Features Interviews Yukon Blonde: Who Needs a Home?

Yukon Blonde: Who Needs a Home?

Yukon Blond
Yukon Blonde
Interview by: Sara Harowitz

The three guys of Kelowna, BC’s Yukon Blonde are homeless.

Sure, they’ve had a ton of success touring across Canada, their debut album was long listed for the coveted Polaris Music Prize, and they seem to get positive review after positive review. But they are, in fact, homeless.

Now before you paint a picture in your head of Brandon Scott (guitar/vocals), Jeff Innes (guitar/lead vocals), and Graham Jones (drums/vocals) sleeping on the street with nothing but the clothes on their backs, a ratty sleeping bag they have take turns using and a stray dog who hangs around, I should clear one thing up. These guys are homeless in the most literal sense of the word: that is, they don’t have homes. But really, when you spend all of your time on the road, who needs a home?

“You don’t!” says guitarist Brandon Scott in between smiles. “You just get to know some people and then you go hang out. It’s fun ... We have a storage unit with all our stuff in it.”

For the native British Columbian, the rare occasions that he’s not on tour are spent either at his parents’ place up north, his grandpa’s house just outside Vancouver (which, coincidentally, happens to be just a few blocks away from my parents’ home), or at his friend Andy Bishop’s house (Bishop often plays with Yukon Blonde, and also has a band of his own: Red Cedar). And when the band is on tour, the friends they’ve made along the way offer up couches with open arms; a testament to the good-hearted nature of the Canadian music community.

“It’s a good one,” Scott says of our country’s music scene. “Everything is good. I’m really looking forward to summer festivals and stuff because all the bands hang out and everyone is so good to each other.”

Until those summer festivals, Yukon Blonde will be busy touring Canada once again – their seventh time across the country in a year, to which Scott said “Holy moly!’ upon realizing – with Plants and Animals and The Paint Movement. The whole shebang kicks off on Feb. 18 in the band’s current “home” (they don’t have one, remember?) of Vancouver. They’ve had the opportunity to tour with some great bands, including most recently, Toronto’s The Wooden Sky.

“It’s the coolest thing ever. The Wooden Sky one was awesome because we’ve been friends for so long already, so it was just like, ‘This is going to be awesome!’ and it was,” Scott says. “I had seen [Plants and Animals] in Texas at South By [South West] and was like, ‘Wow!’ so now it’s pretty cool.”

The touring just never seems to stop for these guys. And according to Scott, it won’t stop for quite some time still. But Yukon Blonde fans eager for new music can begin to rest easy – it’s coming. Slowly but surely, it’s coming.

“In the summer we’ve got to get in the studio. Now’s kind of writing time, we’ve got about a gazillion songs to work through and get really tight,” he says. “I’m sure it won’t get released until, who knows, 2012 probably. It takes so much time. You want to do it right. You don’t want to rush an album.”

It is care and precision like this that got the band such critical acclaim in the first place. Their self-titled debut album, a pop/rock mix of sweet harmonies, catchy melodies and 60’s throwbacks, was nothing short of great, and landed a spot in Sticky Magazine's compiled Top 10 Albums from 2010. But as Scott points out, that puts the pressure on for album number two.

“For the next one it’s going to be really hard because it’s our sophomore record. It’s going to get eaten,” he says. “It’s got to be really, really good.”

Until then, Yukon Blonde will keep touring. And as exhausting as it is, the constant motion acts as the band’s reminder that they’re doing what they love – and doing it well.

“Success is to keep doing it,” says Scott. “I’m glad we have a busy schedule. That means last year we did our job.

“It’s funny how a band usually has a four-year time limit I find these days,” he says. “People lose their attention spans so quickly now. You’ve got those four years to kill it or you’re not going to do it. That’s what I find.”

So will Yukon Blonde surpass the deadly four-year mark?

“Fuck yeah!” Scott says, laughing. “I don’t know, I hope so. But I’m giving myself those four years to really giv'er hard and do it.”