Gillead Gaari, a house/garage DJ who spends half his year in London and the other half in D.C., was on Late Bloom Radio in January talking about the role criticism plays in club culture today.
“When I wanna go to a club, I wanna see people dancing. I don’t wanna see people judging each other. I’ve been to a couple clubs in D.C. over the years. Before I found the places I really wanted to go to, I had to go to places...you go somewhere and there’s immediately someone staring at you as someone who doesn’t necessarily belong,” he explained.
There’s a high level of vanity in scenes all over the world. People are being assessed for the clothes they wear, if they bought bottle service more than it’s actually about enjoying the vibrations of the night.
“We’re a city of ‘Very Important People,’ so it’s like, ‘Who is you?’” Jamal Gray, host of Late Bloom Radio outlined the District’s politics. “Even on the street level it’s like, ‘Who is you?’”
Gray prodded Gaari and asked him if he felt like there was a venue within Washington, D.C. where people could be free.
“I got a place. Shout out Van Hillard--showed me so much love when I came back to D.C. It’ll take you a two-minute walk from [Adams Morgan] to go to Studio Gaga. That’s the most chill dive bar. That’s the first directive I’m giving you,” GG said.
Studi Ga Ga is an exploratory space, though it is equipped with the essentials--a dance floor (with a disco ball!) and bar space. Some nights all you have to do is walk in and you’ll be transported to the underground, where Nappy Nappa is wearing blacked-out fighter-pilot goggles or this girl from Texas, Nicki Apostolow, is shrieking into vinyl records as she scratches them.
Asmara Lounge on 18th St. is the Ethiopian restaurant that hosts Studio Ga Ga on its second floor. Over the last three months, Hillard has regularly hosted the program titled, ‘Tech Yes’ with the consistent trio Tony Kill, Ledroit, and Sir E.U. Formerly known as “Delta 7,” the DMV natives project the perfect combination of house, experimental, and hip-hop sonics that you forget the name is Studio Ga Ga rather than Studio 54. It’s not hard to stay in that groove for several hours--the drinks are cheap, too.
Unfortunately, last Wednesday’s Tech Yes popped off without Tony Kill, who recently landed a feature in The Fader for his slow bounce, chopped up Gogo redux of 24 Hours’ “What You Like.” However, it was a treat to see Rob Smokes return to his hip-hop roots in support of Ledroit and Sir E.U.
It’s a familial vibe at Ga Ga, you can feel the camaraderie. A GW senior found herself amongst the scene for the first time a couple weeks back. It was a paradigm-shifting moment for her to realize this type of movement happens in Adams Morgan--a place she frequents for brunch and coffee shop outings. The scene deserves more love from the youth. Save the shade for the clubs in Dupont and come lose your inhibitions. Who knows, you might come back.
Studio Ga Ga
2218 18th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20009