Kytami takes a bow 

The EDM violinist extremist returns to Whistler where she started, performing at Tommy Africa's on June 26

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Snowboarding to performance Kytami started her career at the Dubh Linn Gate.
  • Photo submitted
  • Snowboarding to performance Kytami started her career at the Dubh Linn Gate.

Violinist extremist Kytami lived in Whistler for a decade, leaving to launch her career in electronic dance music in 2002.

With 15 minutes to spare before boarding a plane at YVR, she is surprisingly unrushed over the phone. She says she is happy to be fitting the resort into a summer of festival performances.

"I moved to Whistler right after high school and fell love with snowboarding," Kytami recalls.

"I wasn't playing. I didn't really know where I wanted to take music at the time. I was fiddling a little bit at the Dubh Linn Gate — I taught myself how to fiddle — and I decided I wanted to make my own music and not play cover songs.

"I gradually had the feeling that I wanted to start my music career."

So she did.

She has no regrets about Whistler being the incubator of her skills and says she was influenced by the resort's vibrant music culture.

The plane is taking her to the Evolve Festival in New Brunswick. Victoria-based Kytami says she is looking forward to feeling "some amazing festival energy." She will be getting plenty of that this summer. After Evolve, it's Electric Love, Atmosphere and Shambhala.

"Evolve is one of the biggest music festivals in Eastern Canada, I'm zinging out there and then I'm coming straight back," she says.

As well, Kytami tries to get to the States annually, last time opening for Kelowna dubstep and trap DJ Datsik.

A co-founder of West Coast fusion artists Delhi 2 Dublin, Kytami has released three solo albums to date.

The eight-track LP Renegade, her most recent, came out in March. The video for her track "Listen Up" featuring Deriek Simon was released on July 12.

"I have my own studio in Victoria, and this album was the first time I didn't go into other people's studios. It was my own space where I could really explore the full capabilities of my creativity without feeling as though there was a time limit," Kytami says.

But she laughs as she adds that the flipside of such freedom meant that she spent two years pulling it together.

"We really kind of went geek on it!"

A lot of songs were written in the process and Kytami is now sitting on a treasure trove of new material that will be released later.

"There are ideas on the hard drive that we can get to now that this album is out. It shouldn't be two years again until the next one," she says.

A classically trained violinist, Kytami took that discipline and her own training as a fiddler and developed a wild sound that works in tandem with a console.

"I work with electronic music producers and combine my styles of violin playing primarily with drum and bass, but also with other styles of dance music, like dub step and breaks and hip hop," Kytami says.

She and her partner in music, DJ Phonik Ops, perform at Tommy Africa's on Wednesday, July 26, at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10 on Showpass.

Asked if Phonik Ops' backup allows her to freely explore the violin's potential in live music, she agrees.

"We've been playing together for over two years. We have a great working relationship. The set isn't all original music, we're constantly switching up the set with different tracks. Some come from other producer friends, some are tracks that I love or he has dug up," Kytami says.

"It's pretty interactive. I really like that the cutting and scratching sections are almost like an instrument. I really like that element in the set."

Playing an electronic violin in a club setting remains unusual, she says. Kytami has performed with other types of bands that are more used to a bow and strings, but likes this approach.

Technology made music more democratic, with EDM tunes being created in people's bedrooms, but now it's moving back to embracing instruments.

"It's changing. There are more producers that come from musical backgrounds and have trained on instruments, and there is also a lot more technology — drum machines and looping controllers — and this makes it more interactive," Kytami says.

"I think there is still a lot of potential for instrumentalists and electronic music producers. It's pretty exciting times."

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