Introducing: Jersey

Ben Jolley speaks to brothers Carl and Renaud of the hotly-tipped French DJ/producer duo Jersey about going viral, their lively DIY living room parties, and how they use AI to achieve electronic euphoria.

9 min
Introducing Jersey
Jan 29, 2024
Ben Jolley

Any dance music fan who has been on TikTok or Instagram Reels over the past few months will know that Jersey has quickly become one of the most exciting names in the electronic scene. The French DJ/producer duo have enjoyed viral success (several times) thanks to clips of their DIY house parties; a video in which brothers Carl and Renaud play the Lord of the Rings theme tune on keyboard and then remix it has clocked up a staggering 8.2 million views.

“It all comes together,” they say; “the YouTube video, the energy of the party. And geek references are fun!” Another snippet, with nearly two million views, shows a lampshade-wielding fan going crazy… all while Jersey impressively carry on like professionals. “It’s great to be able to convey something directly to people without having to seduce media or institutional intermediaries,” they say of their online notoriety; “making music surrounded by people was always the plan, and it’s happening!”

What’s even more impressive is that these kids of the 2000s only uploaded the full 80-capacity live session – brilliantly titled ‘we play music until someone breaks our synths’ – to their YouTube page in December. Nonetheless, it has already had more than 340,000 views, and one fan in the comments accurately predicted the future by writing, “watch this set blow up like the Fred again.. Boiler Room.” Jersey are more than happy with such a comparison: “he recreated a space where indie electronic music could shine again,” they agree. “We really like what he does, even if his influences are not the same as ours,” they add, citing a shared love of indie rock bands like The Pixies, Grandaddy and Radiohead. “People always need to link something they’re discovering to something they know well,” they suggest.

Jersey Beatport 1

However, what the everyday viewer might not realise is that Jersey have been plugging away – especially with trying to work the algorithm – for over a year now. Whether it’s bird’s-eye-view clips of them playing in their apartment, fisheye-lensed close ups of their wide range of production gear, or videos that transition from empty rooms to packed parties with hundreds of people – they undoubtedly know how to stop the scroll and grab attention.

Undoubtedly, the brothers have made big waves since they first started the project. Having made music together ever since they were children growing up in Normandy, forming a band was the natural next step – especially after being inspired by one of The Prodigy’s “astonishing” gigs. “I really loved their energy and the galvanized crowd,” they recall of that formative show. “As brothers, I think we have a common vision of the whole thing, so it was pretty logical for both of us to form a band to express it,” they agree. But what exactly did Carl and Renaud want to express? “The first thing was our desire to use a digital, glitched voice that would loop around a whole song,” they reflect. “The second was our will to create music that can be performed and improvised on during concerts.”

This resulted in the creation of their 2023-released debut EP, The World I’m Searching For, which sonically bridges the gap between Two Shell and Fred again… While their sound weaves together elements of hyperpop and club-ready electronic production, the brothers don’t think of music in binary terms. “We love many genres, but as long as it’s dance-y and electrifying, it’s cool,” they say.

Jersey Beatport 4

Alongside defying traditional conventions, the brothers keenly incorporate AI into their creative process. Using the software to manipulate their own vocals, and during their own live shows, they feel excited by its potential. “We use it our own way,” they say. “What is interesting for us is to see the aesthetics that come out of it, and how we can play with these textures. We just use it to generate unpredictable samples,” they explain. “So, right now, it doesn’t affect the musical creation that much; before AI, you could pick and sample anything from the billion files available online, but now you can even generate billions of samples through AI.”

Similarly to the aforementioned masked duo Two Shell, Jersey also use AI on their cover art. “We’re not really comfortable with the idea of showing ourselves completely, playing the photo game, and so on,” they say.

For this reason, they created digital models of their faces – and find the results far more compelling than a traditional cover shoot. “What AI generates is way more fun and interesting than regular pictures of us.”

While their Aphex Twin-style artworks certainly make Jersey’s releases stand out, it’s their now-viral intimate shows that have helped them to build a fanbase beyond their home country. “We like the idea of performing a concert in an apartment,” they explain of their live setup: “adapting and transforming a common living room into a party space.” By surrounding themselves with people (including many friends), the pair say they managed to “create something very lively, where we could perform and improvise freely, and where everyone can, in a sense, be part of the show.”

Jersey Beatport 3

This is certainly true of their upcoming “dream come true” London debut, which sold out within days and will be the first-ever live 360 show at Phonox. “We love this idea of doing something personal, close to the people,” they agree, adding that they often feel this is missing at electronic music shows. “It’s rather impersonal and full of visual effects or videos that sometimes have nothing to do with the music,” they suggest. Jersey are keen to rectify that: “We were raised on ’80s and ’90s British indie rock, and live shows seemed to be a lot funnier and totally unpredictable. Even from our personal experience, it’s more fun to play with people. We would be sad to do a gig too seriously and walk off stage without smiles on our faces,” they agree.

The UK is not the only place that the brothers are looking forward to visiting for the first time over the next few months, though, as Jersey have also announced an extensive European tour. Despite such a busy schedule, the brothers’ outlook on the future is surprisingly low-key. “We consider things step by step,” they say, although they reveal that they have been working on new music. “We would like to offer something similar; keep the best ideas from the first EP, and come up with some new sounds,” they tease. As for future ambitions, Jersey are keeping it refreshingly humble: “For now, our parents are proud and happy, so it’s really cool, but we’ll see what comes next (even if we already have lots of things in our minds!)” Either way, there’s no doubt that 2024 is going to be the biggest year of their careers so far.