Nomadic rock

Yukon Blonde have surrendered their home life in British Columbia for life on the road

Until 2008 Yukon Blonde went by the moniker Alphababy, before changing it with the advice of singer-songwriter Jon-Rae Fletcher.
Until 2008 Yukon Blonde went by the moniker Alphababy, before changing it with the advice of singer-songwriter Jon-Rae Fletcher.
Credit: 
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Sending Yukon Blonde fan mail isn’t easy — the nomadic indie-rock quartet replaced home addresses with tour life.

“We just gave up places, left and got some storage space,” frontman Jeff Innes said. “We just crash with friends now.”

But Innes said the perks of touring don’t go unnoticed — it’s more lucrative than being in their hometown of Kelowna, B.C. or their Vancouver base.

“When we’re on tour, we get guaranteed beds and food and stuff,” he said laughing. “It’s more of a home.” The band’s sophomore album Tiger Talk speaks to life on the road, with pop-rock songs like “For L.A.” and “Oregon Shores” referencing loneliness and isolation.

The full-length release came together in bass player John Jeffrey’s parents’ basement on Vancouver Island.

“[It was] kind of tucked away in the woods,” Innes said. “We’d just wake up at 10 in the morning and finish at 10 at night, just jam all day. We did that for about two weeks.”

Released on March 20 by Dine Alone Records, Tiger Talk offers up a different sound from the band’s self-titled debut, which was on the Polaris Music Prize long list in 2010.

Tiger Talk is closer to Yukon Blonde’s live shows, Innes said, adding that the dance-friendly songs make for a “night album.”

“There’s nothing worse than going to see a band that’s boring,” he said. “We always just want our live shows to be fun and engaging.”

That goes for the band’s pre-show ritual as well. Along with a group hug, Yukon Blonde has a habit of finding “fun inspiration” before each show, Innes said.

“A while ago we threw out random years to kind of get into a vibe, like someone would yell out 1993 and we’d all … just try and get into what that brings to mind, like grunge bands or Pearl Jam. We’d just try and hone in on that.

“I don’t know if it makes a difference at all, it’s just a really fun thing to do.”

With 12 sets at South by Southwest music festival (SXSW) in Austin, Tex. earlier this month, the band isn’t in danger of slowing down — the festival attracts superstar performers like Jay-Z.

“It was insane,” Innes said. “It’s such a hard thing to explain, it’s almost a phenomenon sort of level.”

It was the band’s second year at SXSW and they arrived fresh off of European and Australian tours.

“The reception overseas has been amazing,” Innes said.

He added that Yukon Blonde will be in Europe on two different tour legs during the summer and plan to return there again in the fall.

“We’re really trying to get out there.”

Yukon Blonde will play a sold-out show at the Grad Club on Saturday at 10 p.m.

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