January 6, 2010
By Jennifer Miller
See the original article here
Vinyl obsession takes Arkwell to the Games
Local DJ set to provide musical energy at Sliding Centre events
They don’t call him DJ Vinyl Ritchie for nothin’. Whistler’s own Scott Arkwell has been DJing in the resort since the early 1990s and the thing that sets him apart from the masses is — you guessed it — vinyl.
In an era saturated with MP3s and electronic music files, Arkwell, a.k.a. Vinyl Ritchie, is one of the few DJs who still carts his milk crates full of records to each show. He works exclusively with records, and has a special place in his heart for 45s.
“That’s what I grew up with and learned how to DJ on,” he said. “The origins of DJ culture were based on records.”
While some might think his passion for vinyl leaves Arkwell stuck in the dark ages of DJing, the folks at the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Organizing Committee (VANOC) beg to differ.
They’ve selected Arkwell to provide the soundtrack for competitions at the Whistler Sliding Centre during the Games. Plus, Arkwell and fellow local DJ Mat the Alien will cap off the final Fire and Ice Remix show of the Olympics with a set on Feb. 27 in Skiers Plaza.
But to be fair, members of VANOC weren’t the first to recognize Arkwell’s unique talents. Aside from a 20-year career in Whistler’s nightclubs, festivals and beyond, Arkwell’s Olympic affiliation began at the 2006 Torino Games. He and Mat the Alien played at a handful of parties hosted by Tourism B.C. and Whistler Blackcomb at Canada House in Torino.
Then last winter, Arkwell was invited to spin tunes at the Whistler Sliding Centre and Cypress Mountain for World Cup events in sliding sports and snowboarding, respectively.
“I guess they liked what I did, so they hollered back for the Sliding Centre (during the Games),” he said. “It’s a great honour just to be asked.”
Arkwell said he’ll be on hand to keep spectators entertained and energized as they arrive at the venue before the competitions begin. He’ll also play music during the events — even though they can’t hear it on the track, some athletes actually request a special song to be played during their run, he said.
With a style he describes as “very eclectic,” it’s hard to say what kind of tunes you’ll hear from Arkwell at the Sliding Centre and in Skiers Plaza on Feb. 27. Everything from punk to country, reggae to old-school funk is bound to be in the offering, he said. Though the music will be accessible to everyone, you likely won’t hear a lot of Top 40, he added.
“I’m not playing underground music up there by any means,” Arkwell said.
Originally from Halifax, Arkwell said he remembers getting his first record at age 8. He collected records for a while, and when hip-hop started taking off in the mid-1980s he started DJing for fun because he was too young to go to clubs.
Eventually moving to Whistler in about 1990 to “live the dream” of snowboarding, Arkwell auditioned for a part-time DJing job at the Savage Beagle nightclub. “I’ve sort of been wrapped up in it ever since,” he said.
Music and DJing have allowed him to live the Whistler dream, he said. And now, with the Olympic gigs, his parents finally think of his DJing as a legitimate job, Arkwell said with a laugh.
Before and after the Games, you can find DJ Vinyl Ritchie spinning 45s every Thursday night at the Firerock Lounge in the Westin.
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