Late last year, Vinyl Ritchie made a longtime goal come true.
Back in 2013, the Whistlerite (who you might also know as Scott Arkwell) was DJing après at the GLC with the founder of Motown on Mondays in the crowd.
Arkwell knew about the worldwide dance party that aims to spread Motown music around the globe every Monday, and was pleased when he reached out after his set.
“He said he liked what I was doing and hollered at me,” Arkwell says. “I played an event they had in Honolulu and it was really cool. I wanted to do one in Whistler.”
Fast-forward to November 2022. “It was just time to offer something different to the village.”
First, Arkwell found a venue in The Raven Room (“It seemed like a perfect venue, and they were into it”) and then he recruited two other DJs to join him.
“We have Whistler Soul Club, who is from Manchester originally and he’s a good ol’ soul boy, and we have Foxy Moron … We all just pull records out of our collection,” Arkwell says.
Aside from featuring Motown music—new and old—that’s the other novelty of the night. Every week, the three DJs pick seven-inch records (which generally only have one single per side) from their collections and haul them in crates down to the venue.
“Some people don’t know what they are,” Arkwell says. “They think they’re CDs.”
As for DJing a set with vinyl versus a laptop or even a USB stick, “there’s a lot more to it,” he says. “It’s a way more delicate touch.”
“People are curious. We set up right on the bar in there, too. Right when you walk in the door, people see us and can see the crate and the records. Some people don’t give a toss and others are like, ‘What is that?’”
So far, the reaction to Motown music has been similar. But Arkwell has an argument for young Whistlerites who are strictly into hip hop or EDM.
“If you’re into DJ culture or hip hop or soul music, this is the roots of DJing culture,” he says. “House music, drum ’n’ bass, the roots of everything that’s happening right now started in the ’60s and ’70s. If you’re into that sort of thing, this is the foundation of it.”
The weekly event’s clientele might currently skew slightly older—and Sheringham Distillery sponsors the night with “fancy spirits”—but it offers a chill evening for anyone.
“We like to keep it a nice volume,” Arkwell adds. “Rap with our friends, have a nice cocktail, get cosy. It’s not about pounding beats and dancing. It’s about sharing some records that somebody might like to hear.”
For his part, organizing the new night gave Arkwell the chance to finally meet Ben Keating, the man behind Soul Club Whistler.
“He’s been championing soul music every chance he gets,” he says. “We had always talked to each other online—we had been chatting for three or four years—but had never met until this night started. We met on the very first Monday night. It’s like we’ve known each other for years.”
Catch Motown on Mondays at The Raven Room from 10 p.m. until 1 a.m.