5 Questions with Rags #9 - DJ Dubconscious

If you've been around electronic music in BC for any length of time or if you've made the trek to the EDM-mecca that is Shambhala, you're probably at least passingly familiar with the name Dubconscious. Dude makes some tasty, reggae-based music that never fails to energize and dose the listener with positivity. He's a fixture on the Living Room Stage at Shambhala, the chillest zone at the festival. He had been on my radar for the 5 Questions for a little while now and when he got me confused on ye olde Facebook with another person who goes by "Rags" (WTF?!), I took the opportunity to test his interest and BOOM! It happened.

Catch the good homey Dubconscious playing with Moontricks in Vancouver on Friday, Jan.23 at the Electric Owl at the monthly "Kootenay Time" show. Check the FB page for the show info.


For your listening pleasure whilst you read this wonderful chat, I give you Dubconscious' own pick to get you caught up to speed on what he's all about.

"I would point you towards the live Shambhala set from 2012. It’s live, you can hear me on the mic and I cover a lot of bases on that set. I’m really happy with how that recording turned out. The Living Room Stage is where I play every year and it was my initial introduction into the fold was to go and play for them. So each year I’ve continued to played that year and become closer friends with the directors.  I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am without them so I’m always happy to help out when they need me."

Keep up to date with the good homey on his soundcloud.

1. If the world was about to end and you go to anywhere in the world and grab one piece of culture what would you grab? And you can’t say the Internet, because a couple people have done that and I’ve closed that loophole

I would say soundsystem culture and Jamaican reggae heritage. Soundclashes, vintage reggae, 45s, deejaying and toasting and roots reggae. That’s kind of the one thing that comes to mind.

If you could only take one guy’s Soundsystem who would you poach it from?

If I was going to cover all my bases and it was only going to be one it would be David Rodigan. He’s been huge in reggae/dancehall  for a long time but now he’s kind of adjusted with the times and keep himself updated, rolling with Chase Status and Shy FX and that stuff. So I think that would be my #1.

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

Well, the first chunk of records I got when I bought my first turntables, in Victoria, actually. I bought them from Mike Warren who runs the Madrona Gallery in Trounce Alley. At the end of my year at UVic I went and bought the decks and part of the deal was that he would throw in 10 records. So I got to go through his whole record collection and pick 10 of my favourites, or the 10 I thought spoke to me at the time. The one that really stands out is Congo Natty’s “Wardance.”

Congo Natty is a complete foundation of ragga jungle. They were doing it in the early 90s with a lot of rudimentary technology. “Wardance” has got the classic vocals from Supercat. It samples Method Man too. I was just getting into jungle at the time. Growing up in Toronto dancehall really wasn’t on my radar. I was more into punk and hardcore when I was younger but I would pick up on it a bit because it’s so popular in Toronto. When I started going to raves there the reggae influences in jungle spoke to me. It’s still an absolutely classic track.

3. If you had to choose for some reason, I don’t know what horrible fate has befallen you, but you had to choose between keeping your sight and your hearing, which do you choose?

That’s a tricky one because I suffer from tinnitus, so are you proposing I keep my hearing as if it was 100% intact again or do I get to keep it as it is now?

Hmmm, you can keep as it is now but it’s not going to get worse.

If I could somehow rewind and restore all my hearing I would pick that but otherwise…Even then it’s still a really hard one. If I knew it wasn’t going to get any worse at all maybe I’d go with my hearing. In theory, in a perfect world it would be nice to say, “I just want my hearing so I can hear music still,” but surviving in this world, not being able to see, that just sounds terrible.

You could do the Pete Tong thing and sit on the speakers and feel the bass.

That movie was really scary for me considering the tinnitus.

When did you start developing that?

It was about 2009 or 2008. That was one of the reasons I moved from Toronto to Nelson. After my time at UVic I’d gone back to Toronto and spent about two and half years there, saving money and working. After coming up in the Victoria scene which is very supportive and friendly and going to the Toronto scene which is much more cutthroat and dog-eat-dog, I was working hard and going out a lot. The raves in Toronto go on all night and it’s all crazy drum ‘n’ bass, so it’s a lot of very high-end on the spectrum noises. There would be a bit of ringing after shows and whatnot, then I woke up one day after a long weekend at about six in the morning with a ringing in my ears that I’d never heard before. It woke me up out of bed and I jumped on my computer and started researching tinnitus. It was really hard to get accustomed to. After a little while I stopped taking gigs and started focusing on snowboarding a little more. I decided I needed to move back out west to snowboard and I chose Nelson for that. I brought my tables with me, I wasn’t planning on completely leaving DJing behind, but I was taking a moment to reexamine if I really wanted to pursue this further. It turned out Nelson was a pretty much perfect place to go to to kind of rebirth my DJ career. I took a winter off and didn’t DJ at all then in February the next year I got booked to open for Rusko, then I played Shambhala and by then I’d become used to the tinnitus and was able to function with it. I used to have trouble falling asleep because it was so loud. Eventually you just don’t notice it as much.

4. Can you think of a movie that you saw that had an effect on the way you saw the world or the way you interacted with the world?

The one that comes to mind first is Darren Aronofski’s “Pi.” I saw it around the age of 14 or something. I was labeled gifted as a child, I mean, I wasn’t a math prodigy like that at all. I guess I became a little bit more introspective after watching that movie and maybe started to mature on some levels. I started realizing there’s a lot of different levels to our existence. The soundtrack opened my eyes musically to a lot of electronic stuff for the first time. It was the first time I’d heard Aphex Twin, for instance.

5. Immortality…Do you have any thoughts about it? Do you think you might like it or hate it?

That’s an age old question. Am I the only one that’s immortal?

You’re the only immortal that you know of. There may be more, but I can’t confirm or deny that here.

I don’t think that I would like that. I don’t think that would be for me. Obviously there’s the problem of everybody you love dying eventually. I feel like I’ve been around for too long as it is.

6. Now, this bonus question is far less open-ended than these usually are, this is more of a riddle. This is from Timothy Wisdom: If you are in a spot and you walk one mile south, one mile east and one mile north and end up at the same spot, where in the world are you?

The North Pole.

It is the North Pole! I didn’t know that. I had to look it up.

I went to university for physics and astronomy and covered a lot of that kind of stuff.

See, Timothy Wisdom thought he would trick somebody and he was wrong.