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Living the DJ dream

Billy the Kid sprinkles a little Gold-Coast party dust on his Whistler gigs

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Now is the quiet time for Whistler DJ Billy the Kid (BTK, a.k.a. Billy Shearer) — he's normally an energetic powerhouse performing five gigs a week at this time of year compared with winter weeks, where he plays 10 or more shows.

"It gets quieter at this time of year, thank God. Ten or 11 gigs is crazy — two or three gigs a day with six nights. Oh, God," he says.

The schedule includes shows at Merlin's, Tommy Africa's, Garfinkel's, with a "patio gig thrown in there somewhere."

Originally from Australia's Gold Coast, BTK saw an advertisement for Canada after university and thought he'd give it six months. He has now been in Whistler four-and-a-half years.

"I'm living the DJ dream, I guess," he laughs. "I haven't had to do a proper day's work in almost three years,"

BTK had never DJed before coming here, it was a happy accident that brought him to it.

"My brother was a DJ at home, so I kind of had a half idea of what it meant. My whole family loves music. I started bussing at The Longhorn and they needed a Friday night DJ," he recalls.

"They saw I knew every word to every song and had a bit of character about me, so they said 'OK, you can DJ.' I told them I didn't think that was how it works."

Like anyone offered a surprising and potentially fantastic opportunity, BTK thought he'd give it a shot.

"My first real gig was Tough Mudder in front of 700 people on the Longhorn patio. I was thrown in the deep end, let me tell ya! It was quite easy, I just played all '80s rock stuff."

His musical choices can reflect the weather — reggae for sunshine, of course — and after a long trip to Mexico, anything Spanish goes, too.

"I have a well-rounded love for music. I like trap and Melbourne bounce, too. I like to take risks because it helps me see what people like. Whistler is an offshoot of everything; you can't pick just one genre here and make a living out of it," he says.

He credits Katrina Frew at Gibbons Whistler for encouraging his DJing dream.

What else has the man from the Gold Coast gotten out of being in Canada? In a word — hockey."Hockey is my passion at the moment, I'm playing in a spring league. I figured Canadians can do it, so can I. Hockey was one thing that was so different to anything I can tried at home," he laughs.

It's a great life, he says.

"It's about the people. I'm a really social person and I had no ambition to DJ before coming here, but the fact that they pay me to play music to my friends, you can give something to people," he says.

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