Kyle Cashen is leaving the Yukon for Vancouver.
“No specific reason. It’s time,” he says. “I love Vancouver and I need to live in a more densely populated place for a while.”
Cashen grew up in Nova Scotia, first Antigonish, taking piano and violin lessons till the shift happened. It was Grade 7 when he started pounding punk and hard-rock bass in the garage with his buddies.
Pretending to go to university in Halifax, for a couple of years, he spent most of his time playing music with friends. “We’d all pile in small cars and do fun gigs or end up in someone’s basement in weird circumstances. They were amazing times.” It was in the second year when Cashen started playing guitar and writing his own songs.
Ending up in the Yukon was one of those “life sucks, I’m going to move to the Yukon” sort of things.
It’s the connections that made that move work for him: Cashen naturally fell in with the music crowd, amazed by the musicians. Speaking of the Varietease band, “They are icons and they are super stoked to jam with new artists coming up.
“Other places they would be untouchable, but, here, I am playing with them after only two years.”
More connections – he met his partner and sometimes bandmate, Fiona Solon, when he opened for her at a benefit show.
But it isn’t just connections with other musicians; it’s also with the audience. “I was in Saskatoon, staying at Phil Green’s place. He’s a promoter with Vine music. He pulled together this house show with maybe 30 people in his living room.
“The audience was really close, I could see every tiny reaction [to what we were playing].” It was a best day ever.”
Cashen believes that success and true connection comes from risk. In order to have a successful show, you have to risk having a disastrous show.
It used to be that the model for making it in the music business was 1) a record label would pick an act and 2) they would support that act, and that was it.
Now the music business has become an independent network of small communities of people all across the country that support one another. One project might be recording with the graphic designer who owns his own label and does all the graphic work for it, himself; the next could be touring with a totally different group.
It’s a constantly growing and changing scene. Broken Social Scene, Old Time Madmen, Friend Called 5, all bands Cashen’s been a part of.
“Crash the Car is my current focus.” Cashen recently completed a southern tour with Crash the Car. He is looking forward. “The rest of the band already lives in Vancouver.” It should be easier to practise now.
Another best day was being invited to be a part of this year’s Longest Night, “an honour” in Cashen’s words. (The story is on Page 2.)
Is he leaving the Yukon for good? It’s hard to answer that. It could be that he hasn’t figured out yet that no one ever leaves the Yukon for good.
You can follow Crash the Car’s progress at www.crashthecar.ca and on www.myspace.com/crashthecar.
You can also see him at the Yukon Arts Centre on Sunday and Monday, Dec. 20 and 21, at Longest Night 2009.