Shambhala Music Festival Interview

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Posted by Jake Dubconscious | December 23, 2014

The 45 RPM funk-master, a pioneer of precise pitch control, the grandaddy of the west coast DJ scene – Vinyl Ritchie – blessed The Living Room Stage on Friday night this year between Czech and Max Ulis, with this widely varied, yet totally cohesive and wildly clever genre-hopping two-hour set. Mixing between Aerosmith and Wu-Tang with complete ease, dropping chunky techno and latin-influenced house beats amongst classic rap, metal and pop, offering quick-witted commentary throughout – this is Vinyl Ritchie at his best. Vancouver, don’t miss him this Saturday Dec 27th at the Electric Owl, and Edmonton has the pleasure of spending New Year’s Eve with Vinyl Ritchie at The Common!

(SMF): So an obvious starting point: when did you start coming to/performing at Shambhala, and which stages have you played so far?

(VR): Can’t really recall what year I started coming to Shambhala. You might have to ask the The Pride or Richie Rich. I know it was really early on in the game.

I have been fortunate enough to play Living Room, Fractal, Main Stage (now Pagoda), Village, and a hair metal/skid rock renegade stage.

Throwing it back from there, can you tell us where you grew up and what inspired you to start collecting records? Is there a story behind the name Vinyl Ritchie?

I grew up in a Canadian military family that moved around a lot.

MUSIC is what inspired me to collect records!

There’s no real story behind the Vinyl Ritchie moniker. I worked with an MC called Lady Precise, and she started calling me that. We just thought it was funny.

Tell us about Soul Kitchen Sundays, if you could. Where does it originate, and what does it represent now?

Soul Kitchen Sundays was started in Whistler in the early 90’s by my big brother, mentor & homie, DJ Czech. At the time we were trying to break new records & music. This was before DJs were trendy. This was at a time when electronic music genres & sub-genres were few & far between. There was no established sounds as of yet. The clubs & club goers at the time weren’t into hip hop, funk, techno, jazz , rock, d&b, house, reggae etc. We were some of the first West Coast DJs to explore & fuse all these influences together. (Way before the stupid term Mash-up, came about, we used to call it DJing).

Czech and I both had full time residencies at clubs, but we had to play a lot of schlock. We wanted to play some new shit so we approached the club about doing a night that catered to more ”underground” sounds. Czech had the insightful idea to hit the club up & ask them to do an ”underground night” on their least busiest night of the week, which happened to be a Sunday. Soul Kitchen Sundays was born & it was one of the first nights of its kind in North America to cater to the new emerging sound & promote DJs from all over the world. It turned into one of the most prolific & legendary nights, fulfilling an obvious niche. Over the years Czech and I would replicate the Soul Kitchen ”business model” (Haha) in other venues on the West Coast & across Canada & we would curate some of the most legendary club nights in history. Zoo Boogaloo, The Bump, Poo! (Funky Shit Happens), & Big Sexy Funk – RIP.

The reason it worked is simple. SOUL is the root of all good music. Genre doesn’t matter. Today, the Soul Kitchen Sundays legacy continues as a radio show, in it’s original time slot, 10pm – 12am on Sunday nights on 101.5 Whistler FM hosted by me & the beautiful Foxy Moron.

A lot of people get you and Paul Oakenfold mixed up, could you tell us why that is?

…Paul who?

You are also a part of the group Wicked Lester, can you tell us more about that project? Anything new in the works we should be keeping an eye out for? Any insight you could offer on how the name came about?

Wicked Lester is Canadian songwriting duo formed in 1998.

Made up of 2010 Emmy nominated musician/producer and all around workhorse Brian Carson and DJ/producer/David Hasselhoff look alike, DJ Vinyl Ritchie. We have released over 25 records & over 3 full length albums that not many people have heard. We have been ripped off numerous times. Industry rule number four thousand and eighty, record company people are shady…

We are currently working on our 4th full length studio album which is almost done. We have licensed numerous tracks to video games, commercials, soundtracks, movies etc.

We came up with the name Wicked Lester because we thought it sounded funny. Apparently the band KISS was called Wicked Lester before they decided on using the name KISS. Purely coincidence.

It was inevitable that technology would change the Dj game.

Even though the roots of DJ culture stem from people playing records, there was a few lean years that the industry & the party goers alike considered DJs like myself to be old, rinsed out, passé or obsolete.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Hoola, Lion-S, Richie Rich and The Farm for their continued support & validation through recognizing that people playing records are still important. Thank you for helping keep VINYL alive!

I am forever grateful!

Thanks for your time Ritchie, always looking forward to your sets on the Farm – see you next year!

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