Dubconscious was hours into his first DJ set at the Shambhala Music Festival years ago, pumping reggae-themed tracks for the early Monday morning crowd, when DJ Hoola gave him a shoulder rub mid-set. The sun was just beginning to rise.
“He leaned in and said ‘you’re on the team for life,’” Jake Langmuir aka Dubconscious, now the talent buyer for Bloom Nightclub, told the Star. Having worked in the talent department of Shambhala for years now, he’s recently moved to Nelson full-time for this gig.
“I remember I was playing as the sun came up, and things went so well I played for an extra hour because the next performers weren’t ready.”
The Shambhala family
It was that initial experience that propelled Langmuir into his current career, one he hadn’t planned for when he started studying astrophysics at UVic.
“I came from small-town Ontario and didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I graduated at the top of my physics class,” he said. “I found Victoria to be a really welcoming and warm community, and that’s when I started getting into DJing.”
Dubconscious’ work, and the music he’s drawn to, has evolved over the years. Originally immersed in the Toronto jungle scene, he purchased his first set of turntables in 2004 while attending late-night raves and drum and bass parties.
“The sounds themselves have changed tremendously over my path as a DJ,” he said. “When I went out west there was a thriving break beat and drum and bass scene, and I sunk my teeth into that. Then there was the dubwise reggae jungle scene that really drew me in.”
Dubstep became popular in 2006 or 2007, and it was at that point he started getting into the roots of the music he was interested in. He collected a huge number of 45 RPM records.
“I just got really into old reggae, dance hall and dub.”
And he found himself playing stuff he hadn’t planned for.
“I never thought I’d like house, but meanwhile I play all kinds of house and garage, as well as trap which is popular across the board. It’s a little formulaic, but there’s still amazing things that can happen within that sub-genre.”
As far as he’s concerned, Shambhala and Bloom are the perfect places to explore these passions.
He summed up the Shambhala ethos thusly: “Everything I enjoy in electronic music, the culture and the community, but blown up to this massive scale while remaining tight-knit.”
The future of Bloom
For the past few months, Langmuir has been working remotely for Bloom from Vancouver. Now that he’s living in the Kootenays full-time, he’s focused on expanding what their nightclub has to offer.
“The space itself is set up to be quite versatile. We were waiting on some equipment for the side stage, so we can accommodate a full live band. Took a while, but we’re there now and our first live shows are coming on Nov. 27 and 28 with our Blue Night culture crawl.”
Langmuir said he doesn’t want the space to be “pigeonholed” as exclusively devoted to EDM music.
“While we’re looking to expand, we’ll also still be bringing all the Shambhala classics. Early next year we’ve got Random Rab, who played on the Beach stage for years, and we’re going to get Fort Knox Five for the first time since Jon Horvath passed away. They’ll be doing a tribute tour.”
He’s also excited to host the Librarian, the curator of the Bass Coast Festival.
“We’re also looking to break new acts that haven’t been to Shambhala yet. We don’t want to do the same thing all the time.”
These days, now that Fridays and Saturday are routinely drawing healthy crowds, Langmuir is turning his attention towards building up Thursdays.
“I just rebranded it On the Cuff Thursdays. It’s free cover, showcasing local talent.”
Langmuir would like to see Bloom become more of a community hub, something he figures will happen organically as the hotel begins to develop. He’s most excited about the Savoy Brewing Company, which will be the first brew pub in Nelson.
“I’m definitely not in this to make boatloads of money,” said Langmuir. “I was looking for a community, looking for family, and that’s what I feel like I’ve found here.”