Saturday Night Session 010: Set Mo talks the creative journey behind their debut album and explain why they will only be seen wearing black and white
Few moments are more sacred than the reprieve Saturday night provides from the daily grind of school and work. Its importance is meant to be emphasized, and thus, a feature dedicated to “doing the night right” was born. Saturday Night Sessions are set around energizing mixes meant to get the party started. New or old, each episode has one cornerstone thing in similarity: they serve as the perfect backdrop for the weekend pregame.
Australian bred Nick Drabble and Stu Turner were up and coming DJs in 2012 who found themselves performing the same show bills over and over as they made their foray into the electronic music scene. As they continued to perform at the same events, Turner and Drabble began to find that their musical sounds were so complimentary, that they decided to come together to form DJ group Set Mo. The rest is history, and the group is finally out with their debut album as Set Mo titled Surrender.
Their release strategy for the singles from the album has been unconventional, but without the help of a label to back the album, unconventional can sometimes be the way to go. On the first Friday of every month in 2018, Drabble and Turner released one single from the album, giving each song a dedicated month to be heard by fans. They spoke on their release strategy, noting, “the music was so varied and quite different to the singles we’d released prior, and we were worried that a lot of the tracks would be overlooked.” They continued, “Also in this age of streaming, we thought giving each track a full month with its own spotlight would give them the best opportunity to be added to playlists and ultimately heard by as many people as possible.” The album is out now in full, and its reception has been positive thanks to the diverse collection of releases that also infuse Set Mo’s self-proclaimed ‘Australian-ness’ into the body of work.
Another interesting quirk of the duo is that one is always outfitted in all white while the other is always outfitted in all black. Instead of this being a publicity gimmick, they have a worthy story about the origin of their outfit choices, which begins with them heading over to P. Diddy‘s Miami Music Week afterparty. They explain, “We got up at the crack of dawn to head over to his place and initially felt underdressed, so we decided to go all black and all white as we felt it was a strong look.” They continue, “Somehow we talked our way in and figured it must have been due to our attire, so we have rolled with it ever since. We also like it as it kind of represents night and day, black and white, yin and yang. It just feels right.”
Set Mo crafted a groovy Saturday Night Session to get the evening going, and as opposed to hard drops and hectic energy, the mix is the perfect selection of tracks that “make you wanna dance around the house flicking your wrist while ironing your shirt/putting on your party dress and sipping the first margarita of the night.”
When did you decide your release strategy was going to be to release a song on the first Friday of every month?
It was the end of 2017, and we’d just returned from 5 weeks of writing music in Europe. We were sitting on about 30 tracks that we would happily release. We straight away thought about an album, but the music was so varied and quite different to the singles we’d released prior, and were worried that a lot of the tracks would be overlooked. Also in this age of streaming, we thought giving each track a full month with it’s own spotlight would give them the best opportunity to be added to playlists and ultimately heard by as many people as possible. We were a bit cheeky, however, as we always intended to wrap it all up as an album, so it’s a real pleasure to be able to share Surrender in it’s entirety with everyone.
You release all of your music independently. Has this proven to be difficult? Have you ever considered turning to a label for support?
We were actually signed to a label for a few years, and it was great. We learned a lot, and it was awesome to have that support then. We actually became independent by accident. We put out a song while we were renegotiating our label deal. The track did really well, and it made us reassess what it was we wanted from a label. We decided to stay independent, and it’s been a pretty wild ride. It’s definitely been challenging at times, but we’ve learned so much, and it’s also been super rewarding.
You have produced songs from this album in cities spanning from Berlin and London to Sydney and LA. How has the city you have produced a track in impacted the sound/track itself.
It definitely has! We love traveling and getting immersed in the places we visit from everything including the food, music, people, architecture and art. It all has an impact on our mindset and the music we make, sometimes more obviously than others.
Can you tell us why one of you always wears black and the other always wears white?
Well… funny story, we were in Miami a few years back and somehow found ourselves invited to Diddy’s house for his annual Miami Music Week afterparty. We got up at the crack of dawn to head over to his place and initially felt underdressed so we decided to go all black and all white as we felt it was a strong look. Somehow we talked our way in and figured it must of been due to our attire so have rolled with it ever since. We also like it as it kind of represents night and day, black and white, yin and yang. Just feels right.
Can you tell us more about your ‘Australian-ness’? Do explain to us non-Australian folk
Bloody oath mate. Haha. Don’t exactly know what you mean as it’s hard to describe Australian-ness when it’s all you’ve ever known. A lot of the cliches are true. We love beer, BBQ often and spend lots of time at the beach.
What does it feel like to finally have your album Surrender out in full?
It’s an incredible feeling! After 2 years of non stop hard work going into it, there’s a huge sense of relief in knowing we’ve done all we can for it. Now go and listen to it pretty please. ;)
Do each of you have a certain track off of the album that you particularly connect with?
It’s too hard to say, it’s like asking to pick your favourite child! Here are a few our current favs in no particular order (these are always changing): “Fault Lines,” “Woodburn,” “Counter Human Emotion,” and “Bergamot.”
What kind of a Saturday Night is your mix going to get us ready for?
This mix is full of straight up grooves. Songs to put a smile on your face. We didn’t put any emphasis on playing stuff that’s brand new but rather just a strong selection of tracks that make you wanna dance around the house flicking your wrist while ironing your shirt/putting on your party dress and sipping the first margarita of the night. Enjoy.