Skip to main content

Home Music Music Features

Jockstrap: expect the unexpected

As Jockstrap release their debut album, Rolling Stone UK chats to the pop duo who never stop moving

By Will Richards

Jockstrap’s Georgia Ellery and Taylor Skye (Picture: Eddie Whelan)

Jockstrap have a mantra within the band: always trust your first idea. “We nearly always go with it,” says Georgia Ellery, specifically in relation to their music video for recent single ‘Glasgow’. “We’re the ones who know the music best,” she adds of herself and bandmate Taylor Skye. “You can work with the best director in the world and it’s still not going to be as good as that initial idea, because that comes from the same place [as the music]. It’s made for each other.”

The ‘Glasgow’ video, a coming-of-age story that sees the pair running through fields and diving into water, is dizzying, glorious and often head-scratching; three things that define the music and art Jockstrap make.

Ellery and Skye formed the group in 2018 after meeting when they were both students at London’s Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Ellery, also a member of Black Country, New Road, has been playing violin since the age of five, while Skye — who studied electronic music — does his work mainly while hunched over a computer.

As part of their seemingly traditional musical education, they formed Jockstrap, a project in which Skye takes Ellery’s often simple, sweeping songs and puts them through a future-pop blender, with hard-left turns at every juncture. Some of their music feels fit for concert halls, while other tracks belong in the heat of a messy rave. In another curveball — standard practice for the duo — they were originally signed to legendary electronic label Warp for a series of early EPs, but upcoming debut album I Love You Jennifer B will come out via indie stalwarts Rough Trade.

The album has been created over the past three years, and a lot of its material was workshopped at some of the band’s soon-to-be-infamous London parties. At cosy Hackney venue The Glove That Fits, the band have been throwing parties over the past year with local DJs and often performing PA sets themselves. As YouTube videos of the nights attest, they’re delightfully freeform expressions of creativity and intense dance music.

Jockstrap’s Georgia Ellery and Taylor Skye (Picture: Eddie Whelan)

“Going to clubs has been a big part of why we came to meet each other in the first place,” Skye explains, revealing that the pair are making up for lost time with their raves, having been too young to go clubbing when they were first exposed to dance music. Through these parties, their abrasive live sets and a series of collaborations (Ellery worked on a lockdown project with Jamie xx for BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction), dance music and culture is very much in Jockstrap’s DNA.

The most striking thing about the duo, though, is how they constantly find ways to innovate and disrupt their creative process to keep things fresh. “I grew up listening to radio rips on YouTube of dance music, and it’s really compressed and has a very distinctive sound,” Skye remembers, revealing that for debut album track ‘Greatest Hits’, Jockstrap managed to get a demo version of the song played on Radio 1 under a fake name, before ripping it back off the airwaves to use for the album.

“When you do that, you can’t really figure out where all the sounds are coming from when you listen back,” he adds, putting his finger on just what makes Jockstrap’s music so unknowable and magical.

Taken from the October/November 2022 issue of Rolling Stone UK. Buy it online now.