Get to know SETTINGS˚ with an exclusive mix and Q+A.
SETTINGS˚ is an art-directed event showcasing emerging Sydney R’n’B/Rap/Hip-Hop DJ’s and music producers, combining influences from contemporary fashion culture, photography and design. Its run exclusively by a group of Sydney based creatives, each specializing in a specific artistic discipline to create a cohesive product. Read on for more and an exclusive mix for MADE.
How and why did you get started on the SETTINGS˚ project?
Before coming together, we all had a similar vision to create a unique representation of the culture we love, where we could express ourselves as individuals whilst executing our ideas within an aesthetic framework. Whether it’s hosting events, image creation, sound production, working with film or product design, we wanted to create a platform where we could deliver projects under a single code or format.
We also felt there was a massive space within Sydney for young, like-minded people who share the same vision as us to create something that represents our city on a global scale.
Where does the name originate?
The name comes from a number of influences, but was a word us our extended group of friends used in everyday life as a slang term when we’d be out in Sydney.
We feel it represents so many factors and influences within contemporary society – the connection the word has to place and our current situation, the digital connotations associated with our generation’s affinity with the Internet and social media, as well as it’s connections to culture within British grime and the extended association with rap and hip-hop. It represents our current situation and the circumstances that surround us.
What’s the best and worst thing about your home city Sydney, Australia?
We love our city – Sydney is an incredible place. There are certainly positives and negatives to living here though.
In terms of things that are holding it back, the fact we are so isolated can make it tough in terms of non-digital collaborations, it’s also led to people being less open minded to change or new ideas. In recent times we have also had to face unnecessary political interference, with restrictive laws placed on our nightlife causing a severe loss of cultural events and spaces. Although these difficulties do exist, we have been inspired to transcend these influences in our creative expression and hope many others are able to do the same in their chosen fields.
I feel the positives certainly outweigh the negatives, especially within Sydney’s vibrant youth culture. The city today feels incredibly untapped in many ways, which creates a perfect baseline for young people to express their ideas. Despite some of the difficult circumstances Sydney’s residents are subject to culturally, there is a thriving underground creative scene filled with young people expressing new ideas and ways of thinking.
What are you working on right now?
We’re currently working on delivering a pretty special event that will be hosted in an unorthodox event space over the coming summer months. The key thing we aim to do is ensuring we have complete control of the spaces that we work with, so we can encapsulate our complete vision, rather than simply placing DJ decks in a bar/club. It has to feel art-directed and everything has to communicate.
We’re also continuing to develop our overall brand so we can begin exploring other creative avenues. When the timing is right.
Who influences you creatively?
We are inspired by people who take risks – those who push boundaries in their respective fields, whilst remaining true to their own personal values and aesthetic.
There are so many people across a number of creative mediums we look up to – Jamie Hawkesworth in the photography world; Dexter Navy’s videography; Stevie Dance and her styling and image creation. However two that come to mind instantly are Samuel Ross and Virgil Abloh – two huge influences of ours that continuously inspire our ways of thinking.
Where are your favorite places to shop in Sydney?
Supply Store in Surry Hills have held things down in Sydney for a number of years and have stayed extremely loyal to those who are skateboarding purists, so it’s tough to look past them. We are also huge fans of the work Subtype Store are currently involved with. Sydney’s streetwear and contemporary fashion scene is sadly far behind a number of key cities in the world, however Subtype are gradually starting to recognize the potential in some of these unheralded labels which deserve recognition and attention.
Where do you look for inspiration in the city?
The architecture of the inner city suburbs of Surry Hills, Redfern and Newtown are definitely an underrated aspect of Sydney and definitely inspire our aesthetic. Ultimately our biggest inspirations are the people who surround us. We are very fortunate to be surrounded by a number of extremely talented young people in Sydney, who are pushing boundaries and putting out incredible work and ideas. This is what inspires us most.
What are your most played tracks right now?
We’ll each give you one:
A$AP Mob – Money Man (The video as well)
AJ Tracey – Wifey Riddim
Travis Scott – Way Back
Who is killing it right now in Australia’s creative scene that we should know about?
Our close friend and collaborator Yi Ng (@_norm_), a freelance stylist is doing incredible things and is destined to produce amazing work in the very near future. Keep your eyes wide open.
What is the world sleeping on?
What living in the city has taught us, particularly in recent times, is that people need to value and appreciate the massive benefits that the arts bring to society.
Our culture is who we are and we’ve got to make sure we protect it and ensure we provide continual support to those who work in creative fields. It’s generally the last thing to be considered politically. We’ve seen the effects of this first hand here in Sydney, where some of Sydney’s most iconic venues have been forced to close due to restrictions on Sydney’s nightlife and culture, for extremely questionable motivations.
Overall it’s something we are passionate about both individually and collectively, and we will continue to share this notion whenever we get the chance.
What can we expect from you next?
Creativity within a number of fields – a significant voice for our city.