If you love dancing to heavy bass music as much as I do, you’ll know that closing times in Victoria nightclubs come all too soon — particularly when the shows you’re eager to catch are few and far between.
Cue Dub Selekta’s Champion Sound, a new series that will showcase amazing local and international underground talent. Things kick off this Friday with a jungle themed all-nighter at a secret location in downtown Victoria.
“I got a bit tired of the clubs and want to get out of the prescribed notion of how we’re supposed to throw parties,” Amy Kirtay tells me.
She’s been a community-oriented member of Victoria’s music scene for seven years and is one of the founders of Dub Selekta. The project started out as a blog in 2010 and gradually became well-known for interviews, visual media, original bass music mixes and festival coverage.
Dub Selekta began collaborating on throwing local shows in 2015 and Kirtay honed her focus more on the artistic and visual elements of the dance experience.
“I just really love going to cool events and connecting with my friends, but I was finding there was a lack of fun things going on. Lots of people were sad to see Hush close in 2014 and not many people in town were bringing in new forward-thinking sounds.”
Sounds like Vancouver’s Levrige, headliners for Friday’s debut Champion Sound.
I first saw the Vancouver duo deliver a wild and high-energy set at Bass Coast 2012 — then playing as the SHAHdjs J.F. Killah and Erski — and I’ve affectionately followed the whole drum and bass crew ever since.
Early this year Levrige released their forward-sounding Diamonds EP. It explores freshly minimal yet massively attention-grabbing heavy bass sounds of Jungle, Drum & Bass, Hip Hop and Footwork.
When I first heard Erski play the EP’s namesake in a January 2015 radio podcast, I abruptly stopped everything I was doing to find what I was listening to in the track listing. Then I thought, “How badass is our music community?” I’m not at all surprised it’s been getting national and international airtime.
Dub Selekta’s newest music ambassador is Matt Saunders, a veteran of the west coast drum and bass scene. He says Levrige is a perfect fit for Champion Sound.
“Their tunes are being played by the biggest producers in the game [think Ivy Lab, Critical Records], they just finished playing in Costa Rica, Las Vegas — and there’s a huge appetite for enjoying this kind of music without having to be in a club.”
He says it’s going to be the drum and bass event people have been waiting on for years — and I have to admit I’m starting to believe him.
“Because we’re not doing this in a club, we can control the environment to a greater degree: the visuals, art, stage, overall design of the event. There are different visual artists working on a jungle themed environment and there’s going to be a photographer. In total there are 28 different people working on this.”
Kirtay and Saunders both emphasized the selection of local talent chosen to play their own specialty niches of drum and bass and hope people will pick up on a story arc within the sound.
“Time slots have been carefully curated and we have a specific vision of how we want the sound to affect people throughout the night,” Kirtay says. “The aim is to take people on a journey and the sound will compliment every aspect of it.”
So why use a secret location? Well, they both love a good, old-school rave and wanted to save something about the night as a surprise. Kirtay says there’s an air of excitement in not knowing. “It allows the setup and all the visuals to have more of an impact on people.”
Future Champion Sound events will explore different genres of underground bass music while bringing the community to venues outside the regular club scene.
For Kirtay and Saunders, it’s just about wanting to see everyone having as much fun as they are. Oh, and if you know where to find leopard-print pants, do let us know. Saunders’ been looking everywhere. (No tights please).
Tickets are available online for $20 in advance or $25 at the door.