YOU CAN’T STOP POP. You might remember the recent NEST HQ documentary highlighting the world of the JACK music community, one of the most effortlessly vibrant and inclusive event series across the globe. In the introduction, JACK is described as “the best show you can play.” Furthermore, “you’re gonna hear some of the most interesting and dynamic pop music you’ve ever heard in your life.”
I discovered NON STOP POP a little late to the game, just earlier at the start of the year. I had attended MAGfest, a convention located in Washington DC in February, which left me with a renewed adoration for Dance Dance Revolution and even greater newfound love for nightcore. Not long after, it was like my heart beat at that magic 160 BPM tempo – I couldn’t get enough. From the pitched-up vocals to the inspiring lyrics about believing in love, in yourself, and that dreams come true, the whole concept resonated with me. One of the first tracks I found and fell in love with was Mallory’s (babyteeth) edit of “2 Deep”, who I had the pleasure of meeting at JACK New York – and that is where this whole story ties together.
While JACK parties are home to some of the most complex pop music in the world, as well as a leading network for the hardcore dubstep hybrid framework starting to take the mainstream circuit by storm, it’s the community which is truly the most spectacular part of it all. I had formed countless friendships online with members of the NON STOP POP community, all brought together by a love for the music, and getting to meet these individuals IRL was a bit frightening but an absolutely breathtaking experience. The world of the JACK music community is unlike anything I have ever seen before, and it is arguably one of the best parties of this generation.
JACK New York was the second stop in a 2K16 WORLD TOUR, with the first event in London one week prior. With Ducky, Mitomoro, moistbreezy, Elevation, ABSRDST, Buji, Maxo, danika, and Space Candy on the bill, the line-up was stacked from start to finish – but more importantly, it was full of friends.
I made my way up from Washington DC bright and early, blue Red Bull in hand to power me on the drive. Early in the afternoon, I met up with Mito, Arielle (QUALIATIK), and fellow NEST HQ writer Matt (Skinny McToothpick). After a couple of hours of checking out cute doggos and picking up a wholesale case of juice boxes, we headed over to the Gateway at 9:30 PM sharp when doors opened.
The night prior, the RORA Team threw a showcase with smoothie tunes which I wish I could have been in attendance for, it looked pretty wild via Twitter. Be sure to check out both of those groups if you haven’t heard of them yet.
The venue was perfect, a two-story space tucked away in Brooklyn with JACK taking the upper level. It also had a pretty stellar rooftop for when you needed to take a minute, catch your breath, and cool off from the insanity indoors.
Space Candy opened the night up with an uplifting and absolutely wonderful blend of pop music meets harder electro basslines. Up next, danika performed her debut live set and stole the hearts of everyone in the room. Hearing her collab, “Her Loop”, off DZZ’s recent Wishes EP live was so incredibly stunning.
Afterwards, JACK veteran Maxo stepped up to the plate to keep the energy rising. We caught him outside after his set flipping water bottles for a solid 10 minutes until he achieved perfect form.
Buji. This is when things really started to get heavy and all the dubstep came out to play.
Ducky, moistbreezy, and Skinny McT rooftop chillin.
Jack (ABSRDST) had the prime halfway midnight time slot, debuting tons of new tunes.
Just after, Elevation hopped on the decks to bring a drum & bass offering sure to make ’em sweat if you weren’t already.
Club Aerobics merch in the house!
Cotton candy princess, moistbreezy, got the crowd emotional with her combo DJ set + vocal performance.
One of the tracks that turned me on to Ida’s (moistbreezy) music was when I heard her collab with CETANA, “Running”, on Dim Mak’s Ducky and Friends livestream in July earlier this year. Getting to watch her perform the track in person was an absolute dream.
Look it me.
Next, things got HARDCORE with Mitomoro. Hope you didn’t miss their bootleg of Toto’s “Africa”, it was kind of ridiculous.
Closing out the bill was someone I consider one of the best artists in the game right now from production to the DJ booth: Ducky. In March, I got a last minute flight on a whim to Miami during Miami Music Week, partially because I really wanted to see Morgan (Ducky) spin at Anna Lunoe’s HYPERHOUSE pool party. That was fun, but getting to see a full-on, anything’s game, hyper performance at JACK was next level.
While Morgan’s JACK New York set was not recorded to my knowledge, you can check out her JACK London set from the weekend prior, which featured a similar crate of tunes.
Friends on friends. What more can you want :)
The man of the hour, Simon Whybray.
Souvenirs. Now, with an electric orange membership card, one moistbreezy-approved moist towelette, and a heart and mind full of memories, I set out for home the next day after lunch in Manhattan with much of the gang.
While this might have been my first JACK event, it most certainly will not be my last. The sets were, without question, some of the best I have ever heard in my life — but it’s the community that makes this event series something extraordinary. When you’re surrounded by warm, inviting individuals who believe in you, it makes anything in the world possible.