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SnowBash of the season

DJ series offers up performances by DJs Steve Aoki, Dopey, Hedspin, Nick Thayer and Sydney Blu



What: SnowBash DJ series

When: Monday, April 20 to Friday, April 24

Where: Garfinkel's, Moe Joe's, Savage Beagle, Tommy Africa's

Cost: $10 to $20, $40 for all shows

If there wasn't already enough on the partygoers' agenda with official Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival events, it looks like there's a whole host of opportunities to check out some amazing DJ talents at private clubs around town, as well.

Jordan Goodman is the owner/operator of Toronto-based Clear World Productions. They produce tours like the annual MTV Lovefest Tour, which takes place in September and October, and now, they're organizing a "world class" DJ series event just for Whistler, dubbed SnowBash.

"We organize concert tours and do events during those times where there are other high-profile events across the country," Goodman explained.

The series, which Goodman hopes will become an annual event, is being held during the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival, effectively piggybacking on the massive event and showcasing an international lineup of DJs, including Steve Aoki, who headlines at Garfinkel's on Monday, April 20, Dopey and Hedspin, who team up for a show at Moe Joe's the following evening, the Aussie mash-up master, Nick Thayer, who returns to the Savage Beagle on Wednesday, April 22, and Sydney Blu rounding off the lineup at Tommy Africa's on Friday, April 24.

"We wanted to bring a diverse lineup of artists that can cater to all of the skiers, snowboarders and festival goers," he explained. "...We wanted to have a diverse roster of artists so we could hit all of the genres of music that the younger generation like."

Tickets are $20 for the headlining show with Steve Aoki, and $10 for the remaining three performances, but you can score a pass to all four shows for just $40 at www.clubzone.com .

One of the artists on-board for SnowBash is Jon Ryan Santiago, though he's better known on the DJ circuit as Dopey.

He was introduced to the craft at the age of 13 while growing up in Toronto, after he started watching movies like " Juice " and hip hop documentaries with his older brother.

"I think really for me, I was always listening to a lot of the radio shows, like mastermind, out here, and there was a good little scene here in the early, mid-90s," he recalled. "...It kind of just really intrigued me on how these cats would be doing live remixes and even just the raw battle and the feeling that it had."

After going to see the DMC championships in 1996, he was inspired to get up on stage and join the battle scene.

"These guys just had an attitude behind the turntables that just really moved the whole crowd as well, while they were up there being cocky. It was just so cool to me," he said with a laugh.

But it was the performance rush that really captured Dopey's attention, and left him entrenched in the scene.

"Especially on the head-to-head battles, where you're actually taking on an opponent to two rounds, 60 seconds each, that's when it was really exciting to me, because you're just bringing this raw hip hop battling feel to it," he said.

When he was just starting out in the industry, he would make weekly runs to record stores to build a base collection.

"For us guys that kind of came up on records, sound and selection was always really key," Dopey said. "And technicality was always second to actual sound and musicality of things."

Today, while he certainly doesn't go as frequently, he still makes a point of digging for new vinyl, especially when traveling.

"That's when I really like to look at things and see what I can find that's kind of obscure," he said.

But first and foremost, battling it out at the turntables also requires a certain amount of bravado and showmanship.

"You definitely have to have some kind of swagger behind it, because you have to sell it, as well," he added.

When he was first emerging on the scene there were a lot of similarly skilled competitors to battle with, helping them to push one another towards the top.

"Back then, we hated each other," he said, adding that they've all mellowed over the years.

Today, he has shared stages with big-name artists like Eminem, Slum Village, Kardinal Offishall, Gang Starr, and Kid Koala, and has a number of impressive battle titles under his belt. In 2003, he captured the DMC championship, which was an "amazing" moment for the young DJ.

"In terms of battling, that's got to be the pinnacle of the career, so it was pretty much a dream realized."

Over his years in the industry, Dopey has definitely witnessed the art of turntablism evolve with the advent of new technology and trends.

"It's really different these days," he said. "A lot of kids are pressing records - and we were pressing records back then, as well - but it's definitely a different ballgame now, when kids can put together their... break records, per se, and have it, practicing the day that they make it on Serato."

But this DIY generation is able to construct its own records, which leads to a smoother, more technical flow.

"It's literally a produced six-minute set, where we would take our little experimental minute sets and put that together into one, whole six-minute set."

Today, on top of a busy touring schedule, Dopey has been spending time in the studio working on material for his group project, Notes to Self. The group just released its EP early last week.

He plans to intersperse a party rocking DJ set with a bit of turntablism during his upcoming performance at Moe Joe's.

"I love Whistler. The vibe there is always just so good and people are really open to kind of hear you play and really hear what you have to offer as a DJ, rather than a fuckin' club DJ where you're forced to play all the big hits and stuff."

For the record

There was a tour scheduling error with the Kaskade show that was written about in last week's music section. The show is not taking place.