Success,an often exhausting ideal; what it gives also takes away. And the question of success often becomes whether it will remain. Dan “DJ Shub” General knows this adage very well.
After finding success with A Tribe Called Red—2014 Juno-winning Breakout Group and multiple Juno award winners—DJ Shub decided to step away from the band, essentially stepping away from what most Canadian musicians consider a crowning achievement. While the choice to leave something as successful as A Tribe Called Red is daunting, DJ Shub seems to embrace the change and opportunity to get back to his family in small town Fort Erie, Ont.—a place he creates most of his work.
“Big cities are fun but small towns are a comfortable feeling for me,” he says.
That feeling makes DJ Shub headstrong in his productivity and creativity, and how he wants to do that.
DJ Shub says, “I think with any group, or artist, it’s really a matter of wanting to do something on your own; you want to do something that fulfills you. We [A Tribe Called Red] just won a Juno so we were at the top of that, but our directions were going in different places, the dynamics were changing, and we were becoming three different people.”
In A Tribe Called Red, DJ Shub helped welcome the world to a seemingly unheard of genre often dubbed Powwow-step, a genre that mixes traditional First Nations powwow music with the steady beat and dub of electronic music. In First Nations culture, a powwow is an event where the community gets together to socialize, sing, and dance. Powwow-step sees a fresh take on this tradition, merging two cultures/communities to create something unifying.
Though DJ Shub is no longer with A Tribe Called Red, he says “At least now there’s double the amount of Powwow. When one door closes another opens for us and the fans.”
And those doors have opened to comedian/actor Sacha Baron Cohen, who uses DJ Shub’s song “Indomitable” as the theme song for his show Who is America?
“That was a huge surprise for me,” Shub says. “I was on vacation in Disneyland with my kids, and I told my manager not to call unless it was an emergency. Then, a week in, I get a phone call from him asking if I was a fan of Sacha Baron Cohen, and I said ‘Hell yeah.’”
It’s a left turn to step away from a burgeoning, successful group , but now with DJ Shub at the reigns of his own output—with some help from others like the Cree National Singers—Shub is continuing down the path of a genre he helped create.
“I wasn’t sure how things could go when I left the group, but as a solo artist, the response from my music, and the critics, has been great,” Shub says. “The live shows have been great, and I owe all of it to the fans that are still interested in what I’m doing.”
– Ryan Hook
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