I used to fantasize about renting a small cabin in the middle of the woods and holing up with dried food, boxes of wine and as much music gear as I could fit in my truck. There would be no phone, no Internet, and no way out. I’d write and record all day and fall asleep at night in a haze of wine and self-induced loneliness. A month later, I would emerge with a finely crafted album, a shaggy beard, and a glint in my eye.
When I lived in the city, this dream was pure fiction. I worked a lot. And the more I worked, the more tired I was on my days off. The more tired I was, the more my studio gear collected dust. Making music started to feel like a burden.
Then, two years ago, my wife and I took a big leap. We left the city, our jobs, our bedbug-ridden apartment, and bought a house in a small coastal town where we didn’t know a soul.
Making the move to Powell River changed a lot more than my geography. For one thing, I can afford to have a house, which means that I have an actual studio space. No more moving guitars to get into the closet, sitting on my bed to play the synthesizer, or packing up and moving my record collection every year. No more 10 pm thumps on the walls and ceiling. Because of the low cost of living, I can spend less time working – and there’s no traffic on my commute. I calculate that I have an extra 25 hours a week to use for music – as well as for growing food, making wine, and picking wild mushrooms.
In addition, I have met countless talented people who are here practicing a craft, or actively pursuing a dream. It leads to a supportive and inspiring environment – surround yourself with dreamers and you too will catch fire.
Everyone asks about the ferries. Yes, it takes two to get here (and yes, we’re the mainland), but I can still get to Vancouver in five hours door-to-door, and spend three of those hours reading a book, working on a new remix, or checking out breathtaking scenery.
And you don’t have to leave to find inspiration or seek innovative events. Diversity Festival on Texada island has been showcasing talent for ten years, new festivals, including the Aurora Innovative Arts Festival, have been launched; new local bands and DJs keep popping up, and our community radio station, CJMP, has started a monthly live music night with local and out of town acts.
The reality I’m living in this isolated coastal town is even better than my cabin-in-the-woods fantasy. I have all the creative space I want, and I don’t have to be alone. Artists with big ideas are moving here, buying land and buildings and creating a more arts and culture based economy. I’m honoured to be a part of it. Goodbye city, it’s been pretty.
Trevor Refix has DJ’d his unique brand of house music at various clubs and festivals across the province, including at the legendary Shambhala. As Texture & Light he creates indie/electronic crossover music. Texture & Light’s debut album comes out on November 5th. Trevor and his wife live the dream in Powell River.