Article by: Colton Eddy
Sticky Magazine spent some time between sets catching up with Yukon Blonde at Edgefest 2012.
At this year's EdgeFest, Canada's western provinces dominated the stage, including The Sheepdogs, Said the Whale, and Yukon Blonde. Backstage, we were surrounded by band's trailers, strumming acoustic guitars and hearing Young The Giant hit the main-stage. Members of The Sheepdogs, USS and The Pack A.D. chatted with each other and media, while massage and Vans vendors set up shop. Brandon Scott and Jeff Innes, Yukon Blonde's vocalist, songwriter and lead-guitarists sat down at the backstage picnic tables to chat with Sticky Magazine about the origins the band, Kelowna's music scene and Charlie Brown.
Sticky: At what point did you decide “This is what I wanna do with my life”?
Brandon: 10 years old
Brandon: That Beatles anthology, when they had that compilation in '93 or '94.
Jeff: I don't know, I always felt like I wanted to be involved in the music scene. I didn't know that I wanted to be in a band. I was probably... it was a little bit later. I kind of wanted to when I was fifteen and then it came back when I met these guys. I was like, “These guys are awesome. I want to do this.” And it probably came from playing with these guys for me to be like, "okay, this is my life from now on."
Sticky: How did everything fall into place for you guys? Though you've probably grown tired of being asked that today.
Jeff: Actually, no. But Brandon and Graham (drummer) played in a couple of bands in Kelowna and they weren't very good, so I didn't have a hard time (laughs) convincing them to get out of their bands and start something with me. Met Brandon at... I think it was a Black Mountain show. It was one of Black Mountain's first shows. And we got talking there, I asked him if he wanted to join my band of all bass-guitars. And all toms - no snares or cymbals.
Brandon: There were some computers. I remember you mentioning something about - it sounded too digital for me.
Sticky: How many names did you go through before hitting Yukon Blonde?
Brandon: Well, we were a band called Alphababy before.
Jeff: The three of us were in a band called Alphababy before this, then we had a meeting with a list of like forty names.
Brandon: We did have a lot of names, man.
Sticky: And how did the fusion of "Yukon" and "Blonde" come together?
Brandon: We're gonna hold that one til the grave, but we make up stories if you like that.
Jeff: A gross beard.
Brandon: That's my favourite. Yeah, gross beard.
Sticky: An old prospector sort of thing?
Brandon and Jeff: Yeah (laughs)
Sticky: Coming from Kelowna, did any Vancouver musicians like Nick Gilder pull you guys into the scene? Michael Buble?
Jeff: Well, Ladyhawk and Black Mountain. A lot of bands. There was actually a really good scene of bands in Kelowna that never... there was a guy and he always made the best bands. He put together these bands overnight, they were always the best. It was so amazing. Jon-Rae Fletcher [of Jon-Rae and the River] was the first one to take us on tour, on a proper tour as a backing band. He's our godfather of coke-rock.
Sticky: Kelowna doesn't seem like there's too much around for inspiration. Like, it's nice to visit but I'd imagine living there would be sort of a cultural...
Jeff: A cultural wasteland. Yeah, I hate to say that - we're making some bad choices right now. Styrofoam buildings, strip-malls. I mean, the Okanagan is gorgeous, but the rest is kind of like whatever. I don't know.
Brandon: There's always been good musicians from there.
Jeff: Always been a good art scene, that's the thing. And I think it's one of those things, when there's nothing to do, so you just get together with some buddies and play. That's how it was for us.
Sticky: Do you find any inspiration in Kelowna or does most of it stem from on-the-road now? Or is it something that can't be determined, it just comes when it comes?
Jeff: Well now I live in Vancouver and these guys are in Toronto, but we tour everywhere, all the time. It's kind of like now we draw our inspiration from where we are, you know? Emotionally with girlfriends and the places that we visit.
Sticky: Today you guys are the headliners of the side-stage. What I noticed today, watching The Darcys and The Dirty Heads - people who watch the sidelining stage know one song and that's all they want to hear. And on the side-stage, the audience is discovering, getting to know the band. Do you guys find that is beneficial?
Jeff: Oh yeah, we really, really want to play for new people and open up and introduce to everybody and what we're about. “Here's the music that we play, hopefully you like it.” But it's kind of a fine balance; we really appreciate our fans so we're not going to do something like, something really weird, you know?
Sticky: How do you find that balance?
Jeff: It's tough.
Brandon: Just got to keep a good head on your shoulders.
Jeff: I think the decisions that you make that you feel are right for you, your band, the world and whatever - I think those are the decisions that a lot of people that are interested in our band right now have to like. And I think that as far as the new fans go, as long as we can keep our morals and everything in check...
Brandon: Don't burn your bridges.
Sticky: It's tricky to build new ones while maintaining at the same time.
Jeff: Yeah, the balancing act.
Sticky: Does the band have any pre-show rituals?
Jeff: Big group hug. We throw out a year for inspiration sometimes on stage. Like we'll yell "1930!" at each other and we'll kind of channel 1930 on stage. That's sort of our big pre-show ritual.
Brandon: It turns out more like 1987. You hear that certain date and you're like, "Okay! Right!"
Jeff: We threw out 2080 one time.
Sticky: Alright, I'll throw some rapid fire questions at you guys before you go check out some of the shows and enjoy the day. First album that you bought?
Brandon: Mine was Gordon by Barenaked Ladies. I still think it's a good record.
Jeff: My first record was Nas. I don't think I liked it. My first tape though, was Green Day's Dookie. It was the first that I'd ever bought. Had to hide it from the parents.
Sticky: First concert?
Jeff: Metallica with Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains in 1997. It was a long time ago. It was the Re-Loaded tour, or something like that.
Brandon: Fortunately, my Dad took me to a Bob Dylan and Paul Simon show they did together in Vancouver around '98.
Jeff: Lucky bastard.
Brandon: It was good.
Sticky: One song for your funeral?
Brandon: "Dust In The Wind"!
Sticky: Will Ferrell style?
Brandon: (laughs) Will Ferrell style.
Jeff: All I can think of is [Flaming Lips'] "Race For The Prize" right now. The lyrics - yeah, that's a good one. Actually you know what would be good? That Justice song that's like (imitates thumping bass).
Brandon: Yeah, it'd sound pretty cool.
Sticky: Charlie Sheen or Charlie Brown?
Brandon: Charlie Sheen would probably be way cooler to hang out with.
Jeff: Really? Charlie Brown would be dope, man. Charlie Brown all the way. And maybe that theme song would follow him around.