Residents’ Hour: Olin (smartbar)

This week’s Resident’s Hour instalment clocks in from house music’s spiritual home — Chicago. Resident of the iconic smartbar Olin [Jason Garden] affords us an insight into its magic.

Black Madonna — Dekmantel 2016

“In 2008 whilst making the tough decision what the fuck to do with my life, I knew two things about Chicago: there was a law school there that would accept me; and smartbar existed. That’s all it took to convince me, and before I knew it, I was a student of law and house music in equal measure. Eventually, my love for one waned while my passion for the other waxed. One huge reason for both sets of circumstances were my experiences with smartbar.

“smartbar is the kind of place where you go to realise your passion and desire on the dancefloor. For some people, that means being completely engrossed in the music and losing all sense of self. For others, it means connecting deeply via the music to friends or loved ones or complete strangers. For some, it means an amorphous sense of community that is inextricably linked to the politics of the dancefloor — but also extends far beyond that geographical space. Regardless of what your relationship to the space is, it is often deeply personal, but paradoxically one that you can comfortably wear on your sleeve without any sense of pretension or fear of judgement.”

“Chicago is a place of paradox and conflicting realities. It is incredibly diverse, yet hugely segregated. That statement can also be applied to a micro level when we’re talking about the dance music scene here. There are quite a few de facto factions — some based on interest, some based on common ties to a place or time and some simply happenstance. In many ways it is a scene that is crushed by its own weight: hugely influential, but never quite able to get out of its own way; doe eyed and optimistic, but overflowing with haters.

“On a lighter note: the mix is the last hour or so of my opening set before Sven Weisemann at my Slack residency in June. For this one, I wanted to have a nice build up to Sven’s set, who — as I’m sure many know — is a DJ who can wear many stylistic hats. Accordingly, I stayed fairly middle of the road in terms of my selections and wanted to build tension as opposed to take the crowd on a journey. It was a fun night and I hope folks enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed playing it.”


Tune in fortnightly for a new episode of Residents’ Hour. Next up — we’re stopping off in Seoul, South Korea.