A new Yukon record

As anyone who's ever tried to use a cellphone outside of Whitehorse knows, the Yukon is not a high-tech mecca. So it's kind of fitting that the territory's newest record label is doing things the old fashioned way.

As anyone who’s ever tried to use a cellphone outside of Whitehorse knows, the Yukon is not a high-tech mecca. So it’s kind of fitting that the territory’s newest record label is doing things the old fashioned way.

Headless Owl Records is set on putting out new music on vinyl records.

The boutique label is mostly a labour of love, said co-founder and Whitehorse-based musician, Kyle Cashen.

“We know we’re never going to make a profit,” he said.

But Andrew Stratis, Cashen’s business partner, who has financed everything so far with his credit card, is a little more optimistic.

“It might not be ‘never make a profit,’” he said. But he’s resigned to the fact that it’s going to take a bit of time before the label finds its footing.

They formed the label in late last summer.

“We wanted to see something happen so we figured the easiest way to do it was just to do it ourselves,” said Stratis.

“Andrew just has a massive record collection and I’d just go over to his place and we’d drink coffee, eat food and just listen to records and talk shit,” said Cashen.

That’s how they came up with the idea of creating their own record label.

“We started talking about it as if it was real even though we hadn’t made any steps to make it real,” said Cashen. “We kind of trapped ourselves into it.”

When they ran the idea past their mutual friend, St. John’s-based musician Mathias Kom, he jumped on board, and the duo became a trio.

While the label is very much a group project, it was Stratis who came up with the name.

Last winter, on his way back from Haines Junction, Stratis saw an owl sitting on the road ahead.

“I couldn’t swerve but I thought, ‘It’s going to get out of the way,’” he said. “Turns out it did not get out of the way.”

Stratis hit it with his truck and decapitated it.

“I figured the best way to honour this owl that I killed was to name something after it.”

On Feb. 20, Headless Owl Records will release its first album, a 10-inch LP by Mathias’s band The Burning Hell.

The record, Old New Borrowed Blue, will be a limited release of 250 units to start.

The smaller size and the custom-made, 180-gram, blue-marble-coloured vinyl records are expensive to produce, but they’re the kind of thing that record lovers, like him, go crazy for, said Stratis.

They’ve already got several artists on board and an entire year of releases planned out. However, they are tightlipped about the roster.

At the moment, the plan is to produce the records and merchandise and distribute it through their website www.headlessowl.com.

The focus is on established artists who already have a fan base and a platform to spur on sales.

“Most of them are people that are already on labels that just want to do a special project like a one-off,” said Cashen.

The response has been great so far, he said.

“It’s also the kind of thing that artists sort of geek out about,” said Cashen. It’s very much project focused.

“We want to do things that focus more on the experience of an entire album and really kind of slow everything down and focus on quality instead of mass producing,” said Cashen.

That’s why they’re set on vinyl.

“There’s something to vinyl,” said Stratis. “Playing a record is an experience.”

The analogue format means you to listen to songs that you might otherwise skip over if it were on a digital format, he said.

“When you put a record on, it’s a pain in the ass to skip songs so you force your way through and I’ve found a lot of songs that I like by listening to the record,” said Stratis.

It also sounds better, said Cashen.

“You hear things in a different way,” he said. “If you’ve only ever heard the digital version of something and then you listen to the vinyl it’s a completely different experience.”

Next year they plan to release eight albums and a compilation record made up of unreleased tracks from every artist they produce.

“And for the year-end we have big plans,” said Stratis, though he wouldn’t elaborate on what those are.

Contact Josh Kerr at joshk@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3-hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council will vote on the second reading of the Official Community Plan amendment on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Future area of Whistle Bend considered by council

Members set to vote on second reading for OCP change

The City of Whitehorse’s projected deficit could be $100,000 more than originally predicted earlier this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City deficit could be just over $640,000 this year

Third quarter financial reports presented to council

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks during a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Oct. 30. Masks became mandatory in the Yukon for anyone five years old and older as of Dec. 1 while in public spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
As mask law comes into effect, premier says $500 fines will be last resort

The territory currently has 17 active cases of COVID-19

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Ranj Pillai, minister of economic development, during a press conference on April 1.
Government rejects ATAC mining road proposal north of Keno City

Concerns from the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun were cited as the main reason for the decision

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Dec. 2, 2020

The new Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation council elected Dec. 1. (Submitted)
Little Salmon Carmacks elects new chief, council

Nicole Tom elected chief of Little Salmon Carcmacks First Nation

Submitted/Yukon News file
Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to the unsolved homicide of Allan Donald Waugh, 69, who was found deceased in his house on May 30, 2014.
Yukon RCMP investigating unsolved Allan Waugh homicide

Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to an unsolved… Continue reading

A jogger runs along Millenium Trail as the sun rises over the trees around 11 a.m. in Whitehorse on Dec. 12, 2018. The City of Whitehorse could soon have a new trail plan in place to serve as a guide in managing the more than 233 kilometres of trails the city manages. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
2020 trail plan comes forward

Policies and bylaws would look at e-mobility devices

Snow-making machines are pushed and pulled uphill at Mount Sima in 2015. The ski hill will be converting snow-making to electric power with more than $5 million in funding from the territorial and federal governments. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Mount Sima funded to cut diesel reliance

Mount Sima ski hill is converting its snowmaking to electric power with… Continue reading

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read