D&B scene unites to raise relief for British Columbia flood disaster

It was described as a once-in-500-year event: last November the province of British Columbia, Canada, experienced a month’s worth of rain in less than 48 hours, causing flood devastation to families, animals, farmland, properties and infrastructure across the province and surrounding territories.

Estimated to have caused around 640,000 animal deaths, 20,000 residents to be displaced and potentially costing upwards of $500,000,000 to repair, the catastrophic damage of the floods and resulting mudslides  – which were made much worse by forest fire damage during previous summers – will continue to affect communities in British Columbia for a very long time to come. Especially during the current winter season as more severe weather is expected.

Charities and organisations have rallied to help communities across the region and the D&B scene is no exception as Vancouver label 170+ Recordings and promoter Digital Motion BC have collaborated to curate a charity album to raise funds and awareness of the situation. 23 tracks in total, BC Flood Relief LP features the likes of Polaris, Azpect, Lasu, Formula, ROhmz, Portrait, Hyperlynx and many more.

“As creatives, the one thing we can do is use our passion to raise funds for those affected by this disaster,” explains Aaron Payne, 170+ Recordings co-founder who also appears on the album. “Once the idea was made to step up and curate an album, we were approached by Digital Motion BC who were already sitting on a 12 track LP, that they wished to donate to this project.”

“In addition, many local artists have offered their music alongside some heavy-hitting international talents as well,” he continues. “This album shows how compassionate our scene is, and we are eternally grateful for all the love and support!”

Uniting the artists and gathering the troops in an impressively short amount of time, the album came together in a matter of weeks, dropping last week, January 5. BC Flood Relief LP is out now on all streaming and download platforms and all funds and revenue raised from the album will go to United Way BC Flood Response Fund who help those who’ve lost everything during this crisis.

We called up Aaron Payne for more information on one of the most devastating storms British Columbia has ever experienced. Read on, listen to the album and donate if you’re able to. Full links and information.

The floods looked devastating and scary. What was your experience of it?

Yeah it just came out of nowhere, prior to this I had never heard of the term ‘atmospheric river’, but it was exactly that, a month’s worth of rain dumped on us 48 hours. Over the past few summers we have also been experiencing some severe forest fires, which had destroyed a lot of forests and their root systems. With this heavy rain there was nothing to hold the ground together and mudslides started blocking off major highways. Luckily I am right in the city but just an hour east and entire areas were under 5ft of water. A handful of bridges and complete sections of highway were washed away and we were separated from the rest of Canada by road. Some detours were 14hrs through the States and with covid and the borders it was a complete nightmare. Over 20,000 people were displaced, farmland was flooded and sadly thousands of animals perished. This one also hit close to home as my label partner Jay’s cousin lost everything as her home was swept away.

It’s been two months since the floods, how are things now? And how long will it take for communities to recover?

Currently there are still non-essential travel restrictions on many highways as it remains unstable, we had a fuel limit of 30L per vehicle as many people were panic buying. The winter is now here and many areas affected can’t be salvaged and people are out of their homes for the holidays and have nothing to go back to. The military came in and they rushed to repair a dike which is a crucial piece of infrastructure preventing an even larger flood. The estimated cost is in the billions and with the fires each summer this could be an ongoing cycle. As some would say we are now living in the effects of global warming but that’s a whole other story. Other organizations had to deliver food to remote Indigenous nations as their communities were completely cut off. So as of now the roadways and bridges are being rushed to be rebuilt but some repairs may take over a year.

You rallied up the troops very quickly. What was the response of the D&B community when you started this project?

Yeah it was one of those things, I just got up the following day and thought this is something I can do and made a post. Not long after making a call-to-arms on socials, Blake from Digital Motion BC hit me up to donate an existing 12 track LP he had already, due out this year. The album was mastered by TeeBee and features many producers local to the area. So with that great head start we decided to make it an official collaborative effort as we’ve worked together on events in the past. Aside from that I had messages from some international artists I’ve been networking with and luckily many had tracks ready to go! Much love to Harry Davies-Jenkins (HD) for making this connection, after his Pray For Afghanistan relief project he offered his help right away, among many others!

Seems like the whole thing came together incredibly quickly…

It’s been amazing! It really did come together quite quickly, as obviously time is of the essence here. I was hoping many people had finished tunes to offer up and we were lucky to get some music from outside of BC as well.

Polaris is a friend from Toronto, Ontario who made a beautiful piece of music with Dan Ritual featuring UK violinist, Vio.let. I also have to shout out Formula UK who just had a release on Skankandbass and has a very big 2022 planned. Another UK artist by the name of Portrait needs to be mentioned, this man is highly talented and is sitting on some unbelievable music, he even had one of his tracks officially remixed by AC13, again his 2022 is looking bright.

Gotta give a shout to DJ SS as well as he was kind enough to get Azpect on the LP with a VIP of one of her recent releases on Formation Records, so big up Formation! I also have a remix I’ve done for In The Lab Recordings (run by Spectra T & Kendot) who have been kind enough to offer it up. The track Concussion by Massive Zebra & Subcurrent came out on their imprint earlier in the year and I’ve been in talks with Austrian-based Pascal Obermayer (1/2 of Massive Zebra), he not only offered another original track but also donated his mastering service at HEAST! Audio-Produktion.

Mae917 from Mexico has also come forward with a track. So it’s neat to see the compassion we’ve received from outside of our area. Without everyone pitching in this wouldn’t have happened so quickly, so we are eternally grateful! From first post to finished masters it was about 3 weeks and we managed to gather 23 great pieces of music!

Amazing. Tell us how the funds you raise will be used… 

We have been looking into many initiatives such as the Canadian Red Cross, United Way and The Salvation Army, these are the big charities known to step up during these times. There is a list of places to donate to for community specific needs such as The BCSPCA for the many animals and pets affected, Food Bank BC etc. The link below has the listed charities for this cause. We have chosen United Way BC as they mentioned mental health trauma. As you can imagine losing everything you have in the middle of a pandemic is likely a feeling that can’t be put into words.

What else does the world need to know about this project right now?

Every little bit helps! We are so grateful to everyone that’s stepped up and offered their music, mastering and art towards this project! Canada has a proud community of very passionate drum & bass artists and it’s times like these that prove we one big world wide family! Much love from Aaron, Jay, Blake and everyone involved!

BC Flood Relief is out now. Get involved and support the album if you can.