all the time. There’s a separate conversation about royalty rates. It’s fundamentally changed on how you interact with the songs itself. I use Spotify everyday. It’s a great service,” Younger says.
On the Horizon
There is a tremendous amount of great talent up North. Scott says be on the lookout from some really great musicians breaking the mold from Canada. “Hannah Georgas just put out a new record; she’s really great. She worked with Aaron Dessner from the National.”
Younger’s musical palette ranges from hip hop to pop rock. “Sean Lin is a multi-disciplinary rapper from Toronto and Men I Trust is a really cool band from Montreal,” says Younger.
“I think when I joined the band everyone was wearing plaid and I went through a break-up and was wearing all black,” jokes Younger. “I think we are pretty stylish these days. We have been through some different iterations but it seems like we take our aesthetic more seriously than we have because we feel good about ourselves. Maybe we are in a middle of a Baz Luhrman Romeo and Juliet vibe. Brandon wears oversized suits like Ric Ocasek from the Cars did back in the 80s. We all dress up to Rebecca, though, the only girl in the band because she takes more time getting ready,” jokes Younger.
CONNECT WITH YUKON BLONDE
photos / Jeff Innes
story / Robert Frezza