Eastern bloc are a Wellington duo who are pioneering Jersey Club in New Zealand. Jersey Club is a genre played at 130-145bpm
and is characterised by its bouncy kicked bass drums and repetition of short vocals taken from Hiphop and RnB hits.
Marek and Artur (Beat Mob) have become a staple of the local scene, leading a range of nights including one at WGB Favourite Betty's.
How do you think being a promoter has helped your career if at all?
M: I've always kept them very separate. If anything my DJing has helped my promotion as its kept me in the loop with current music trends on a ground level. its all good seeing a 9.7 star review on Pitchfork or the fader, but if 10 kids ask for Young Lean in a night theres a fairly good chance a local show would work.
How has Djing for so long before becoming a production due altered how you see music? (if at all)
M: Obviously with any job the more experience with either, the more tricks and techniques you pick up along the way. We have a good balance of both and our own specific skillsets which makes working together fairly easy. Creating unique stuff which is technically and sonically fun, but also accessible.
Have you found audiences are struggling to come around to Jersey Club as a genre?
M: With the introduction of any new genre to an existing 'scene' its really important not to force it onto people prematurely. Keeping things organic by dropping more familiar bits and pieces earlier, normally club remixes of known rap or pop tunes to ease things and take it from there depending on the crowd.
Its still in its infancy in NZ with only a handful of people playing it so most of our core audience are from the USA. Locally our sets are generally quite diverse with most aspects of 'bass' music covered but every show we do though more and more people are opening up to it and wanting more Jersey stuff..
Also people like Diplo & A-trak exposing it regularly, and Cashmere Cat now producing for Kid Ink, Jeremih, and Ariana Grande follows the same pattern as dubstep & trap where the underground infiltrates the mainstream audiences which I'm sure will make things a lot easier in the upcoming months.
What has been your strangest tour experience?
M: I'm sure with a bunch of tours locked in there are bound to be more, but currently nothing major apart from the time when Artur nutted on my hotel bed when I was out. That was hilarious.
What do you see as the key difference in making Eastern Bloc tracks and making tracks as Beat Mob?
A: I guess Beat Mob is and has always been a purely experimental musical venture. The name itself stems from my inability to decide on any one concrete musical style or genre in regards to production - a collection (mob) of different Beats. Eastern Bloc tracks on the other hand have a concrete stylistic and sonic pallet based around Jersey club. However, not every Eastern Bloc track is just Jersey Club, there are many musical influences pulled into the production that can be heard throughout.
How has the reception been different between the two?
A: Because Eastern Bloc is a new project much of our musical and promotional efforts have been towards pushing it through the door so to speak. Generally the reception for Eastern Bloc, at least statistically has been better.
How did you guys meet?
A: Marek and I always used to play together at various events around Wellington. I think it was at one post TNC (The Nark Collective) rinse we found out that we were both Eastern European, loved vodka, sneakers and the same music genres.
M: this led to a like-minded club night called 'Eastern Bloc' which led to a mixtape, which ultimately led to original production & studio time. The rest was a blur
Who would you like to open for? A: We are influenced by a lot of producers and Djs but I think we would really love to open for dudes like Cashmere Cat, Trippy Turtle, DJ Sliink, Hoodboi, R3ll, Nadus and of course Tom Jones.
Will we see more original work in the coming months? A: Of course things are always in the works and there will be more news regarding original bits, remixes and an EP along the line. Listen out.