Blackout is a monthly Thursday night party at Chicago's most beloved underground venue, Smartbar. The event is dedicated to providing Chicago clubgoers with innovative and forward-thinking techno, minimal, and house music at an affordable price. Blackout has played host to both influential veteran and up-and-coming producers and DJs. The event features a different guest artist each month, while also showcasing a supporting roster of talented local performers. Kiddo is your humble host and resident DJ each month.

Check out this page every month to learn about the upcoming Blackout event and its headlining guest performer.


3730 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL
$5 all night

upcoming blackout events

February 8, 2007

  • with Someone Else: live (Philadelphia)
  • Cyborg K: live
  • John Robert: live/dj
  • Kiddo
  • view flyer
Someone Else

someone else

someone else: bio

someone else is philadelphia's sean o'neal, co-founder of the tuning spork and fuzzy box record labels. o'neal's production skills are garnering respect among internationally renowned djs and labels alike, as reflected by his releases and remixes on musik krause, tuning spork, foundsound, mo's ferry, microcosm, nummer and many others. a stalwart of philadephia's deep house, minimal techno and experimental communities, o'neal also co-organized various events, hosting performances by magda, matthew dear, sammy dee, geoff white, jeff milligan, dan bell, dinky, and many others. his current occupations focus on running foundsound and unfoundsound records.

he comes from a musical family. his grandfather was a high school music teacher and also played bass with bill hailey and the comets. his father was also in various rock bands throughout the '50s and '60s.

since 1994, o'neal has been the force behind his ever-evolving, kitsch-driven electro-pop outfit, flowchart -- releasing dozens and dozens of albums, singles, eps and comp tracks on different labels from all over the world.

he holds several dj-residencies in philly and continues to spin and play live all around the country and world -- such as russia, argentina, chile, uruguay, spain, england, switzerland, germany, france, italy, slovakia, canada, and most major american cities.

when he's not making music or touring around the world, he writes part-time as a journalist for various music magazines and newspapers.

someone else: interview

words by Elly Rifkin

It has been over a year since Philadelphia-based Producer SOMEONE ELSE (aka Sean O'Neal) performed in Chicago. This month, Chicago will experience the latest incarnation of his Live PA on a truly PROPER sound system. A producer/performer/dj/remixer and label owner with one of the most agressive and exapnsive international touring schedules around, Sean has captivated crowds of thousands all over the world with live performances of his quirky yet percussive minimal techno.

1) What is your favorite U.S. city to play live for & Why? What is your favorite non-U.S. city to play live for & Why?

Different cities for various reasons. In the U.S., my answer to that usually would have been Butane's parties in St. Louis -- particularly the afterparties in his basement. But Butane moved to Berlin. His parties are still going, I think, but I have not played there in a while. Wolf & Lamb's parties in Brooklyn can be really special sometimes because they go all night, have a warehouse-kinda vibe, and these parties are the closest thing in the States to Europe's minimal parties, as far as I know. But of course, I would also have to say Philadelphia, simply because it's my hometown, and I am playing for my close friends. Abroad, my favorite places to play are Yellow in Tokyo because the crowd is totally insane and the sound is amazing, Fabric in London because the sound is really amazing, and Panorama Bar in Berlin because, well, I guess because this club is currently the mecca of the minimal techno world, and the crowd always shows it.

2) Do you have a favorite release or remix you have created?

Not really. I noticed that most people seem to like "Bedroom Eyes" and "Picture Perfect" and my remixes of Heartz4, Dan Curtin and Fusiphorm. But those are not really my personal faves. It's kinda lame to say, but I would have to say that the new tracks I made for my upcoming Foundsound album are my current faves. But as for older stuff, I find myself often re-listening to my remix of Butane for Alphahouse and my remix of Dublee for Mule Musiq. But I also really like some of the really early tracks that I did on Tuning Spork and Musik Krause. And "Ploosh" on Micrcosm is another I have good feelings about. I also am really proud of "Dee Gullah Go-Go" and "No Catfish (Whoop Whoop)" which I made with Miskate -- but only for listening purposes. But these tracks are so noisy that it's too frustrating to play them as a DJ. Oh, and I also think my remix of Fidget on Unfoundsound is quite special, but I have yet to receive a compliment for that one. It's not a dancey number, so maybe that's why. Or maybe it just sucks and I am an asswipe. What are we talking about again?

3) What makes the Foundsound label so unique and what we can expect from the label (musically) in the near future?

I guess our uniqueness is due to the fact that the music on Foundsound is made (at least in part) with found sounds and field recordings. For example, instead of using a traditional hi-hat, I (or whoever) might use a sample of a pencil dropping on the floor, or whatever. It's all about creating psychotropic dance music from sounds of everyday life. As for the future, I am releasing an album on Foundsound in May. After that, we continue to release singles like we always do -- from most of the same usual artists, plus one or two new ones (such as Easy Changes). And Miskate, Barem and Fusiphorm all have albums of their own in the works. But I am sure that will take some time.

4) What producers and/or musical styles have influenced your own productions over the years?

When I was really young, I was inspired by my grandfather to make music. He was a music teacher in a high school, and he played bass with Bill Hailey & The Comets. As I got older, I was addicted to The Beatles pretty much all throughout my childhood. In high school, I became a Cure fanatic. I even looked like them a bit. After high school, I was a die-hard fan of My Bloody Valentine -- followed by Stereolab. Then I got really into The Orb, Plastikman, Seefeel, and some others. (Bear in mind that I was doing my other musical project, Flowchart, at this time.) As I got more and more into techno and house, I was first really into the IDM stuff like Aphex Twin and Autechre. But this was quickly followed by the love for harder techno like Surgeon, Regis and Marco Carola. But once I was grounded in minimal techno by around 1998 (same year Jay Haze, Bjoern Hartmann and I launched Tuning Spork here in Philly), I was heavily into Matthew Herbert (particularly his Wish Mountain and Radio Boy stuff), as well as Theorem, Crane AK, Ricardo Villalobos, Steve O'Sullivan, Steve Bug, Robag Wruhme, and the list goes on. And these days, naturally I continue to be inspired by new artists -- such as Barem, Dilo, Seph, Gurtz, Omar Salgado, Dot, Massi DL, Miss Fitz, Hemmann & Kaden, Ben Parris, Dario Zenker, and this goes on and on. And house-wise, my influences range from Derrick Carter to the Freaks to Inland Knights.

6) What was your best performance experience? What was the worst? Most embarassing?

I am not really able to pinpoint one night as my "best" performance experience. But when people ask me that question, I usually tend to think about Yellow in Tokyo. Everything there was handled so professionally, and the sound was immaculate. And the crowd screamed so loudly during my set, that I could almost hardly hear my own music even though the sound was so loud already. And after I played, dozens of Japanese kids gathered around me and began poking, rubbing, and stroking my arms, back and face -- as if I was some sort of exhibit at a please-touch-me museum. As for bad experiences, these situations usually have something to do with bad sound. Italy and Spaiin often have bad sound systems even if the club has a lot of money behind it. Well, it's not the sound systems that are bad. It's just that they don't usually hire a soundman to handle it. (This is not always the case -- just often.) And once, in Milan, the sound was so bad and quiet and over-compressed that I had to stop the music three times and look for someone to fix it -- meanwhile, there are 1,000 people in front of me. They never fixed the sound. They had no idea what I was complaining about. They were way too coked up to even notice.

7) Who do you think will be some new producers and/or labels to watch in 2007?

I think all of these Argentinean producers are going to rise up even more this year. The good ones are really, really good. And people can't get enough of it. Aside from that, I am not sure which labels to look out for. The problem is, there are so many new labels popping up these days that have decent music, but nothing new to offer to this music "scene" or style. Much of it is the same stuff over and over, and I would much rather see labels do something slightly different than what the rest do (such as Catenaccio or even Microcosm). Much of the new labels put out the same shit that others release, and it's over-crowding a market that is at the same time rapidly dying out (vinyl-wise). I have to poop now.

past blackout events

*Please visit the media section to see Event Photos from previous Blackout parties.

January 25, 2007

  • with Jason Emsley: live (Los Angeles)
  • Siteholder Records artists Billy Dalessandro, Brian Ffar, & Daniel Mnookin
  • Kiddo
  • view flyer

December 21, 2006

  • with Punisher: live PA (Detroit)
  • Sassmouth
  • Sub K
  • Dirtybird
  • DJ Kiddo

November 30, 2006

  • with: Ben Parris
  • John Patterson vs. Shift
  • Enots vs. Kiddo
  • Sevron

October 19, 2006

  • with Ryan Elliott
  • Enots
  • Kiddo
  • SoandSo