Signing Story: Old Time Machine

Date Signed: Jan. 26, 2012
Label: File Under: Music
Type of Music: Alternative-Country, Indie Folk Rock
Band Members: Ryan McNally, lead vocals, guitar, mandolin, ukulele, banjo, percussion; Kyle Cashen, drum machine, percussion, bass pedals, electronic effects, backup vocals.
Management: Self-managed
Booking: Self-booked
Legal: Kurt Dahl / Bob D’Eith’s Firm, [email protected]
Publicity: Catie Monck, Tijuana Gift Shop, [email protected]
Web: http://facebook.com/oldtimemachine
A&R: Lisa Stewart

The concept “less is more” is one that has been embraced wholeheartedly by the group Old Time Machine. This Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, duo have created an album and sound that uniquely marries traditional acoustic sounds with vintage electronics and minimalist production. Both Ryan McNally and Kyle Cashen had been avid musicians in the Canadian northwest for several years, with McNally earning a living playing in blues and roots-oriented bands and Cashen exploring rock and more experimental forms of art. Essentially, they were both on opposite sides of the artistic spectrum, but it was their tight knit arts community ties that brought them together.

“We have a lot of flexibility with our label and they give us a lot of support and feedback.”

“We knew each other from just being in Whitehorse,” McNally says. “Everybody just kinda knows everybody.” It was in 2009 and the two collaborated on an art exhibition in their town. “The exhibition took artists on both extremes and matched them up with someone who has no relation to what they do,” continues McNally. Their installation/performance was designed to get people out of their comfort zones and address the depression and darkness of the long cold winters that are indigenous to The Yukon.

Flashback to 2008 where Cashen was showcasing with another band at the NXNE music conference in Toronto. “I met a guy who was booking for File Under: Music and we got along pretty well,” explains Cashen. “I bumped into him again at the Western Canadian Music Awards. He liked the band I was with, starting booking us and I got a publishing deal with them too.”

Cashen eventually moved to Vancouver and invited McNally to come record with producer-engineer Jordy Walker. Those sessions became the basis for Old Time Machine’s first EP. When Cashen submitted some of the songs from those sessions to File Under: Music rep Lisa Stewart, the label was very receptive and agreed to release a joint disc with Old Time Machine and label mates Old Cabin. It was a fairly profitable venture that led to OTM’s current singular debut.

“For me it happened all of a sudden and pretty quick. But Kyle had been scheming all this for a while,” quips McNally. “I prefer when things just happen,” replies Cashen. “I like to pull on a thread and see where it goes. And that’s how this felt. We have a lot of flexibility with our label and they give us a lot of support and feedback.”

By Eric A. Harabadian