Yukon Blonde has been at it for at least ten years. What are you most proud of in regards to how your music has evolved?
In the past our albums were usually produced in a predictable manner, perhaps a tad safe, and I think we’ve come to realise that it was a lack of confidence. Vindicator however feels more like a collective symbol of our conviction towards artistic agency. We have had the luxury of time to experiment and take a song down an unconventional path. This is a record we’ve always wanted to make and we’re proud of it.
During the writing of your new record Vindicator, what were some of the challenges the band faced? Were there any major musical influences during the writing process that impacted the compositions?
The main challenge with Vindicator was holding ourselves accountable to finishing it. This has been a labour of love for close to two years; writing, tracking, producing and mixing the entire thing ourselves. When a project becomes so insular and personal it’s hard to know when something is done.
I read a good line in a Jeff Tweedy’s book recently, “No work of art is ever finished, it can only be abandoned in an interesting place”.
That feels about right.
As for musical influence, Wings was definitely brought up a lot while making this record, but we all bring our personal tastes to the table.
For decades, Canada has continuously produced some of the world’s finest musicians and musical artists from every musical genre. How does it feel to be part of such a global contribution?
Yeah, for such a small population Canada does produce great art, but we tend to be the overshadowed sibling to America and it can be near impossible to cross over. When you see peers who make those strides you can’t help but cheer them on.
What is the music scene like in Vancouver? How different would you say that the Canadian music scene is from that of the states?
The music scene in Vancouver is relatively small, but there’s a strong community of great songwriters/bands here.
I personally treat Vancouver as more of a writing city and a place I call home. I usually don’t want to go out much when I’m in town as we’ve normally been on a tour for weeks on end and I just want to hole up in my studio space. However, being in other cities I get the realisation that I’m either a real introvert or have a lack of nightlife energy as most musician friends living in LA or Toronto have multiple ripping bands they play in or at least seem to be out on the town a lot.
YB played at the 2015 SXSW Festival. How was that experience?
SXSW is always a whirlwind, however 2015 was a better experience than usual as we only booked a couple shows during the actual festival and got to take in some great performances. Typically in previous years we’re dragging our gear around Austin trying to attempt 12 shows over 4 days or something hectic like that.
Our label that year hosted a show that acted as a kick off to a U.S. tour supporting Lieutenant (Nate Mendel of the Foo Fighters solo project). They took us on a great run of well attended shows through the States.
If you had a chance to tour with any band, who would that band be and why?
Since we’re on a Wings kick I’ll go with that. Just to sit side stage and watch how they pull those songs off live night after night would be a dream come true.
YB has worked with the legendary producer, Tony Hoffer (The Kooks, M83, Beck, etc). How did that collaboration come about? Do you have another producer that you are dreaming to work with and why?
We reached out to Tony when in search of a mixer while making our record ‘On Blonde’ back in 2015. We sonically loved everything Tony had worked on in the past (I was a personal fan of Alphabetical by Phoenix) we stuck with him to mix our next record ‘Critical Hit’ in 2018 and finally got to meet him that year when we played the Troubadour in L.A.
James stayed in touch with him the most over the years and learned a lot from him in regards to mixing. Tony’s very open about his techniques or specific gear that he’s obsessing over and I appreciate that about him.
In regards to a dream producer, I know in our earlier days we had high hopes of working with Dave Friddmann. We are still massive fans of the The Soft Bulletin by The Flaming Lips. The crushed drum sounds and synthscapes on that record have always been a reference point for us.
Another dream scenario would be a collaboration with Dan Snaith from Caribou, everything he creates is very inspirational.
A lot of your music has that 70’s retro sound to it. Who or what have been some of your influences/inspirations over the years?
Mid 70’s Beach Boys records such as Surfs Up, Holland, Carl and the Passions are always band fav’s. The Kinks, Roy Ayres, Marvin Gaye, Broadcast, Bill Withers, Little Dragon the list goes on and on…
What can fans expect from Yukon Blonde in the future?
The future is a bit unknown and we’re trying to navigate innovative ways to promote this record. We’d obviously love to take these songs on the road but until then we’ll patiently wait out this pandamic and continue to write/record new music.
You can follow Yukon Blonde at https://www.facebook.com/yukonblonde Instagram@yukonblonde