Greetings from Jaeger – A summer like no other

There’s been a tendency in the media to compare our current situation to a lived-experience we’ve not confronted since the second world war. While I’ve found the comparison somewhat disproportionate to the horrifying reality of a war situation, at the same time it doesn’t quite capture just how extraordinary these times are. 

The countless lives lost to this unseen terror, where a mere sniffle to some could be life threatening to others and the constant thought of passing some inconspicuous disease onto somebody else or vice versa, as had us completely re-assess every aspect of how we live our lives. Everything from the way that we work to the way we socialise has changed drastically from the ordinary, and it’s hard to estimate what the permanent repercussions of the coronavirus will eventually be for the human race. Will we go on sneezing forever, our nose buried in our elbows, will the greeting as embrace eventually cease to exist, or will we forever be watching DJ sets from our computer screens?

 While we’re all very hopeful that a vaccine will be forthcoming, this could take years according to even the most liberal estimations and with cases flaring and as the virus continues to take lives, we have to accept these measures as the new norm in our society, at least for the time-being. But as humans we’ve always been resilient and we easily adapt to our circumstances, especially during a time of crisis. Part of our coping mechanism with difficult situations is the need to escape mentality, even if it’s just for a moment, and pursue a leisure activity, to regather the strength to go forward. And that’s why we dance.

For the best part of human existence music and dancing has played a significant role in the purely hedonistic pursuit in our coping mechanism and in the era of electronic dance music, the modern day club has been both initiating the desire and fulfilling the need for generations wanting to escape their daily circumstances. Whether it’s simply finding an outlet for work frustrations or the far more serious escape from racially- or gender incited persecution, club culture is always in constant dialogue with its social- and cultural surroundings to a point where it’s almost always at odds with the world around it. It’s possibly the last truly liberal safe space and that’s why it’s more important than ever that we persevere in our endeavours as a club at Jaeger. 

While the dance floor remains an elusive concept, we’ve been resolute in our efforts to keep the music going and give whatever counts for a scene a home. You might have seen/heard us streaming as we strived to reach those that can’t reach us under the strict conditions of the pandemic and when our diligent residents answered our call as we tentatively kick-started Jaeger’s sound system in May

Playing at a restrained volume and on a tempered beat, we’ve been able to facilitate a limited capacity and a seated audience with a reserved  DJ schedule, shortly after the most severe restrictions were lifted. During this time Finnebassen has joined our ranks as the defacto Thursday resident and Olle Abstract has taken over Sundays, spreading the gospel of House for a new concept called Sunday Service. 

Olle Abstract inaugurated the new concept under the pretext of Black Lives Matter after we bared witness yet again to the institutionalised racism in the American justice system after the  killing of George Floyd. It not only jarred – how can this type of thing still be happening? – but it also opened our eyes to the institutionalised racism happening everywhere, and even affecting some of our closest friends at Jaeger. Jaeger and Olle Abstract  dedicated the Sunday Service to the cause in an effort to raise funds for the cause with a DJ marathon from our sauna booth, with all proceeds going to the Black Lives Matter organisation. It  is but a drop in the ocean compared to what Black American music has given us, so this will not just be an isolated event at Jaeger, and we’ll continue to monitor the situation and help out where we can. We can always do better.

It seemed that between covid-19 and Black Lives Matter, issues kept expounding on each other, in some gloomy apocalyptic glare at our future, and it’s now more than ever that we need some kind respite from the real world, even just for a moment. Luckily we still have the music and as of June we’ve been allowed to stay open longer and move a little freer. We’ve started stretching the legs on our sound system just a little more as we pushed up the tempo and the volume, and while we still can’t accommodate a densely packed dance floor like the kind we had at Richie Hawtin in 2019 under the new regulations, a  shuffle at your table is welcomed and even encouraged. 

In part due to Ola Smith-Simonsen, the authorities pushed through the new 03:00 AM opening hours, but we’re still focussed on the health and safety of our patrons and our staff. We’ll be practising social distancing throughout July, including the queue outside and we urge everybody to help us contain the spread of this virus. The sooner we can curb it, the sooner we can get back to the dance floor. 

With that in mind  we’ve assembled a lineup representing the best of Oslo in July, playing from our sauna with our newly established residencies Sunday Service and Finnebassen settled and a new residency in the form of Loving Tuesdays, presented by Vari Loves starting this month. Our weekday favourite and longest-serving residency, Mandagsklubben is back and we’re operating at seven days a week again… the way it should be. Prins Thomas also returns in July for the second edition of Serenity Now(!) on Saturday the 25th and on Wednesdays we continue to pursue a kaleidoscopic melange of musical flavours from Drum n Bass to Techno.

Downstairs, you might have already heard the low rumble coming from our subterranean cabin as we shake loose the speaker enclosures of the sound system. Ola has been tuning and fiddling there throughout June because as of July we’ll be hosting selected nights from Diskon again. Yes the basement floor will gather dust no longer as g-HA, DJ Ost, Øyvind Morken and Roland Lifjell take up position in the booth throughout Frædag in July.

It is truly the first time in my 5-year history at Jaeger that I’ve seen an all-star Oslo lineup like this, and while the covid-19 situation is hardly something to find positives in, I’m hoping that we can finally turn the focus back on the resident and local DJ during this time. I’ve always been astounded by the quality of DJs in the city, and I’ve often found it a bit odd that we’ve placed so much emphasis on the “booking” than on the DJ  right on our doorstep. If there is one silver-lining that I hope that we take from this is that we realise the importance of the resident DJ, the true facilitator, somebody so embedded in a scene with an intimate knowledge of their dance floor and their audience standing on threshold, rather than warming up for somebody who is often less attuned to Oslo’s needs.

This will be the summer of the resident amongst other things, and we hope you’ll join us as we try to find some solace in these truly unprecedented times. We’ll do everything in our power to ensure your health and safety and provide some escape from the daily worries, even if it’s just a moment of repose as we continue to live with what could become the new norm. We hope you have a good summer and that we can share some of it with you.

See you on the dance floor….