Yukon Blonde have embraced keyboards on their best album to date, “On Blonde.” They bring their new keyboard-based, more pop-infused sound to Average Joe’s, Feb. 11.
After enjoying a beautiful couple months off from non-stop touring since their third CD was released in June, the Juno-nominated, Polaris prize-shortlisted, Vancouver-based band are excited to get back on the road.
“We’ve hired a new keyboard player, Rebecca Gray, so it’s nice to have the female dynamic in the band now,” said Yukon Blonde guitarist Brandon Scott. Gray and new bassist James Younger join the band’s core of frontman Jeffrey Innes, Graham Jones and Scott.
“It’s been fun rebuilding the songs from the ground up for her keyboards and adding new parts to the old songs. And she’s a great singer, so we’re nuts about adding that fifth harmony,” he enthused.
He said frontman Innes’ obsession with vintage keyboards found its way into the band’s new, more ’80s pop-influenced sound.
“The keyboards really fill out the sound on the album,” Scott observed.
“Jeff bought a lot of vintage keyboards and Moogs and has been learning how to play them, so it’s all been really fun,” he said, adding Younger also put his stamp on the new music.
“He helped us write it. He’s really added his influences to the sound. Both of them have been great assets to the team,” Scott said, adding the band is immensely proud of the new CD as they were able to take more time on it and write most of it in the studio.
“I think it shows how much we have evolved as a band. On last two records, the songs were pretty much done before we went into the studio. We did a lot of rehearsing before, so we knew pretty much what the songs would sound like.
“On this one, we went into the studio with a lot of broken ideas. So we were able to record some of it and go home and listen to what we recorded and come back and work on it again.”
The new CD has spawned a couple of successful videos for the singles “Saturday Night” and the most recent single “I Wanna Be Your Man.”
Scott said the band left them in the hands and creative imagination of director Mac Boucher. The band were pleased with the results.
“We aren’t even in the video. We’ve been constantly touring since June. But Jeff’s face is in ‘I Wanna Be Your Man.’ We recorded it in the green room at one of our shows,” he recalled, adding they turned out perfectly for the songs.
“We have the deepest respect for him (Boucher). So it was interesting to just leave it with him and see what he came up with,” he said.
“So it was nice to not feature ourselves in the videos.”
“They definitely capture the spirit of the songs, especially the darker tone of ‘Saturday Night,’” he added. “I Wanna Be Your Man’ is a collage of interesting concepts. And ‘Saturday Night’ is perfect. He has a friend who is a drag queen,” he said of the star of the video.
It has been several years since they played Lethbridge so they are excited to return.
“I love playing Lethbridge and Alberta,” Scott said, in the middle of releasing a new solo album during the band’s down time.
“It is very stripped down. It’s more folk, acoustic and country music, but Yukon Blonde will always come first. Both Jeffrey and I keep our solo projects on the side for enjoyment,” he said.
They are already considering new music.
“Hopefully we‘ll be able to take some time in the spring. We want to take it slow,” he said.
“It’s crazy how quickly a year passes when you’re touring. So it will be nice to get some new ideas flowing.”
“So hopefully we can get a new record out next year,” he said.
They finished an extensive tour with Newfoundland-based indie rock and pop band Hey Rosetta in the fall.
“They’re just the best people. We didn’t expect to get along with them as well as we did. We formed an instant bond, so it was great.
Yukon Blonde play Average Joe’s Feb. 11 at 8 p.m.. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 on the day of the show.