Photo courtesy of Rebecca Blissett
Reminiscing on a decade of West Coast House, the folks at Nordic Trax have a record-box of memories.
Luke McKeehan, the label’s founder, is most thrilled the label has helped some people make music their day jobs. He’s travelled to a tiny club in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, which now holds monthly Nordic Trax nights. And as label head, McKeehan said he’s proud of ignoring the notoriously fickle trends in electronic music, focusing instead on releasing tracks that are a little slower and more “vibey” than elsewhere.
“A lot of labels I looked up to in 1997 have disappeared, and we’re still around,” he said. “We did things our way and we’re still around … We released original Vancouver artists … not the latest MC Mario Dance Mix.”
DJ Jay Tripwire, a long-time label collaborator, released his first album, Gemini Soul, to coincide with the anniversary. While no fan of Vancouver’s rain, Tripwire has wistful memories of club nights and warehouse parties from 10 years ago. “The whole city has become so conservative,” he said. “(Vancouver’s) not as fun a city as it was 10, 12, 15 years ago … All the cool clubs and cool warehouse parties people got away with are gone.”
McKeehan also had nostalgia for the early days, when he said diverse crowds gathered to hear a variety of music, before splintering into dozens of sub-genres. He said tastes that are too specific — for example, only listening to tech-house or electro-house — aren’t healthy for a music scene and can fragment a community.
“(Before) hip-hop promoters, skaters, and the gay scene were all under one roof — it was all one alternative scene,” he said. “Now everyone has their own scene, now it’s not so tight at those events.”