Not only am I from New Jersey, but I'm a dance fan, so seeing Jersey Club producers and DJs like R3LL, Uniiqu3, Sliink, and Nadus really take it to the next level has been fascinating. R3LL aligned himself with Steve Aoki's Dim Mak imprint a few years back, and every month or two in 2017, I'd see him posting from another massive EDM festival like Tomorrowland, or talking about his tour dates in Japan. It's been exciting to see a truly homegrown sound making kids dance overseas in that way.
To kick off 2018, R3LL returns with his next EP, A JERZ Love Story, which drops on Friday, Jan. 12. We got the opportunity to share a cut before its release, and it was only right that we feature his collaboration with Uniiqu3, "Ride Dat," which is sure to soundtrack your journey to the function AND your turn up at said function. R3LL also took the time out to talk to us about his 2017, his predictions for Jersey Club's future, and if Steve Aoki is really about that Jersey Club life. Press play and get familiar.
In following your moves through 2017, you took the Jersey Club sound all across the globe. Did your world travels influence your new Dim Mak EP?
From across the U.S., to Tomorrowland in Belgium, to South Korea and Japan, I was busy spreading the sound from my hometown throughout 2017. I could feel the energy wherever I played and it was amazing to see people from all over the world get down to Jersey Club. The reassurance that this sound just grabs people, no matter where they’re from, influenced me to work more with artists from back home, to create an opportunity to take people even deeper into our world.
Talk to us about the title, A JERZ Love Story.
I called the EP A JERZ Love Story because this is my love letter to Jersey. It’s now been 13 years since I started DJing and promoting parties back home and Jersey Club has changed my life; it's taken me all over the world and introduced me to some amazing people. But more importantly, through the ups and downs, it’s a constant reminder to be true to myself, because it’s shown me that I don't have to fit in and sound like everyone else.
How did this collab with Uniiqu3 come together?
Uniiqu3 and I have [been] trying to work on a track for a while now. I finished "Ride Dat" a few months before and was playing it out, but I knew something was missing, so I sent it over to Uniiqu3. She added her verse and took it to the next level. Now, I’m excited we have an opportunity to rock this on the same stage.
You're showing love to a Jersey-based sound with a collection of Jersey-based artists. Where do you see the Jersey Club sound going this year and beyond?
I see Jersey Club music growing more this year, and for years to come. Jersey just has this energy that can't be explained and you don’t really get the full experience until you witness it in a club; it makes everyone get on the floor, where we have original moves and style. Jersey Club isn’t just a sound, it’s a culture. So, the more we can get people down to the club, the more Jersey Club will continue to grow.
Tell the truth: Does Steve Aoki turn up to Jersey Club?
He’s definitely seen the effect it has on crowds, it’s only a matter of time before he’s out there playing Jersey himself; throwing out cakes, while I’m doing the running man.