What The Heck Is An Aroma Jockey?

James Drury
By James Drury Last edited 69 months ago
What The Heck Is An Aroma Jockey?

"Aroma jockey" Gwen Vollering brews up some olfactory accompaniments.

This weekend, multi-sensory club night Sencity promises to give 2,000 clubbers not just music but a full-on evening of touch, taste, sound, sight and smell. This will be achieved thanks to a small army of specialists laying on light and sound, a vibrating floor and experiential input from food and aroma jockeys. It's only the second time this event has come to the UK... wait, hang on, "aroma jockeys"? If like us, you're wondering what that entails, don't worry, we sniffed one out for you and then got nosy with Sencity's Gwen Vollering:

So what does an aroma jockey actually do?

We mix smells to music which is being played in real-time at clubs and concerts.

How does that work?

Before the show we analyse the music which is to be played then match smells to the mood of the music. So, for an up-tempo track we might use mint; or if it's a happy tune we might use flowers. It's a bit easier when you have a live band, as they already know in advance what their set is going to be, but a DJ might change their set according to the crowd. The whole experience is overseen by a sense director, who co-ordinates all the light, sound, smells, vibrations and tastes (people are given a 'taste pack' of six flavours on entry).

How do you disseminate the smells to the crowd?

We have a technique to produce steam and mix oils into that, blowing it out into the crowd using huge fans.

What's the point of it all?

Music is one way to stimulate an emotion, but so is smell, taste, sight; we wanted to create a multi-sensory event, which takes an ordinary club night out and super-charge the emotional content. The original idea of Sencity came a decade ago, from a desire to create a music and dance experience for deaf people. But as more and more people heard about it, it began to attract people from all backgrounds. Now we get all kinds of people and do shows all over the world. As well as the music, Guerilla Science will run events guiding the audience around a scientific adventure of the senses, and food scientist Dr Rachel Edwards-Stuart will show how our sense of taste can be fooled, using a variety of edible demos and experiments.

Sencity takes place on 24 October (Drum 'n' Bass — featuring Fabio b2b Grooverider, DJ Bailey and more) & 25 October (gipsy funk with Rumpsteppers & Barking Bateria), at Oval Space, E2 9DT.

Last Updated 22 October 2014