Of John Coltrane and Kenny G... 

Garaj Mahal bass player Kai Eckhardt brings Whistler up to speed


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PIQUE : It’s an advantage then that you and the other members have maintained your European connections.

KE: What we’ve discovered is that people do remember. Even if it’s 10 years back, if people come to a show that really moves them, they’ll remember. That’s the beautiful thing about our profession. The best publicity that we can come up with is to really deliver and to provide an evening where everyone says: "I’m glad I came. This was time well spent." This is what we hope to achieve and we hope to do this again when we come back to Canada.

PIQUE : I would say you’ve achieved that in Whistler. People talk about and anticipate your shows. What do you think made the connection for the band with the Whistler audience?

KE: We just love Canada. We love Canada on many levels and of course Whistler is stunning in terms of location. The people are friendly. There’s a certain kind of "looseness" in Canada that we like – looseness combined with being politically and socially aware and awake. Right now, all of us in Garaj Mahal have to agree that we’re not happy with the way the United States government is leading the country and where things are going. We always look to Canada as a place that’s holding its own. It’s a little bit of a sanctuary when we come over there.

There’s the loyalty of the Upstream Entertainment people, bringing us over and continually delivering. We always stay at the Shoestring Lodge and it’s always nice if we have more than one day in a place. We get to rehearse during the day. We can socialize. We can be human. That’s why we always look forward to coming there again.

PIQUE : Are you aware Boot and the Shoestring have been bought and will likely be torn down?

KE: We heard. We actually thought our last gig was the last gig, so we’re excited the time has been expanded a little bit. The Boot is a funky little room because it has a lot of wood inside and a wooden room usually sounds good for the type of music we play. Glass, stone, metal – it hurts the ears. The frequencies bounce off the walls too hard. Wood absorbs. I just hope we can find a place where we can continue this. That it’s not dependent on that one place that we come to Whistler.

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