Booming bass, chopped vocals, fast paced kicks and an all-round genre fusion: these are the sounds of Jersey Club music. It is the true millennial turn up. With hybrid sounds of techno, R&B, rap, pop, dancehall, and even branching out to grime, the Jersey Club movement is being hailed as the next big wave in dance music.
“Jersey Club is a feeling... definitely a euphoric feeling.
It’s kinda just the new generation’s take on dance music right now."
With larger than life personalities pushing the limits of contemporary dance beats, paving the dance-crazed road to the future of Jersey Club music is none other than the electrifying queen of the dance floor, UNIIQU3. In 2014 she worked in a liquor store, two years later she played Coachella. Coming on four years later in 2020, UNIIQU3 has exploded onto the dance music scene, and the Jersey club genre has transformed from a local gem to an international phenomenon. Originating in the nightclubs of ‘90s Newark, New Jersey – Jersey club music is a fast-paced style of electronic music, created to certify movement. The last few years have been a wild ride for the dance genre, as it is hastily finding its way across the globe. The Jersey club sound is spreading like wildfire, creating collectives of Jersey acts worldwide to bring the Jersey nightlife to almost anywhere. Making music to connect people, the Newark native is breaking down the barriers of the dance floor, acting as an advocate by grandly opening it as a space for expression, freedom and self-discovery. UNIIQU3 turns the dance floor into true unification and a place where rules and regulations are left at the door, allowing every guest to truly express who they really are. Constantly full of zeal, UNIIQU3 is pushing the genre forward by not only promoting a good night out, but also unifying the world through dance, and embracing the chaos, uniqueness and exhilarating sensations of Jersey Club.
Can you explain what Jersey Club music is?
For starters, Jersey club music is a feeling. It is definitely a euphoric feeling. It’s a dance genre that encourages people to dance. It derived from Baltimore and Chicago house music in the ‘90s, and it’s kinda just the new generation’s take on dance music right now. It’s taking the world by storm man, y’all love it over there for sure.
And what are the key elements of the Jersey Club sound?
The key elements of jersey club sound are hard hitting beats, you know, it’s gotta be hard and fast. Definitely some samples – we are really big on sampling just random sounds, it could be a bed squeak, it could be an ambulance siren - there really are no limits. I feel like every Jersey club song consists of good vocal chops, that’ll resonate with you in the club, and really bring out the energy of the entire room. We just want it to be as wild as can be
Do you remember your first time experiencing the atmosphere of a club?
Aw man, yes I do – we used to have teen parties in high school, you know like school dances? I don’t count it, but we played club music at those. If we are talking a club, then it was definitely high school parties, just in clubs around Newark – my mum used to drop me off, or my homegirl’s mum used to drop me off, we would have a quick outfit change and go ham, it was jersey club all night… either that or the skating rink - those used to pop off for sure. Lit as hell.
I read somewhere that you worked in a liquor store? What were some other jobs you had before you set off as UNIIQU3?
I worked at blockbuster, it’s so funny – I was the manager, and it was the littest job ever, you didn’t have to do shit! But it started dying down because of Netflix, this was when Netflix wasn’t even a streaming site, it was actually renting a DVD… damn! That sounds so old. And so because of this, blockbuster went out of business… and that’s why I got the job at the liquor store, it was right next door. I had shitty jobs, and volunteer type odd jobs, I just had shitty teenager jobs.
Is your creative process more structured, or go with the flow?
When I’m working with myself its more go with the flow. When I’m working with other people, its more go with their flow I think… but I still wanna get shit done, ya know?
You toured New Zealand recently, how did it feel to come together with a whole bunch of awesome female DJs?
It felt so dope, first of all it was my first time in New Zealand, and I’m so happy it could be spent around women that align with the same things I do – just doing dope stuff for our community, and I really appreciate them. Man, it was such a spiritual experience.
The whole club scene seems quite youthful. Does it freak you out to think that eventually you’re just going to be old?
Oh my gosh, that’s hilarious. That is such a real ass question. I’m pretty sure when you’re done playing jersey club music, you go on to play house music and then you die. I used to be scared about getting old, but honestly I am embracing it all the time, because I am learning so much and have such a young free spirit – I feel like I still have a lot of energy, and still find everything so new, I can’t not be excited. I definitely learnt over time playing more gigs in different places and different festivals, that music is for everybody and there shouldn’t be an age limit to how much you can party. In the club, everyone is welcome. I’ll tell you, I’ve seen some fab old ladies, as well as this old couple back home love to rave, they’re at every single party like a mascot – I love it. I want to be like them when I’m old. I’m excited to get old, I’m going to own a club and a farm and shit.
Do you see the club as an escape from any worries or realities?
I so do, I think most people do – that’s why people are missing the club so much right now. It is definitely an escape, especially in times like these where people are in isolation, they appreciate it more. Music heals, and that’s where you go to hear music and express yourself. It definitely can be a therapeutic situation out on the dance floor. I miss it so much. Euphoric feelings.
Check out UNIIQU3's latest release below:
Words: Oli Spencer
Photography: Oli Spencer
Styling: Pipiana Hemi
UNIIQU3 wears Hunting Ground