From Iceland — Continuous-Rave Radar

Continuous-Rave Radar

Published December 4, 2023

Continuous-Rave Radar
Rex Beckett
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Continuous-Rave Radar

It’s a cold night. The mind races. You think about the club. The one friend who hasn’t betrayed you. The only one who will still be there at sunrise. Your detector is going off. You are ready to get on the Radar.

On the same weekend that Iceland Airwaves filled our city with music, a brand new and much anticipated bar entered the scene. Radar Reykjavík (or simply Radar) turned on their soundsystem and fired up the neon lights in the legendary Naustin locale that previously housed such hot spots as Gaukur á Stöng, Bakkus and, most recently, Húrra. More than just a bar, really, Radar positions itself as a proper club set to bring Reykjavík’s clubbing culture out of the shadows.

“We have not had such a place in Reykjavík for way too many years now,” says Sam Wise, an electronic artist and one half of Radar’s ownership team. “Places like Nasa, Broadway and Faktory, for example, were perfect venues for our culture, but they shut down 10 years ago. Some even longer ago. Radar is a venue bringing the standard of proper clubbing in the same fashion as in the European electronic scene, for the locals to enjoy. ”

Focusing solely on electronic music, Radar is a venture by the same team behind Bravó, a place that for several years has served as something of a microclub, a de facto home for the dance-floor-bound techno lovers who live and pass through here. With their regular programme of electronic DJs and artists blowing up the tiny corner bar, they had long outgrown the space constraints. The recent closure of Húrra presented the perfect opportunity for growth.

Along with co-owner Klaudia Gawryluk, Sam and the team gave the interior a stripped down to the bones, ultra dark and cool makeover, giving it a sleek Neon Demon-esque feel.

“The place had most of its infrastructure there but we cut out and replaced what we wanted to change, in order to renovate but also in order for the place to be fit for our culture,” says Sam of the black-and-neon no-frills décor that highlights the original structure while futurising the atmosphere. “Our team designed a unique custom made sound system and changed the whole stage production of lights and visuals to fit our direction.”

Despite the size of the city and the ongoing stigma of drugs being omnipresent in dance music culture, the Radar team envisions the club as a haven for lovers of quality electronic music and the freedom of dancing.

“Iceland is very progressive in many ways, but at the same time heavily old timey when it comes to [others],” says Sam. “We want our doors to be open for anyone who wants to listen and dance in a comfortable and safe space that offers a standard of quality that is unique in Reykjavík in terms of curation and experience.”

Freshly inaugurated, the team is still getting the space up to full use. Plans to book live acts are taking shape, as are arrangements to transform the downstairs space into a visual arts space. Soon, this place truly will have everything. For now, Radar is already a hit with those who have followed the signal.

“We are very happy to experience joy from people expressing their positive thoughts and feedback so far,” says Sam. “The ones that are here for this culture are excited and thankful at the same time, which is without a doubt the best type of feedback we can get, because it means we are working correctly on our precious objective: bringing the standard of electronic clubbing in Iceland to an international level.”

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