Entertainment

Kelowna's Stickybuds gets a whiff of success

A homegrown success story, local DJ Tyler Martens is touring the world doing what he loves and earning a good living for his efforts.

Local DJ Tyler Martens, aka Stickybuds, was home this week for a couple of days.

It's getting to be a rarity.

Whether he's in New Zealand or Australia, in Europe or Hong Kong, the one place he only sees sporadically is his own bed in Kelowna.

"I pretty much never stop working," he said. "I'm booked every weekend."

At 29 years old, a decade into his career, he's earned himself resident artist status at the Shambhala Music Festival in the Kootenay town of Salmo and has played the biggest clubs in Ibiza, Spain. He's dropped a few beats at Burning Man, a famed week-long artistic community experiment in Nevada, and shaken up the Splore Festival in New Zealand.

If this means nothing to you, it's enough to say that in six years he plans to retire to a tropical beach, having earned enough money to simply dabble in producing music. And he will have made his way doing something he loves.

What is it about the electronic scene that got his attention?

"People have a smile on their face and can connect with their friends. It's happy music," he says in interview from Kelowna, between gigs.

It's also something that can be broken down into components.

While Martens describes his sound as electronic party funk, he's capable of producing a pretty wide range of drum beats and bass lines and melodies others can use to build their own music; and he is about to release a production kit to generate an ongoing stream of royalties.

Everyone who worked on the project is from Kelowna—as is his manager.

StickybudsMartens earned his stripes at the Centre for Arts and Technology, in the Landmark Centre, and was immediately hired to teach audio engineering at the school. By the time he quit the job three years later, he was a full-time instructor who had developed his own curriculum. His ties to the school remain strong.

"CATO actually let me use their $2-million studio to do this project," he said, in reference to the production kit. "So they've been great."

Martens is what one would imagine a model alumni looks like for a training program.

He's so goal-oriented he has tattooed a string of split circles on his forearm that start very small and grow so large the next one in succession, if he were to add one more, would undoubtedly swallow the crook of his arm.

They are crop circles on the surface, he explains. He likes to believe there's more out there than we know about, and the graphic also acts as a constant reminder that his goal is to start small and get bigger with each year he works. This is the time and space to make it happen for himself, he believes.

"If I could only play one place in the world, it would be Canada," he said. "Canadians really like to party hard; we're just not reserved."

This is a hotbed of electronic enthusiasts from his vantage, in no small part because the scene only really took off 15 to 20 years ago, so it's new to Canadians, unlike Europeans.

One need look no further than Wet Ape Productions, the company staging both of Kelowna's main music festivals—Centre of Gravity and Keloha—to back his point.

The company's concert roster is filled with top DJs during the off season and Centre of Gravity has a constant rotation of the artists.

For Martens, this dedicated fan base means he rarely needs to stop working.

With a Facebook Page 15,000 likes strong and a Twitter following of 1,800, he's not exactly Deadmau5, but as the crop circles suggest, Stickybuds has a stealth growth pattern that just might surprise the world.

His latest release, Bouncy Bouncy, hit number one on the Glitch Hop Chart on Beatport.com and he's had six other number one releases in the 22 he's put out.

In order to make it happen, Monday through Thursday he's up when most start work, he works out out, eats three meals a day and works as hard as he can to make use of his productive time. Come each weekend, he's on a plane, then setting up his show to play from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m.

It's perfect, as he sees it; although, if there's one thing he would change, it's Canada's liquor laws.

"I'm just learning about it now, but for people who come over here and find out our clubs close at two in the morning, it's a shock. And it does affect my business," he said.

It won't be a problem this week. For now, he's off to the Netherlands.

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