It's not very often you hear of someone moving to Whistler to pursue their music career—but that's exactly what Julian Price did.
And it turns out, it was the right call.
"There are a lot of shows and not that many people to play them," Price says.
Hailing from Western Australia, he did his first season in the resort in 2014-15 after landing in Vancouver and realizing that job opportunities abound in Whistler in November.
"The first time I was here I didn't do much riding at all," he says. "The jam night and the music scene was my Whistler experience. There's this whole world tucked away off the mountain."
He returned for his second stint in the mountains last August with the goal of playing music around town as frequently as possible. Soon after, he garnered attention by making it to the finals of Whistler's New Music Search at The Crystal Lounge with his unique acoustic spin on '90s grunge era favourites—with a few pop songs thrown in for good measure. (Imagine Katy Perry's "Roar" sung by Eddie Vedder.)
"It got my foot in the door at The Crystal and it meant when I was approaching other bars for playing I had that on the resume," he says. "It was a good selling point ... It got my face around town and achieved what I'd hoped. It's a testament to what that competition is all about."
Since then, you can find him regularly playing gigs at The Crystal Lounge, Black's Pub and Brickworks. Those venues have also helped him connect with other musicians in the scene. "I've been playing five or six times a month solo or with others," he says.
The "others" include Northern Ignition, Lozen and Big Band Love. While Price says he enjoys playing solo, the most fun he has is with a bass strapped over his shoulder.
"For me, playing bass in a band is the most fun thing by a long shot, but I do like the challenge of playing solo and going the distance of three sets and taking a song and trying to squeeze it into my set up," he says.
Next up: he's planning to connect with local musician Jeremy Parnell, whose new album Rugs has won Price over. "We've just decided to work on a live show together, performing his album as a duo," he says. "I'll be backing him on vocals and keyboard and percussion and bass and guitar. Hopefully we can record a live album at some point."
For now, you can catch him at various venues around town, including at The Crystal Lounge on Thursday, April 26 and at Brickworks on May 10.
Audiences will hear a little bit of everything. "(I bring) something new in a sense of bringing something old," Price says. "It's a little bit eclectic as well. There aren't heaps of Alice in Chains fans around, but there's always one. It's nice to be able to play things a little bit from left field and still get a response."