In the course of a decade, HARD has become one of dance music’s most globally recognized event producers. This August marks a major milestone for the brand: the 10-year anniversary of its flagship festival, HARD Summer. To celebrate the momentous occasion, Gary Richards and co. have pulled out all the stops for their LA institution with prestigious headliners such as Dog Blood, Justice, Bassnectar, and Snoop Dogg. However, the festival’s enviable lineup extends far beyond its closing slots. Delving further into the lineup, we’ve tapped some of our favorite acts on the bill for an interview series leading up to the festival.
Each year, HARD Summer builds a lineup that manages to strike a well-rounded balance of nostalgia and influenced tastemaking, forcing main stage EDM to rub shoulders with electronic splinter genres, hip-hop, disco, and more. Holding down this year’s due dose of Tri-state club fare, Newark-export UNiiQU3, is bringing her boisterous brand of house-inspired beats to southern California and she’s pulling out all the stops for her biggest billing to date.
UNiiQU3, characterized by her peers and supports as an unadulterated source of energy, is carving out her niche in the Jersey Club space with her name worn proudly on her sleeve. She’s already aligned with some of the most veritable production forces in the game, with heavy support by Skrillex, A-Trak, Anna Lunoe, and Nina Las Vegas.
Compared to many of the artists she shares the HARD Summer bill with, the Jersey up-and-comer is still fairly new to the scene. However, the achievements she’s racked up thus far and her finely-tuned tastes prove that UNiiQU3 is in no way a novice.
Read our interview with UNiiQU3 below.
What was your first label release? Would you still play it in a show?
My first label release [was] my New Klassiks mixtape on one of my favorite UK labels, Lit City Trax. I had remixed all the classic Chicago Ghetto House, Jersey and Baltimore tracks with my friends. It was dope because was never done before plus I wanted to educate people about the classic tracks. I still play them out now and I often hear people ring them off. Timeless.
What has been the biggest breakthrough of your career?
Hmm that’s hard. I feel like I’ve made many strides that got overlooked, like curating a stage at AfroPunk’s festival 3 years ago after I used to volunteer the festival. I booked some Jersey Club Heavy Hitters like Tim Dolla, Mike Gip etc. That was a moment… Oh maybe it was when I flew to London for the first time for 72 hours to play Just Jam’s event at the Barbarian Theatre. That was the first time I got exposed to Grime and all that UK Bass. I had people dancing in a place where they have Shakespeare plays, Skepta performed, General Levy, Traxman it was nuts.
What are you looking forward to most about HARD Summer?
Honestly, performing. I love it and I haven’t really played that many big festivals in the states and Hard was literally on my bucket list this year and BOOM I’m outchea. Aside from djing I incorporate a sick ass live set. Every set is different too I freestyle everything based on the energy I get from the crowds. Plus I gotta rep for the ladies, my brown girls b/c Dj Heather and I are the only female djs of color. I wanna break some barriers, turn up, see some sick sets and meet some cool peeps.
What is different about your experience performing at festivals now as opposed to the beginning of your career?
Well I’m definitely not as nervous as I used to be, even though I get nervous before everything. I just know to really show my personality on stage because that’s what my fans love. I also know to wear proper shoes.
If you could be another artist for a day, who would you pick?
Hmmmm it would def be Prince. He was such a rock star, and so talented.
If you could recommend three artists to catch from the lineup, who would you pick?
Ohh man Madame X is a savage, you can def catch me at her set skankin okay ( that’s a uk term, if ya’ll ain’t hip.. go to her set )
Also Cashmere Cat, his show is always beautiful and I absolutely adore his light show. It takes it from a dj set to an experience.
I’m def going to see Mobb Deep, I was heartbroken when the news surfaced about Prodigy, I know that the performance will be a special one.
If you were recruited to provide an Essential Mix in 2017, what’s the one song you couldn’t leave out?
Bring in the Kats – Rod Lee & Porkchop.. Shit goes.
Prepare for UNiiQU3’s HARD Summer set with her own specially-curated, exclusive playlist for the festival.