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Seeds & Stems: How Jersey Club Made Its Way To New Zealand

A look at how music can transcend geographical boundaries into dancefloors across the globe.
Eastern Bloc

As part of Bose's Sounds of Summer, we take a look at how musical subgenres spread beyond geographical borders in our Seeds & Stems series. Here we take a look at how Jersey Club made its way 14,000 kilometres across oceans into the clubs of New Zealand.

SEEDS

Jersey Club emerged alongside Philly Club as a variation of Baltimore Club, with New Jersey selectors and producers sliding the tempo up to around the 140bpm mark with a more exuberant, accessible focus on the dancefloor. To put it simply, Jersey Club is serious fun.

The subgenre has steadily made its present felt throughout the past few years, still flying below the radar of the commercial mainstream while reverberating through dancefloors across the globe. Unlike the dominance of Atlanta trap and its fusion with EDM, Jersey Club still feels like a sparsely utilised tool for producers outside of New Jersey. That's not to say big-name artists haven't clued on yet.

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Elements of Jersey Club can be traced in tracks from the likes of heavy-hitters Cashmere Cat and Skrillex, along with collaborations with more traditional proponents of the style from New Jersey.

STEMS

Earlier in 2015, THUMP premiered "Pop Like" – a snappy, up-tempo cut from Wellington production duo Eastern Bloc. The influence of Jersey Club on the track is massive, with its "amen breaks and staccato vocals", but as Eastern Bloc explain, with due reverence, they have a high level of respect for the form. "Having interacted and followed a lot of New Jersey based pioneers & frontrunners like the Brick Bandits & R3ll, UNiiQU3, and Tameil we understand and respect the level of geographical pride that comes with the genre. That's why if we had to put a label on what we do ourselves it's generally always Jersey Club 'influenced'."

When you think of dance music, chances are you're not thinking of New Zealand. But thanks to young producers such as Eastern Bloc and more generally receptive audiences for international tours, the genre is gaining increasing prominence in the country's musical landscape.

"New Zealand is a small place and the dance community, although diverse is somehow quite unified and open. There were a lot of genre 'cross-pollination' type events which was a great avenue to explore new sounds as well as network & share with others doing the same as yourself," Eastern Bloc explain. "The Carmack-esque minimal trap sound is really popular right now amongst upcoming producers. Also the 'future bass', Australian bass pop is still really strong. We are finding though that dance floors are really opening up to Jersey Club considering it fits in so well with other genres, but mostly it's organic rawness has the instant gratification factor to make people move."

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With the emergence of any art produced by a localised community, there can be a perceived conflict between its possession and proliferation. It's an aspect Eastern Bloc are acutely aware of when approaching Jersey Club. "There are purists of the genre who like to keep the term regional, and those open to see the sound evolve and their area code being repped globally. Whatever side you're on, the important thing is to respect where it came from."

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Eastern Bloc's debut EP Flamingo is out now.