Taking the Jersey Club Movement Out of New Jersey: An Exclusive Interview with R3LL

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After gaining notoriety mainly through a string of remixes and edits, New Jersey-native, R3ll, is now bringing the defining aspects of the Jersey Club Scene to the West Coast. His debut EP, Directions, received support from tastemakers among the likes of Diplo, Annie Mac, and more. Following the release of the first single off of his forthcoming EP, “Visions (feat. Alizzz),” we spoke with R3ll to find out more about his introduction to the Jersey Club scene, what makes it so unique, and of course, what we can expect next.

1. How did you get your start in music? Is there any particular song or artist that inspired you to become a producer?

First and foremost, I love to dance – the energy it gives me is like nothing else. The sound of Jersey Club is raw and high-energy and I just wanted to be a part of that world. Around 2006, I started throwing parties in New Jersey, this led to DJing and then onto producing when I started hanging with the Brick Bandits. They’re a very inspiring collective of producers and DJs who have pretty much single-handedly spawned this whole sound and movement.

2. How do you think your style has changed since you first started making music?

My style of music has evolved from when I started out, because I’m influenced by a lot of different music now, not just straight-up Jersey beats. I really enjoy incorporating ALL these different influences and evolving the sound. This goes hand in hand with my DJ sets; I don’t just play one genre or tempo all night, I work in a lot of my own edits to bridge the sounds and take the crowd on a journey.

3. As an integral member of the Brick Bandits, it seems like you played a significant role in taking the Jersey Club scene out of New Jersey and onto an international level. Can you tell us more about the sound and what makes it so special to you?

Jersey Club is a raw, high energy sound that will get you dancing no matter what. It’s always been special to me because I grew up listening and dancing to this music. To now be able to make Jersey Club music and help open up the sound to new listeners is a dream come true.

Stream R3LL & Alizzz’s “Visions” for a taste of what you can expect off his forthcoming Visions EP.

4.  Jersey Club has been around for a while and has only recently taken off in the past few years. What do you think was the biggest factor for its recent success?

I think the younger producers coming through have been very forward-thinking and are helping to push the sound in new directions. I also think the growth of the internet and social media such as SoundCloud has helped make the music more accessible from outside of Jersey. Also, Jersey Club grew beyond just a new genre, it became a real movement with it’s own choreography. Again, social media such as YouTube helped increase awareness, with some of the dance videos hitting millions of plays.

5. Newark has always been the central hub for the Jersey Club scene. Was it hard leaving New Jersey, and what do you do when you miss home?

Jersey may be the central hub for the scene, but by leaving, I’m hoping to expand that hub and showcase the true, authentic sound of Jersey Club around the country, and around the world. Leaving home is hard, of course; I miss my family and friends, but it’s exciting to be in LA. I’m meeting so many inspiring people and moving forward.

6. You recently partied with Dim Mak on our 20th Anniversary showcase at SXSW. How was that? Can we expect to see more performances from you in 2016?

The Dim Mak 20th Anniversary showcase was an amazing moment, it was my first time at SXSW and I brought the whole crew. I showcased the choreography alongside the music and just watched the crowd turn up with every single song I dropped. It was so much fun. The crowd was on fire and I’m still getting messages from people asking me to come back to Texas. 2016 has only just begun, but I will be performing more and more. So, I think you should get ready because I’m here and I’m ready to party!

R3ll performing at the 'Dim Mak 20th Anniversary: SXSW Party’ in Austin, TX

R3ll performing at the ‘Dim Mak 20th Anniversary: SXSW Party’ in Austin, TX

7. You’ve remixed artists from Missy Elliot to Keys n Krates to Lido, and you’ve even collaborated with Cashmere Cat on your remix of his song “Rice Rain.” Who is your dream artist you’d like to work with and why?

Chris Brown would be dope. A Jersey-influenced record with him on vocals and busting some Jersey moves – that would be too LIT!

8. You released your debut EP “Directions” last year on Brick Bandits new label—How was working on that, and what can we expect to see from you and your crew this year?

As “Directions” was my debut EP and the first release on Brick Bandits’s label, working on he EP was a lot of pressure, but also very special. When it came out and people showed so much love and support, that was really overwhelming for me. In 2016, you can expect more growth and more club bangers.

9. Can you tell us more about #THREAD? The party looks lit, do you think you’ll be bringing something like that to the streets of LA now that you’re here?

Thread is Nadus’ collective and event night in New Jersey. They’re great nights, everyone’s always on the floor all night long. I plan to bring a new club and event night to LA to recreate the authentic Jersey experience, with both Jersey and LA DJs spinning under one roof. We’re going to bring out dancers to showcase the moves and help everyone out here see that it’s more than just a sound, it’s our culture.

10. Alright, now it’s time for a West Coast v. East Coast showdown. Between California and New Jersey, which city has the better food/music/parties, etc.?

Hahaha, now it begins… I would have to say that overall Cali has better food, like Mexican and In N Out, but you guys don’t have the chicken spots like we do. As far as music, it has got to be 50/50 because there is so much music on both coasts that just doesn’t get heard. Cali definitely knows how to party, but nothing ever compares to a Jersey party – there is just more raw energy and people really dance. I’m all about getting down and sweating.

Lastly, catch a preview of what’s up next for the Jersey Club superstar, with a preview of the next single off of his highly anticipated EP–this time, calling upon the Japanese electro house prodigy, Banvox for “Down.”

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