Newark-based Jersey club producer, DJ TiGa, announced his debut mixtape for NYC's Lit City Trax label, and shared the gymnastic, outrageously propulsive mixtape cut "sTiCK'eM." The Sound: Vol.1 is the label's second release in the genre, following fellow UNiiQU3's 2014 mixtape The New Klassiks.
If Jersey club is often reductively defined by a bump-bump, bump-bump-bump kickdrum pattern, the 26-year-old producer and former Brick Bandits-affiliate proves just how versatile and unpredictable it can be. This is wonderfully clear on "sTiCK'eM," exclusively premiering today on THUMP. Starting with a ballroom-esque vocal sample and becoming animated with a skittering keyboard line evocative of early-aughts Top 40 hip-hop, the track turns into a playground for testing out thrilling series of complex rhythmic interplay.
The Sound: Vol.1 will be available for free download on Lit City Trax's website May 5. Stream the track below THUMP's interview with the producer.
THUMP: Is there any specific message of this mixtape series?
DJ TiGa: I want people to pay attention—there's more to Jersey club than what they've been hearing. If you listen to everything I do, I go from trap, house, R&B, progressive house, tropical, some type of merengue… I try to challenge the track. I'm not trying to just give you a remix of a two-minute bootleg so you can mix it into your song.
I just want to help everybody catch up so that nobody feels left behind, because there's a lot to it, with the chopping, and the sampling and everything, so I'm gonna start with the basics.
How would you describe your sound on this mixtape?
It's definitely a balance from the rough and the gritty to the nice and the clean. But it's still gonna keep the essence of Jersey club. It's not all pretty. [Jersey club] wasn't always pretty. Similar to footwork, [DJ] Rashad and [DJ] Spinn's earlier work, it's all over the place. But with the later releases, they became in tune with who they were becoming along with what they were producing.
Why do you want to draw that connection between the grittier sound and the cleaner sound?
At the end of the day, I honestly love the hard bass. I love the hardcore feel. It's authentic. It's just what I grew up on. My parents are still in love with wax even though there are remastered CDs—the old school feel is always gonna capture the heart 'cause it comes from the soul.
Sometimes [when the mix is cleaner on a Jersey club track], the kicks don't hit as hard. To me, Cashmere Cat's production is beautiful. And that's the thing: it's beautiful. But club music isn't beautiful. It's supposed to make you sweat, you're supposed to jump, you're supposed to be able to scream to the top of your lungs.
I just love the hard-hitting bass, the choppiness of taking one vocal from a song and applying it to another song to make a whole new verse.
I noticed a lot of different music styles on the mixtape—I heard the dembow rhythm a couple times.
I'm actually multicultural. I'm Haitian and Dominican at the same time and I have a lot of friends that are diverse and that are from different nations, and I love being around different nations. I love all types of music, so it brushes off on me a lot. I notice a lot of people like it and find it very different—I don't hear it, but I know it's there because I know I'm influenced by many different styles of music.
How many mixtapes will there be in the series?
At this moment we have four done, but I don't know how many more we're gonna do. I have about 500-600 tracks I want to release over mixtapes. They're all gonna be for free because now SoundCloud isn't allowing us to share this with the world, and we're not charging anybody. I'm not trying to make money of it. I'm just doing it for the love of the music.
What do you see happening with the Jersey club scene in the near future? What do you hope for it?
There's missing people who helped within the history of Jersey Club, and I hope that over time, as the industry becomes hungry for a new sound, it won't just go to the next mainstream producer and have the imitated. I hope the industry becomes open to the style and the genre, and gives where it comes from, the culture, and those producers a chance. So that the people outside who are listening are actually listening to the right music, or to the right production, or to the right style of it.
Are you seeing lots of examples of the opposite behavior?
Actually, no. Skrillex has been doing a wonderful job at the moment. Sliink had a party last week, it was just a pop up show, and Skrillex was the special guest. Everybody from Jersey was there—he got the hood pass. He's good in our books. That's a beautiful way of just showing love. You can just do that, just embrace the culture and share with everyone. That really did a lot for us.
The whole culture, everybody knows each other. We've all grown up together and DJ'd in the same neighborhoods and everything. So this means means a lot to us, and the way things are going, it's going pretty well.
Follow Alexander on Twitter.