After annual treks up to Whistler over the years to play shows with local DJ Mat the Alien, Anthony Traynor decided it was time to make a move.
"Every time has just been amazing, so I just thought, 'Why not see if I can start my own night here?' And Maxx Fish came back to me," he says.
Traynor is better known as PropaTingz, a producer and DJ who discovered electronic dance music through the UK rave scene in the '80s. After earning a fine arts degree in London, he moved to America where he found the Burning Man crowd and began to delve into producing his own music. Bouncing from San Francisco to Las Vegas, Hawaii to L.A., he started to make a name for himself before following a (now ex) girlfriend to Vancouver. "The relationship didn't work out, but I love Vancouver," he says. "It's got a very strong underground scene, but it's not the same edge as, say, L.A. It's a good place to enjoy life, but I wouldn't say it's a great place to be successful as a musician."
Coming up to Whistler, though, he was surprised to discover a thriving EDM scene. "I was like, 'Oh my God, what is this place?'" he says. "It's like Shangri La. Then I went to Maxx Fish and it was amazing, just wall-to-wall heaving, people wanting to take the roof off."
He's since discovered that international acts from around the world know Whistler's vibrant scene, which now includes his new residency at Maxx Fish on Sundays. Nearly a month in, the event has been slow to attract mass attention, he says, but there are plans to build. "I have a live project I'm working on and a series of EPs coming out. I'll be relocating my studio up here to Whistler as well," he says. "(I'll also) just be building the night, really, and building buzz around the night. We'll be doing some podcasts. I'm going to be pulling some (local) talent and giving them exposure with the night."
PropaTingz night features Traynor's DJ chops mixed with some original material, which he describes as a collision of genres, from dubstep to moombahton and experimental drum and bass. "There are even some soulful elements in there," he says. "Two-step garage is also making a comeback."
He's collaborated and remixed with big name producers like Bassnectar and Freq Nasty and offers something different to the scene here, he says, "Not because I'm any better than any other producers, just because I have my own approach. I come from the UK and... in the UK you're fighting just to get noticed. I love that edge and that edge is in the music."
That influence goes back to the aforementioned rave scene Traynor found himself in decades ago. "To dance with 30,000 other people totally illegally — police couldn't do anything about it (with so) many people and it was so underground," he says. "The way you would find your way to one of these parties is you would have a little flyer and you'd call this number and you'd go to this place and they'd give you another number to call. The next thing you know you're in a field with 30,000 people."
He found a different, yet equally influential scene in Burning Man more recently, he adds. The freedom there to express creativity "whether it's to run around naked or to meditate" was what prompted him to first start producing in 2005. "There's also a strong psychological, spiritual element to it," he says. "There's this old school hippie ethos of expressing yourself."
Hoping to find more of that inspiration, he's currently in the process of making Whistler his home. "If you chat to any DJ who's touring on the circuit they're like, 'I want to play Whistler,'" he says. "They know it's just a crazy place to play. It's one of the liveliest crowds. The idea being that with the podcast, we can reach out to more of an international audience and bring a lot more exposure to Whistler general."