Big Mountains, Little Records: Whistler’s 7 Inches of Pleasure
A ski town party is magical for its simplicity: you need good snow, better people, enough to drink and loud music. Times change, but these pillars of fun have endured since Whistler was built in the 1960s. The same sentiments, the same mountains; and in the case of music some of the same songs, usually spinning at 45 rpm.
While everyone else replaced their records with CDs, then their CDs with MP3’s, a small group of Whistler locals have continued to collect, play and dance their pants off to music pressed on 45 rpm, 7-inch singles. Now, as a popular culture embraces a nostalgic vinyl revival, Whistler is the logical launching point for Monster Energy’s 10-city, all-45 rpm vinyl 7 Inches of Pleasure tour.
“There is a lot of timeless soul and funk and reggae stuff that new DJs aren’t messing with.” says Vinyl Ritchie, Whistler’s undisputed godfather of the 7-inch. “And sometimes it is nice to hear music that is classic, or was made by 7 or 8 people playing music together at one time.”
Popular from the 1950s to the 80s, the 45 rpm single record was the go-to format for launching some of the best songs in the most exciting eras in music history before everything went digital. 2016 marks the 4th annual 7 Inches of Pleasure tour and Vinyl Ritchie explains that even as the record revival translates to more record sales, records stores and more kids at their shows, much of what makes the 7-inch tour and format exciting is the memory and mastery of the music.
“There are other 45 nights popping up all over the place now,” he says, “but the thing about it is, you need more than the easy records you can find at the Thrift Store. You need to have deep crates and be able to play for 4 hours. Some of these records you spend your whole life to find.”
The crates will certainly be deep on Thursday February 18, 2016 when the tour kicks off at the GLC, homebase for Whistler’s regular all-45 nights and the infamous Hot Doggin party. The 7 Inches of Pleasure tour tour sees Vinyl Ritchie join local turntable wizard Mat the Alien and Canadian masters DJ Pump and DJ Illo, with New York hip hop legend DJ Scratch joining for some dates.
“The first show in Whistler is an old-school hip hop show,” Vinyl Ritchie explains, “but the rest of the tour is not all old music. We do play a ton of classics and it’s amazing to watch Mat the Alien play an old Latin record from the 1960s, but there are drum and records, trap and lots of new stuff. People still release tracks on vinyl: Mat has a 45, Pump has one out, I got a 45 out, it is way cheaper to do. And they sound great.”
That analogue sound, Vinyl Ritchie says, is one of the reasons he enjoys taking his crates of 45s on the road. “A lot of the production techniques that you hear in the music have been lost, a lot of new music is loud and lots of bass but sometimes it comes at the cost of the mid-range or other recording techniques that help balance things out like panning. We have to make sure the clubs are dialed. We have to do a sound check, and tweak their systems and turntables. It takes it back to the roots of DJ culture.”
And the roots of ski town partying because the more things change, the better the old stuff gets…
The Monster Energy tour kicks off Thursday February 18, 2016 but record fans should also make sure to check out mash-up pioneer (and no stranger to the 7-inch) DJ Z-Trip at the Longhorn Saloon at 2 PM this Sunday February 14, 2016. Find out everything else you want to know about the Whistler nightlife scene including upcoming events at Whistler.com