We talk to the minds behind the incoming Bright Futures events, creative agency Pretty Soon
After hustling across the fields of music, photography, advertising and graphic design separately, Perth boys Ben Wright and Regan Mathews (aka producer Ta-ku) have put their heads together to launch their own creative agency Pretty Soon. The duo’s medium spanning approach and unique aesthetics has made them noticed by brands like Nike and Puma and now with their latest collaboration, Red Bull Music.
Over November and December, Pretty Soon and Red Bull Music are linking up for an event series to send the year off on a high note with the help of Australia’s best up and coming music talents. Red Bull Music presents: Bright Futures boasts live performances and sets from local legends Basenji, Pond, Kota Banks, Kilter, Kaiit and Ninajirachi, bringing curated lineups to Newcastle, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.
Along with selecting the artists across the lineups, the Pretty Soon agency will be creating a feast for the eyes as well as the ears, with the duo working on bespoke visuals to build an immersive experience. Before the series launches towards the end of the month we got a chance to talk to Regan and Ben about how the agency started, their place in the music landscape and what to expect at Bright Futures.
What made you two come together to start Pretty Soon?
Ben: Well, we’ve known each other since we were teenagers and we both went in different directions. Reggie went into music with Ta-ku and I went into that world of design, branding and advertising. At some point, Reggie started to get involved in the visual side of his creativity as well, there started to be an overlap where we thought “maybe we should start our own thing and see what happens”. A year ago seemed like the right time to come together, I had been overseas and started freelancing in Perth where Reggie was already very settled and we were like “lets just dive in headfirst and see where this takes us”. The two of us are interested in all aspects of creativity from branding, design, advertising, experiences, products, music and film. The first project we did together was for the Nike Air House installation in Melbourne, and we just wanted to dive in headfirst and have fun with it. We’ve already worked with a handful of other clients since then and we’re excited to see where else we can go.
Was that what you set out to do at the start? Be a team of all rounder creatives?
Regan: Ben and I didn’t even know how to let people know what we do, because we didn’t want to restrict ourselves or pigeonhole ourselves with what we’re capable of as a team. We didn’t know what was going to come our way either, whether it be the more traditional marketing and branding creative direction stuff or if it be would be film, video or photography. Now we’ve been up and running for about 7 months and there’s been a wide array of things, like this Red Bull collaboration which has been really amazing to be honest.
How did the Red Bull Music collab come about?
Reggie: Ben and I have both had contact with Red Bull Music in our individual careers, so when we started Pretty Soon we went all the way back through our rolodexes and told our contacts we’re starting up a creative agency. Red Bull Music is one of those companies that has such a stellar reputation when it comes to culture and music, when they had this national event series and they came to us for the creative direction, it was a dream job for us really.
So far the posters and lineup curation is all we’ve seen of Pretty Soon’s input for the Bright Future events, is there anything else you’ve created for the night for the punters to see?
Ben: A really big part of the Bright Future party series is the live visuals and making them complement the amazing music on the nights. We’re feverishly working away to create some really amazing live visuals that build on the world we created for the campaign.
What were you keeping in mind as you curated the lineup for the parties?
Reggie: As Ta-ku I’ve done shows with Red Bull Music Presents a couple of times over my career and a lot of my musical peers have worked with them too. We just wanted to fall in line with Red Bull’s tradition of putting on forward thinking musical performances with breaking artists, and there’s no shortage of those in Australia. There’s so many great local acts right now so it was pretty easy, also Red Bull already have a really good history of working with these kinds of artists so everything really fell into place.
What’s the driving concept behind the Bright Future events series?
Ben: The event series launch will be timed around the end of uni so we wanted to create an identity for it that speaks to that feeling where exams are ending, a breaks coming and there’s something to look forward to. Really represent that idea of a bright future, and not knowing what the future may hold but having a certain optimism in what’s around the corner. These visuals we’re creating play with that idea about what the future may hold especially when it comes to technology and nature and how those things may combine. The beauty of working with a team like Red Bull Music is they’re open to ideas that are a bit out there and a bit experimental visually as well as musically, so it’s been really great working with a client like that.
What can punters expect walking into your events all over the country?
Reggie: We didn’t really want to take too much away from the music on the night, but rather just compliment with stunning visuals. When you come to see these musical performances you can take in the top class music acts and also fall into this visual world which is centred around those four creatures we’ve created for the marketing. Visually you’ll dive into these worlds and into the textures, kind of like a musical and visual journey. We think it’ll be a little different in terms of the generic club night visual, we’re working hard to make sure the visuals are catered specifically for this series and deliver something highly conceptual that people can easily recognise and remember when they walk away.
What is it about your team and your work that sets you apart from the rest of the industry?
Reggie: That we’ll just do anything for money (laughs) but I wouldn’t say Ben and I are overly cynical, we like to talk about the general landscape of the creative industry in terms of like music which I’m more familiar with, in the design and creation of assets especially with social media. We’re trying to do something different and create things that have a longer shelf life than just on people’s Instagram feed, we want to make things that people remember and make things that sit outside the norm. I know it’s a cliche but it’s something we feel it’s within our capabilities to do that, and a lot of the work we’ve gotten recently, we really feel like we’ve extended it to places where it’s a little bit different and holds people’s attention.
We’re definitely still young and wanting to do a lot more, but in the first 6 months of us being open for business it’s been pretty full on. We’re blessed to be in that position and I think just this Red Bull Music collaboration was like this perfect creative work we want to be doing.
Ben: I’d like to think we’re definitely found a groove and what we’re good at. Pretty Soon, for us, is about experimenting and pushing ourselves, making stuff we’re proud to say that we made. Jobs like this Bright Futures event series are really pushing us out of our comfort zone and we’re doing a lot of creative things at once to bring something together, but that’s what we set out to do in the first place.
Where do you guys see yourself fitting in the music side of the industry?
Reggie: All the creative work that we do goes hand and hand with music and we’re very audio visual driven, we think music adds so much to what we do.
Given my musical background as well while I’m trying to make Pretty Soon it’s own entity, not relying on anything else but to build a great creative agency, the music industry will always be something we’d love to help a hand to facilitate any creative direction or art direction that an artist might want or a label might want or for instance Red Bull Music might want. I guess we’re like facilitators of that side of the industry.
Ben: I think something that gives us a bit of perspective is Reggie’s history being an artist himself, we know what they’re looking for when it comes to creative directing and artworks. There’s opportunities for us to get more involved there too which we’re very excited about!
Describe the vibe of the Bright Future parties in just 5 words
Optimistic, Futuristic, Mesmerizing, Possibility, prettysoon.co
RED BULL MUSIC PRESENTS: BRIGHT FUTURES
MUSIC CURATED BY TA-KU & RED BULL MUSIC
CREATIVE DIRECTION BY PRETTY SOON
Saturday, November 17
Kilter (Live), Kota Banks, Hi Life
The Newcastle Hotel, Newcastle
Grab your tickets here.
Thursday, November 22
Kaiit, Billy Davis, 30/70
Yah Yah’s, Melbourne
Grab your tickets here.
Friday, November 23
Basenji, Ninajirachi, Skin On Skin
The Empire Hotel, Brisbane
Grab your tickets here.
Wednesday, December 5
Pond, ZĀN, Racoo
Friday’s Studio, Perth
Grab your tickets here.
Image by Pretty Soon
Words by HOLLY O’NEILL