The DJ duo formerly known as Livingstone & Canosis didn't really get a say in their name change.
The pair — known individually as Tim Livingstone and Dave "Canosis" Rollie — knew their moniker was too long and clunky for tipsy audiences to remember in a hungover haze post-party, but they couldn't settle on an alternative. "We had quite a few releases out as Livingstone & Canosis that had done quite well, so we were hesitant to change the name," Livingstone says.
Tired of the indecision, friend and fellow DJ Timothy Wisdom took matter into his own hands, plugging in a mic at the end of the pair's Bass Coast Project set last summer to make an announcement. "He made us stop the music and he said, 'I'm going to rename you guys,'" Livingstone says.
Adds Rollie, "He was like, 'Who in this crowd thinks that this name is too long?' Everyone was kind of yelling. He said, 'We should change the name tonight to SkiiTour.'"
After a similar introduction at the popular Shambhala electronic music festival a few weekends later, it was settled. They were SkiiTour.
"We did a photo shoot with ski gear and we're going to do a tour to ski towns in March," says Livingstone.
"But we both snowboard," Rollie adds.
Newly christened, they will release their first SkiiTour EP Jan. 21 with a party to follow on Jan. 23 at the GLC. Vancouver's The Funk Hunters, with whom they collaborated on two of the three tracks, will headline. Fully Loaded Vol. 4, is coming out on the Funk Hunters' ReSoul Records label.
A standout track, "Whole Lotta Drop," was one of the first the pair worked on shortly after their fateful meeting in the summer of 2011 when Livingstone wandered by a local café where Rollie was flipping burgers and blasting obscure tunes. They instantly bonded over the tracks and began DJing and crafting songs together soon after.
One of those lesser-known bands Rollie touted was The Dynamics, a reggae soul group from France that covers a staggeringly diverse cross-section of music, from The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" to Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love."
Rollie attempted to remix the latter song, but couldn't quite get it right. It wasn't until he passed the track on to The Funk Hunters' Nick Middleton (a.k.a. the Outlier) that it began to take shape as "Whole Lotta Drop," with a skittering beat, funky vocals and Led Zep's original hook.
"We work on (songs) in sections," Livingstone says. "Making a song, you get your ideas and sounds in there then it's a whole massive process getting it to sound good and tweaking the levels. Nick's really, really good at (the) finishing the song part."
Other tracks on the EP include the Don Henley-sampled "Filthy Laundry" and "The Plan," which has been a crowd favourite since it was released on several mixtapes last summer.
"It's a really solid EP," Livingstone says. "'The Plan' has been one of the most requested songs of The Funk Hunters... everyone has asked for a copy of that. It's been really tight with who's gotten copies of (the EP). That's the way the DJ culture is nowadays: Once the track's released it almost loses its value because everyone wants to have tracks no one else has. You try to hold onto it as long as possible."
In other words, solid tracks have become currency among DJs, with top names bartering singles. The unofficial system gives added incentive to put out good, original music, he adds. "Once your heroes are giving you some of their tracks — which has happened to us and we're giving them tracks — it's the best," Livingstone says. "Then we have exclusive tracks to play."
The duo has hit a string of career highs since partnering up, from the aforementioned Shambhala set to watching their debut single soar and stick on JunoDownload, a dance download website. Next up: they want to create tracks free of samples and the complications that come with snipping clips of other band's music. "The only way you can make money in music is having your stuff (licensed) for a movie or video game. It would be awesome to have a non-sample based album," Livingstone says.
Still, the pair is a proponent of revamping copyright laws to keep up with the rapidly changing music landscape. "I think copyright should last 10 years at the most then everything should be in the public domain," Livingstone says. "That's the only way things will progress forward. You can't have stuff copyrighted forever."
Their Zeppelin-inspired song is an example of this shift. By the time they finished with it, the 70s rock track was twice removed from its original form. "People love to hear new sounds, but everybody likes to hear a song they know," Livingstone says. "It just breathes life into old songs. What I think about is everyone who's listening to this crazy dubstep. I can't wait to see when they're grandparents saying, 'All this crazy (new music) is noise."
The EP will be available for download at junodownload.com on Jan. 21.