By: Durty Durham
The year is 2015. Somewhere in Jersey, a blend of chopped vocals, deconstructed breaks and thunderous staccato 808s has birthed a global futuristic movement of producers, inspired by the kinetic force of Baltimore Club Music, blazing smoldering trails in clubs worldwide. Emerging from the flames with a blowtorch, the #JerseyClubKween UNiiQU3 continues to keep the club LIT.
Lucky for us, UNiiQU3 is on her way to ignite the Pinhook tomorrow night for Party Illegal. With support from GRRL (NestHQ), and Party Illegal conspirators Queen Plz and Sup Doodle, this party is going to be FIRE (luckily, Queen Plz always brings a water gun to cool us all off).
Since it’s UNiiQU3’s first time in Durham, we thought we’d get to know her better in this exclusive interview for Clarion Content.
Durty Durham: 2015 was a busy year for you. Do you have a favorite moment from this year?
UNiiQU3: 2015 was super-busy for me. One of my favorite moments this year had to be touring in general – traveling places in North and South America, and Europe, meeting my KR3W (my supporters, my babies), exploring new places, and trying new things. SXSW was soooo hectic but so much fun because I had my dancers and friends from Jersey rolling with me to, like, all 10 shows I had. Also, playing with some friends that I look up to like Cashmere Cat, Anna Lunoe, Bok Bok, and many more. I really got the chance to find myself in the process – so amazing.
DD: You’ve been playing a lot of shows outside the US lately. What is the response to Jersey Club music when you play it in other countries?
U: Yes I’ve actually been touring Europe more than the states. Like, I’ve still never been to Atlanta or Miami yet. When I go to other places, they show mad love. Every place I go to, I let it be known what Jersey Club is about, what I’m about, and that it’s time to forget about everything for the next 60-90 minutes and have fun. I mean, I don’t just play Jersey Club in my sets…and I get from behind the booth and perform now, so I can interact with the crowds. It’s dope…we all be lit.
DD: How did you get into DJing and producing? Was there anyone in particular who inspired you to start making music?
U: I used to just party a lot. We used to have the promotional party teams when I was in High School, and everyone was in them. I used to be with all the DJs like Sliink, Jayhood, Nadus, Lilman, L-Spiz, etc. and I just wondered why there was never any girls. So my boyfriend, who was also a DJ, taught me after I asked him to. As far as producing, I used to just be a vocalist and a DJ, but was so over waiting for the guys to finish tracks with the cuts I gave them. So I started producing shortly after that. I remember my laptop crashed, and I didn’t make music for a whole year. But I’ve started back up, so this is my 3rd year producing.
DD: What are you looking forward to for 2016? Any plans you can tell us about?
U: 2016 is going to be great. I’ve learned and grew so much this year as a person and musically. It was honestly a slow music year for me. Didn’t release as much as I wanted to, but I have a lot of things planned that you’ll just see when it happens.
DD: If someone told you they had never heard Jersey Club music before, what would you play them?
U: Hmm I’d def play them some throwback line-dance Jersey Club tracks like DJ Jayhood – Rock My Hips or DJ Frosty – Ride That Wave, and some booty bounce music by DJ Fresh – Shake That Ass and DJ Sliink – Dimples In Her Back. Then I would def play them some throwback Baltimore club so they know where our inspiration came from.
DD: Could you talk about your experience being a woman in a largely male-dominated industry?
U: It’s cool. I mean, it has its positives and negatives. I feel like when it came to my scene, being a female was beneficial because it gave me more attention, because there wasn’t that many females DJing and producing. Yet sometimes I’ll have those douchebags that think I can’t play or produce because I’m a female, and I always get categorized as a “FEMALE DJ”…”FEMALE PRODUCER”…”LADIES’ NIGHT.” They don’t do that to guys – “ALL GUY LINE UP”…”MALE DJ.” LOL that shit is so annoying.
DD: Do you feel pressure to be “put together,” to wear makeup, to be fashionable as a female performer? Do you enjoy it?
U: Yes, I do feel a bit pressured. But then again, no, because I’m a real female. Girls always have been taught to keep their appearance up; it’s just something that’s expected of females in general. It’s 2015 though, and image is so important to people nowadays, with social media being such a thing. I enjoy getting made up sometimes. I never have a cake face; I love fashion to a certain extent. Now that I’m performing, aside from DJing, I care about my looks a bit more just because I want to look good for myself.
DD: What is something that people regularly assume about you that isn’t true?
U: I think a lot of people think I bump Jersey Club all the time, but I actually listen to R&B and, like, mellow beats on the regular. I’m so super shy if I don’t know you and I get nervous before every show.
DD: Who is one artist you would love to work with?
DD: What is your production process like? Do you have coherent ideas before you start, or is it more experimentation?
U: I come up with most of my vocals in the shower. Idk why, but I just do. And I come up with the best lyrics. Sometimes I produce first and then write lyrics, and sometimes I produce off the melodies of the lyrics. It depends. When I produce remixes, I just go how I feel. Everything is about how I feel – ain’t no blueprints when it comes to me.
DD: What are the most important elements of a good party? What is crucial to make a party pop off?
U: The music, the girls, and the atmosphere. The music needs to appeal the crowd you’ve brought in. Girls are so important, because if we don’t dance, I doubt the guys will – except in Jersey…LMFAO. Lastly the atmosphere must be right because it sets the mood of the party along with the music. You want people to feel comfortable so they can be themselves and have fun.
DD: Thanks for taking the time for this interview; we’re really looking forward to having you come through tomorrow!
Illegal Presents: UNiiQU3 x GRRL x Queen Plz x Sup Doodle
107 W Main St, Durham
$10 advance / $12 door, 21+
PURCHASE TICKETS HERE
*Featured image by @shootpeople
**Full disclosure: Clarion Content’s Editor is affiliated with Party Illegal