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Photo by Ogichidaa Arts.

Canada Scene: Apt613 talks to DJ Shub before gig with Buffy Sainte-Marie at Southam Hall

By Jared Davidson on July 1, 2017

“I wanted to continue what I was doing with Tribe. I think people recognise that.”

DJ Shub left A Tribe Called Red in 2014. At the time, ATCR’s star was rising fast, and the constant touring kept Shub away from his family. It was a practical decision, but not an easy one.

Shub had been instrumental in founding powwowstep music. It was a sound that had been born out of late-night dance parties in Babylon nightclub. It was a new sound, but one that immediately found an audience.

Photo by Ogichidaa Arts.

Photo by Ogichidaa Arts.

In stepping back from ATCR, Shub took another step into a solo career. In the winter, he released his first solo album, aptly titled PowWowStep.

“Once I knew that I was going to do a powwowstep album, I attacked it full force,” says Shub. “I wanted to continue what I was doing with Tribe. I think people recognise that.”

While fans of ATCR will certainly find a lot to love in this album, it is very clearly a Shub album. It goes pretty hard. And where ATCR has bridged into a more hip-hop sound in recent releases, Shub’s commitment to powwowstep is evident. This album is a re-statement of the genre – but it wasn’t always going to be.

“At first I didn’t really want to make a powwowstep album. I wanted to do a straight up electronic album. I didn’t want to get pigeon-holed,” admits Shub. “People told me, ‘you have to do this. You’re one of the founders of it.’”

“This is the first time I’ve ever been nervous for a show. These are legends of Canadian music.”

Now he’s set to bring that sound to the NAC’s Southam Hall this Monday July 3, accompanying Buffy Sainte-Marie and Randy Bachman. With a lineup like that, it’s hard to imagine anything but incredible performances. And though Shub has played hundreds of shows in front of larger audiences, he seems a little anxious about this one.

Photo by Ogichidaa Arts.

Photo by Ogichidaa Arts.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been nervous for a show. These are legends of Canadian music. Plus, it’s not really knowing what’s going to happen.”

Indeed, this is no ordinary concert. Canada Scene has arranged for rehearsal time for all performers, and there is talk of on-stage collaborations. With performers this experienced and talented, it’s hard to know what to expect. Shub is especially excited to jam with Buffy again:

“When you have two people who love the same kind of music it just comes out.”

Whether or not Randy Bachman will join in with his signature licks is yet to be seen. What’s certain is that Canada Scene’s July 3rd concert will be one at which dancing will be encouraged, whether it be to “Taking Care of Business” or samples of Northern Cree Singers. And if PowWowStep is the start of a trend for Shub, we can’t wait to hear the next record.


DJ Shub will perform alongside Buffy Sainte-Marie and Randy Bachman at the National Arts Centre on Monday July 3 at 7:30pm. Tickets cost $35–75 online and at NAC Box Office locations. $15 rush tickets are available on Monday to anybody between the ages of 13 and 29.


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