A snow machine in the hot summer sun: how Skiitour makes festival friends 

Whistler DJ duo plays their first headline gig at GLC

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Dave Rollie just might be the "cheeky one" from Whistler DJ duo SkiiTour; he knows how to trip up journalistic clichés and for this all readers should be grateful.

Background: he and Tim Livingstone are on an Okanagan mini-tour and have arrived in Kelowna.

"What are you guys doing at the moment?" I ask over the phone. An excruciatingly vague question by which I mean the tour, musical output, etc.

"We're currently turning west onto Hartwick Street," Rollie says.

D'oh. Fair enough. We all laugh. They have a lot of reasons to be lighthearted; the guys have had a good 12 months since they launched their first EP and a great two years since they started the adventure.

They play what could be their anniversary gig, their first headlining night, at the Garibaldi Lift Company on Jan. 17.

They are constantly working on new music, they said, pretty much all the time. One recent track got to #11 on Beatports' Top 100 Glitch-Hop charts in November.

"We've pinched the hose here and we've got a ton of music coming out really soon," Rollie says of their new output.

And they now have the fan base to show it off to.

Says Livingstone: "We're just beginning to do the tour circuit. We're playing a lot of places and trying to build up our fan base so that we can continue."

Rollie joins in: "We get lots of good feedback. Every time we post something saying that we are coming to a town, other people in other towns are wanting us to go there. It gets a bit more exciting when people want you to come to their town."

It's like a snowball rolling downhill, gaining scale and momentum.

"For sure in the last year, the snowball has been getting bigger especially after Shambhala," Livingstone says.

Skiitour performed at the Shambhala electronic music festival in the Kootenays last summer, the second time they've played.

"We've been putting in a lot of time and I guess our song production has been getting a lot sharper, our DJ sets are getting a lot tighter everything just sounded better. Ever since Shambhala things have exploded for us to the point where we're getting messages every week from people wanting us to play. It's really exciting," Livingstone says.

Rollie says: "We just did what we thought best, sending out a couple of songs here and there, collaborating with some key people in the same scene, stealing some of their fans. Through the collabs we've done with other artists it got us exposure.

"The first year we did Shambhala there wasn't that many people at our show and then the next year we did it, last summer, there was about 1,000. It was a massive, massive help. A fun start to the festival... super-high energy."

Then there are the props. It doesn't hurt to bring a snow machine to a sweltering summer outdoor festival.

"We went and bought a bloody great snow machine because we want to create something unique, so we advertised it as an Après Ski Party at Shambhala. It was something else. We bring it to each show now," Livingstone laughs.

"We're thinking of getting a second snow machine, actually."

The partiers and fans also showed up in retro ski gear, now SkiiTour's trademark.

"It was amazing. It's 30-degree C sweltering heat and it's quite the spectacle. It's become a thing," he says.

The pair learned a lot from DJs coming through Whistler, says Livingstone. Some put their heads down and concentrated on their systems, this didn't get a great crowd response. They decided to go the other way, which got the best response.

"We try to interact with the crowd a lot and party as hard as the people at the show. They 100 per cent appreciate that. The energy we put out just comes right back to us. We've watched some of the best producers come through Whistler in the last five or six years and taken what we can learn from each of them and pulled together something we can call our own," he says.

Speaking of Garibaldi Lift Co. (GLC)


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