The Victoria BC crew is throwing a series of parties in December to commemorate its birthday.
The party series was founded by Victoria local Chris Long, AKA Longshanks or Monolithium, along with fellow DJs Eames and Rhythmicon in 2009. With at least one event per month, Sub|division started out promoting mostly dubstep parties but has since diversified its remit to include hip-hop, house and techno. Julio Bashmore, Mathew Jonson and Salva are among the past headliners.
Just like last year's anniversary celebration, Sub|division will throw parties in both Victoria and nearby Vancouver for the three-night blowout. The first will take place in Victoria this Friday, December 7th, at Lucky Bar with all three founders, including Monolithium and Eames playing back-to-back. Two weeks later, on the 21st, Berlin-based Victoria native Hrdvsion will make a homecoming of sorts at Lucky Bar, supported by one-time West Coast resident Prison Garde. Monolithium, Eames, Rhythmicon and two more Victoria openers, En Noir and Trans1ent, are also confirmed. That same show will come to the Waldorf Hotel in Vancouver the evening after, minus the last two Victoria residents.
RA recently caught up with Chris Long via e-mail to talk about Sub|Division's history and future:
How has Sub|division grown and expanded since you founded it three years ago?
In terms of growth, Sub|division has followed a familiar trajectory to many other similar-style nights across North America in that when we started, the primary focus was dubstep and its tangential threads of experimental sound. In line with dubstep going completely off the rails in North America and our own core interests moving away from that world, we've really embraced other realms of sound, especially over the last year. Lately, the whole crew seems to be pushing toward nurturing more purist 4/4 sounds, which I'm completely happy with. A consistent night focused on real techno still does not exist in Victoria—I'd like to help change that this [coming] year.
I must mention that part of what's allowed us to grow at the slow and steady pace that we have is the unending support of Lucky Bar, our primary venue. It's the perfect size to nurture new sounds and the staff really get behind the night. We really do owe that room a lot.
What's the scene like in Victoria in comparison to Vancouver? Is it financially feasible to throw so many parties with such a small community?
Victoria, due to obvious contrasts, has a smaller scene than Vancouver, but I think that it's all relative. Much like Vancouver, we have our fair share of fair-weather promoters... the dudes that were making a killing off brostep shows last year are left wondering who to book now that shit is slowing down.
And the reality is, it actually isn't really financially feasible to throw as many parties as we do. But we do it because the plain truth is that we're far less concerned with money than the actual music and building a scene that supports dance music as a viable art form. I think sub|division has built up credibility throughout North America due to the simple fact that when artists roll through Victoria for a sub|div gig, they play to a crowd of real heads that are in tune with new music and are eager to lose themselves. Plain and simple.
I really relate to Dan Snaith's remarks around the Daphni release, addressing how shitty and predictable the North American thing has become... you go to these brostep shows or now I guess it's trap DJs... essentially it's anti-art, it's like watching syndicated television, the same shit over and over. For me dance music has always been about hearing something new and curious in a dynamic environment with a great crowd and solid sound system... so it's in that spirit that we just keep at it. Because at the end of the day, I still love standing on a dancefloor and hearing a fucked-up techno jam that I've never heard before.
What kind of music is big in Victoria, generally, and why did you choose the headliners that you did?
I do love this city, but Victoria is still a bit obsessed with fratty, noisy bullshit—it can be frustrating watching the same tired ass breaks DJ roll through town for the third time in six months to genuine fucking enthusiasm. I mean, it's bewildering sometimes.
But I cannot complain. We've really seen a great response to the deeper 4/4 stuff that we've been pushing lately—there's a real sense that people are eager to come and lose themselves in real music. And our support network is impressive—Sub|division has really bolstered its foothold in Victoria. People know what we're about and really support us for the right reasons. And of course, like you would hope, the dope music brings the great people, so our parties over the last year have developed into the ideal scenario—packed dance floor, much socializing, great music, no bullshit.
In terms of headliners and programming, over the last year we've pulled back the reigns a bit and focused more on our residents because they're amazing DJs. We really only pull the trigger if it's an artist close to our hearts; Dabrye, Om Unit, Eddie C all rolled through this year. With the amazing wealth of talent available in town and in Vancouver, I suspect that the trend of regional headliners will continue.