Electronic music has been growing in popularity over the last decade creating events that bring out groups of people in the hundreds to the hundred thousands.
Lethbridge has seen a desired increase in the computer generated genre of music with the uprising of local DJs booking venues for events and the creation of the Lethbridge Electronic Music Festival in 2011.
Local DJ Dave Fritz who also goes by “Marty Funkhauser,” found his love for the sound and inspiration for becoming a DJ when he left his home town of Taber and moved out to Vancouver in the late ’90s.
“I was going to parties and saw the guys up playing and looked up to them because I wanted to be that guy. Electronic music was interesting to me and it was pretty much up from then,” said Fritz.
Fritz developed his style from his love of the classical sounds of disco, jazz and soul music. Influenced by the underground sensation Derrick Carter’s mix of old-school disco and soulful sound, Fritz found himself attached to the music creation.
After ten years of playing in the coastal city, Fritz found his way back to Lethbridge where he decided to keep mixing and playing. He got the chance to play at the first Lethbridge Electronic Music Festival and jumped on the organizing committee for the next year and has worked his way up to the title of president of the committee.
The festival marked its sixth year of transforming Galt Gardens into a community inclusive wonderland for electronic music and art to be celebrated. Fritz says that the community has grown the festival quite a bit since it started.
“When it first started there was two stages and about 500 people compared to last year where we had three stages and around 6,000 people throughout the day, so it is growing all the time,” said Fritz.
Funkhauser has mixed music for a number so festivals including Vibrant Festival in Invermere, B.C, Fozzy Fest in B.C and Shindig Rave, which takes place in London, England.
Being a regular festival-goer, Fritz has found supportive and inclusive groups within the electronic music community, which he says is the best thing about playing the music.
“It is super awesome to see people come together on the dance floor and if you have had a crappy day or week you can just get on the dancefloor and forget your stuff because just about everyone is there for that and it’s built a nice community around that,” said Fritz.
With technology growing bigger and better every day, the way a DJ mixes their music has become more simple and more accessible.
“I started on vinyl records and back then you actually had to go out and buy records and pay around $10 or $20 a record… Now everything is a lot more accessible and it is easier to travel with,” chuckled Fritz.
Preparing the final plans for his upcoming show, Fritz has helped plan a big party for the tenth anniversary of the “Throw your Panties” party. Teaming up with Infamous Board Shop to kick off the ski and snowboard season, the party is full of giveaways and music.
“We have A.Skillz coming from London for his first show here, so it will be pretty cool to have him because he has headlined Shambhala Music Festival the last few years and he has a great sound,” said Fritz.
Technology and style may have changed since the ’90s, but Funkhauser hasn’t changed his passion for the process of creation. Preparing for his upcoming show, partiers are prepared to get funky to the soulful, disco-tech set that he will bring.