Thursday, May 30, 2013

Show Preview - Interview - Old Time Machine - 6.10.13 - Garfield Artworks - Concert Preview

Old Time Machine will be appearing Monday, June 10th at Garfield Artworks. They are touring behind their self titled album released this past October. The Yukon based duo made up of Ryan McNally and Kyle Cashen formed the band in 2009 after meeting while working on an art project. Using a combination of live instruments and vintage analog electronics, the band recorded their album with producer Jordy Walker and arrived upon a "sound that feels like it should be heard playing on a tube radio in a dimly lit bar." Kyle was kind enough to answer a few of our questions about the origins of the band, song writing process and the Yukon.

You all are from the Yukon. How is the scene there? How does the atmosphere play a part in your music?

Yeah, It's a pretty tight knit community up there so I think the place gets into everything you do whether it's on a conscious or unconscious level. The connection for us is pretty direct - We're both from other provinces in Canada, we never would have met and started playing together if we didn't live in Whitehorse at the same time.  The scene is amazing - bands and musicians like Jordy Walker, Sarah MacDougall, Blue Hibou and Old Cabin are inspiring to be around. 

There is a great deal of instrumentation on your record. How does this translate into a live setting? Or is it more stripped down?

When we made the record we did it pretty much live off the floor. We ended up overdubbing a couple things here and there but mostly because of bleed issues or because they were after thoughts during mixing or whatever. Initially we were super conscious of trying to make recordings true to how we sound live.

But when we recorded All The While for this single we just released we wanted to experiment with multi-tracking and adding textures and things that we don't recreate exactly live. I don't know if there's a better or worse approach, we just want to keep trying different things. And songs end up growing over time, we have been touring some of those songs for years so it's sort of inevitable that we tweak them.

I guess a more direct way to answer your question is that one of the limitations we put on ourselves as a band from the start is that we are a duo of one-man-bands. So we do what we can with four limbs and a voice each

How did the duo form? How did you guys come together?

There used to be an arts collective in Whitehorse called Red Wagon Union. One of the things RWU did was put on this art show that lasted for a week and was supposed to reflect on the darkest days of winter in the Yukon. There was the added element that the work was supposed to be made with an unlikely collaborator - to push people out of their comfort zones or whatever.

Anyway, there were two performance nights in this thing and RWU asked Ryan and I to try working together because they thought it would be weird and challenging and cool for us to do. We felt the same way, so we decided to make it a band.

How does your songwriting process work? Do you enlist others to assist with lyrics/structure? Or does one of you bring the lyrics to the table and then you workaround that?

All the songs are a bit different. The way that the first batch worked was that Ryan would come up with a skeleton, a chord progression with a melody, maybe a verse and chorus, then we would hunker down in my music room and muck around with different ideas until we had arrangements. Then we finalize lyrics, often Ryan on his own, but sometimes together.

I guess all the songs follow variations of that basic process.

What are your upcoming goals? What would you like to accomplish?

We never actually planned to keep going as a band. After we had been together for a few months I moved to Vancouver, Ryan was in town for some shows and we thought we may as well record what we had done, as like an archive, for posterity or whatever. Anyway, it turned out to sound more like a record than we expected so I sent it over to File Under: Music, who I had previously worked with in my old band, and they dug it so we put it out and started touring.

So pretty much everything that happens from there is so amazing and unexpected, our minds are blown that we get to play music for people every day. It's the best.

What made you want to dedicate your life to music? Was there a show or album?

I think there were a lot of things, it was really sort of a progression of experiences that sucked me further and further in. When I was young I didn't really have much exposure to music, but I took lessons on different instruments when I could and tried to get my grubby paws on new music all the time. I remember getting a mix tape from a friend of mine that had The Velvet Underground, and a local band called The Plan, and The Wooden Stars. That cassette completely changed my life. That sounds super melodramatic.


Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?

I was just checking out the band we're playing with, Free Time, they're wicked cool and they just released a record. I think they're from New York. Anyway, it looks like it'll be a really fun night, we're looking forward to checking out Pittsburgh and meeting some new folks.

You can find more information about the band at these sites:‎

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