I hear you’ve spent some time here in Newfoundland this summer. Any highlights of the trip/island?
That’s correct, I just recently went to visit my girlfriend and her parents who run The Two Whales coffee shop in Port Rexton. Clare, whom I met 4 yrs ago in St. Johns when we performed at The Ship decided to spend this summer helping out her folks during the busy season and I was fortunate to have a break in my tour schedule to get out their way for a week’s visit.
Every time I go I fall in love with the area more and more, really starting to feel like a second home. This was also my first time in the summer season, I’m usually knee deep in snow watching icebergs fill the Trinity Harbour.
My highlight from this recent trip was catching the Friday night of the Newfoundland & Labrador Folk Festival. Hey Rosetta! had their hometown crowd in the palms of their hands, really looking forward to our North American tour together in the fall.
Your self-titled album and Tiger Talk re-invigorated the genres they explored, and were therefore ambitious albums. So I’m curious to hear if you agree with Exclaim Magazine in calling On Blonde your “most ambitious album to date.”
I would agree with that statement. Our approach to recording On Blonde was completely different from our previous works, in that the songs weren’t rehearsed or finished prior to recording them. This was our first experience writing and structuring songs on studio time with the main reason being, to not get attached to any particular part, riff, or melody. We had handfuls of ideas/pieces and a couple rough demos, so at times it got stressful to put together but for the most part brought a lot of excitement and creativity to the song building process.
We did however know exactly what the overall sound needed to be for this record, and became very hands on in the studio, deliberate with every effect, synth sound and how we approached the drum sounds/samples. We went in with the mentality of not being afraid to “get weird” because as weird as we thought we were getting, the end result always ended up sounding like a Yukon Blonde song.
“Saturday Night” might be the jam of the year. But there’s a ton of stand-out tracks on the album: how do you guys settle on your singles?
I think choosing singles can always be a gamble, I’ll never really understand the politics behind it. With this record the stand-out tracks became obvious choices when recording them, and it wasn’t a struggle to agree on them.
There seems to be more and more energy in the songs on your albums over time. Have you all found you like to perform such high-energy music live or something?
We’ve always been a band who loves to put on a charismatic live show. When putting together a set, we try our best to make it flow and blend together never leaving a moment where we lose the crowd’s attention. We basically want to have a party from start to finish and have people leaving exhausted and sweaty.
Is the song “Hannah” really about your fellow BC musician Hannah Georgas? What’s her relationship to the band?
Hannah is a dear friend of ours, more so with Jeff as they were housemate for a brief time in Vancouver. At that point Jeff’s step father was losing his battle with cancer and Hannah was there for him through that tough period and their friendship grew.
The song “Hannah” was initially a funny demo Jeff had sent her when she returned home from one of our favourite summer festivals called Hillside in Guelph. The melody and chorus really stuck with me over the years, and we made it a priority on our To Do list when making On Blonde, it’s one of my personal faves on the record.
Is the new album’s title somehow a reference to Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde?
I think it’s safe to say that was the case here, but we also like to say we took the “YUK” out of Yukon Blonde, haha.