CHUURCH: Building a base with Lean Bass.

Chuurch has established themselves as one of the most forward-thinking acts in the ever-expanding world of bass music, playing massive numbers of shows and festivals around North America, winning over new fans (UUnion Members, as they've been appropriately dubbed) wherever they lay their beats. As the influence of religious institutions wanes as time goes by, and people find new places to commune, Chuurch may be one of the most aptly named acts in music right now. Their signature 'Lean Bass' is a yin-yang of dark/moody and fun/groovy. Chuurch's is a sound that bridges those gaps between light and dark, welcoming all listeners from wherever they may come from.

“I'm a hip-hop producer, I've produced for Snak the Ripper and a bunch of other cats, and Jeff's (Aka EviCtion) classically trained, he has a degree in jazz theory but he makes electronic music. That's the preface of how it starts. We get into the same room and we really just don't stop,” recalls Justin (aka Makemdef), of the genesis of Chuurch. “We lived in the same house for two years and a bit. We just moved out of there this summer. We went through a lot but the one thing we did was just make beats all the time. All the time. All the time. It's crazy. We had the cops at our house so many times from noise complaints,” he says with a laugh, as he's readying to board  a bus for a 15 hour ride to drop the grooves to the UUnion in and around the West Coast. “I figure in a year or 40 down the road, I'll be looking back at this laughing about those first 15 hour bus rides just to make it work. It's gotta go into the book, for sure.”

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Those years of living together, amassing a huge backlog of music and learning to work relentlessly with each is starting to pay off in spades, as the duo are always showing up to wherever they are called with new music, new sounds for the ever-hungry ears and hips of dance-floor goers. “We really love making beats. We have a new beat for every different festival, for every new show we played. We just walk around and think, 'What's the crowd like? Who are we playing for?' Whether it's East Coast, California, wherever it was, what kind of beat do we want to make? We just manifest it, just conjure it up. That's why we have so many beats. We just get carried away. We're both really hungry. We're both complete polar opposites in every spectrum with a similar goal and common denominator.”

Whatever differences the duo may have are entirely irrelevant as the two have found a musical synergy that eludes many throughout their travels. “At FozzyFest, I walk into the green room at the stage and Jeff is sitting there, first time I've seen him in over a month, and he doesn't even say 'Hi.' He just looks up with his headphones on, at his laptop, and just waves me over and hands me the headphones. He had taken the stuff I had sent him from point A to point B. We were working on this song right off the bat seeing each other. We exported it 18 minutes before we started and it was the first song of our set,” Justin drops with a casualness that belies the incredible musical feat he just described.

It's that respect for the art and dedication to new ideas – as well as just being really fucking good at making music – that is helping Chuurch build a strong, dedicated fanbase. “Me and him just do what we do 100%, same as you do what you do 100%. Same as of all of the people involved in making this whole scene economically sensible. That's what it takes, is ninjas. There's no small part to it when it comes to contributing to this. That's what it's all about. You can totally remind someone having a shitty day that it's all good, just those simple gestures, offering your own personal gifts. A person can just take it and run with it. That's what it's all about – building each other up so we can keep building the culture up.”

Keep up with all things CHUURCH over at their Facebook page and the UUnion Fanpage

#festivalseason - Rifflandia celebrates 10 years of beating up on genre standards.

What are we doing here? Are we celebrating the end of summer or the beginning of fall? It doesn't really matter. In just a few days Rifflandia will once again take over my beloved home of Victoria. Three nights and three days (Spanning four total days) of music,traversing endless territories of world-known and local acts, live and electronic musics, bound by no genre, Rifflandia looks to be more all-encompassing that ever in its triumphant, 10th year of of delivering aural goodness to the Canadian west coast. With all that music on nine stages, there's as much as ever to sort through and this year I'm taking a slightly different approach. Rather than trying to absorb all of the hip-hop and bass music I can, this year, in honour of Riff's 10th birthday, my must-sees are going to spread out over more sonic space than ever – but also still with lots of bass music and hip-hop vibes – trying to get a little bit of everything into this years Essential 4 Successful Rifflandia Guide.

Fox Glove – Thursday, Copper Owl, 11-11:45PM

As I've been alive with functioning ears in Victoria for the last few years, I had heard whispers of Fox Glove for a long time before I finally had the the pleasure of witnessing the folk power trio. On the Tall Tree main stage earlier this summer Fox Glove laid down the most affecting performance I've seen in a long time. Since I lost my shit in an unstoppable flood of tears and a nose stuffed beyond belief, Fox Glove's achingly beautiful harmonies have been burned into my brain. This Rifflandia – one of the dancingest Rifflandias yet – if you're looking for music that's going to let you breathe and make you feel deep things inside of yourself that maybe you forgot how to feel, set aside a little bit of time for Fox Glove on night 1.

Murge/Astrocolor – Saturday, Phillips Backyard, 9-11PM

I didn't combine these two because they are sonically similar. They're not. I mean, they both hit the best pleasure centres in my brain and ears with their smooth musical stylings. Here I group them together because no two acts in the last couple of years have got me quite as riled up about my local music scene. I've spent the better part of a year talking up the fresh, warm hip-hop of Murge and the weird and smooth live acid house of Astrocolor. It doesn't matter how many times I see them, I'm getting something new, and more importantly something good, to dance to. These two acts, back-to-back, moving the masses at the big stage at Phillips Backyard is really going to be something special. If you like good music that get into your blood stream, accessible dance music that's going to make you move whether you want to or not, you should make it a point to be down at Phillips on Saturday night.

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5 Questions with Rags #54 - Flamingosis

I like funky music, but I also like chill grooves and sometimes those things aren't the most compatible. But once in awhile there's someone – now, I don't wanna say hero but...someone special who can perfectly fit the niche my ears and soul so desperately need filled. Flamingosis is that someone. Purveyor of the some of the tastiest laid-back funk that this planet has to offer, Flamingosis has become one of the main staples of the listening diet over the past year. His albums are an endless stream of blissed out disco vibes (Bliss-co/blissco?) that keep a feeling but change the sound enough to always keep it interesting and familiar at the same time. Chilling in the afternoon sun? Cuddling up with a lover? Having a dinner party? Smoking a spliff on the deck with your homie? Damaging your skin with a day at the beach? Flamingosis has you covered with a soundtrack for all of this and more. Lucky for me, Flamingosis found the time, in amongst his relentless hustlin', to get down with an incredibly thoughtful and freshly honest round of 5 Questions.

Make sure to keep afloat of all things Flamingosis at www.flamingosis.com. And make sure to grab his glorious new album A Groovy Thing (For free, or however much you think it's worth)!

1. Do you remember the first album you bought with your own money?

I believe the first album that I bought with my own money was Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma on iTunes when I was a Senior in High School. I was just pirating music off of Limewire during that time, but for some reason after I discovered FlyLo his music captivated me in such a way I was just like, “Damn, I gotta pay for this,” because I had never heard anything quite like it during that time. He was one of the OGs who helped introduce me to the beat scene and that type of sound. I'll be honest and say I still pirate music digitally, but since then I've started a vinyl collection. I think buying and collecting vinyl is important. I don't care if it's considered hipster to listen to music on vinyl, at least you're gonna be more likely to listen to an album in it's entirety that way because we are currently in a microwave era where a lot of people are listening to playlists rather than full releases.

2. When is the last time you did something for the first time?

I'm kind of embarrassed to say this, but I purchased a new phone and activated it for the first time last week on my own, rather than having my parents help me with it. For some reason I always had a social anxiety with going to a store and talking to a representative who I don't know, about what type of product I should buy and stuff of that nature. So I usually just had my parents help me with it. But now I'm 26 years old and I gotta grow up when it comes to dealing with that kind of shit. It sounds like a simple thing, but I'm proud that I did it on my own.

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5 Questions with Rags #53 - WBBL

“I used to play in bands back where I lived in Dorset in the UK - ska bands, pop cover bands. That's what you gotta do in Dorset to make fun, you gotta make your own fun down there. It's a lovely little countryside area but not a lot going on there at all, nightlife especially. I think there's one club that's only open once a month.” This is where WBBL's music started. WBBL, one of the leaders of the next wave of great bass-masters coming from the UK. Before he was smashing open the ears of clubs and festival crowds around the Europe (And Canada!) the good homie, known in the real world as Joe Gale, was laying a solid foundation for his eventual assault on bass-seekers everywhere. “I went to ACM in Gilford in the UK - Academy of Contemporary Music. It sounds fancier than it is,” laughs Gale. “They're a great school. It's all about the experience you get from going there. I met so many great people there, loads of people trying to do the same thing. People who just want to make their music better, who want to meet and collaborate.” Taking a look at WBBL's output, the collaborative spirit is alive and well, as evidenced by his ever-growing list of tracks with wobbly peers like Slynk, X-Ray Ted, Mr. Switch and Father Funk.

Too many years in the making, a long-established heavyweight of the ever-popular Ghetto Funk label, WBBL made a triumphant Shambhala Music Festival debut on the legendarily funky Fractal Forest last month. A dance floor filled with a couple thousand people was, then and there, turned into a legion of WBBLites. (WBBLers? WBBListas? What's the term we want to collectively coin for the growing mass?) If you want some more in-depth talk of his set, GO HERE, and read the thing I already wrote about it. Earlier today the powerful homie gifted his Shambhala set onto the world, so you don't even have to read what I wrote. You can listen for yourself. Pair up his blistering set with another tasty round of the 5 Questions to get a full helping of wobbly goodness. Here we discuss the Gorillaz, welcoming-ass Canadians and Hendrix's proclivity for plain bagels.

1. What was the first album you bought with your own money?

WBBL: It was the first Gorillaz album on CD. In 2001, or something. It was a good introduction because it was pop but it was dub and reggae and hip-hop and garage. It opened my mind up to a load of different genres. I thought it was such a cool thing to have in the charts that were all bubble-gum pop and you get this dark, awesome album.

2. First time you did something for the last time?

WBBL: Well, this is my first Shambhala. So that's the obvious one. But last year was my first time in Canada, my first time being out of Europe, coming to do international shows. That was a brilliant first time because everyone in Canada is so ridiculously welcoming and nice. That's what Shambhala is about as well. I want to do this first time every time.

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#festivalseason - Atmosphere Gathering 2017 might have been the most joyful festival of the year.

The people behind the Atmosphere Gathering have built something truly special and unique in the increasingly large and saturated festival world. In the heart of Vancouver Island, nestled in the midst of the Comox Valley, they've built a festival that is part folk festival, part rave ala Bass Coast or Shambhala, part yoga/health/body festival ala Blessed Coast, an interactive arts festival – the breadth of art contained in the relatively small park is astonishing. And on top of everything, Atmosphere Gathering is all-ages to boot. Maybe more than ever in my life, I thoroughly enjoyed the presence of children, running around oblivious to everything but the immediate need for more fun, more dancing. Their energy was absolutely infectious and helped to power me through an incredible weekend in the soft, grassy embrace of Cumberland's Village Park.

The creative spirit of that youthful energy was on display everywhere you turned in the small, but never crowded (!!!) area. Paintings were on-going works of art, changing each time you passed by. The Elixir Temple was dispensing all variety of remarkably healthy beverages, created with a seemingly-endless array of fruits, veggies and spices. People of all-ages, suited up in a harness to help them climb safely, piled milk crates impossibly high throughout the day. There was a misting station that looked like an octopus! A strong selection of local vendors brought their most colourful and creative wares. And the musical performers all brought their best stuff, delivering some of the finest sets I've seen this summer in by far the most intimate festival environment I've experienced. Each provided highlights that hold up to anything else I've seen this year. These are some of those highlights.

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