Anyone that holds an interest in urban music and culture could rattle off the names of the most prolific collectives. A$AP MOB, Odd Future and Wu-Tang Clan to name but a few for good measure. They take many different forms and can be a hotbed for high-quality content.

We believe that Ireland is on the cusp of developing a diverse and unique urban scene. It has been for years. Collectives are focal points for forming this culture as well as developing its ability to gain recognition on both a national and international level. The music that we listen to at their parties will become the Irish sound and the clothes that we see worn will become synonymous with Irish Streetwear. This carries over for every aspect of slang, media and more. 

These collectives are taking the major building blocks and creating something that is greater than the sum of its parts. Through meticulous planning and execution, they have been driven to the forefront and rightfully so. It’s mainly passion that makes them so successful. Although, aesthetic could be argued to be the most important part of any collective, as they are essentially a brand. So, when you see gritty shots of the incredibly cool at some party that you probably didn’t know was happening, you can be almost certain that it was ran by 999. However, what exactly is 999? What is it that they are doing and why are they doing it? We decided to find out more through a Q&A with one of its founding members, SiletJee.

What is 999?
“999 is an art collective and ‘treat everything like an emergency’ is our slogan. Just a group of creative boys doing stuff we like, and we take pride in saying that we do everything ourselves whether it be graphics, artistic direction, music etc.”

When was 999 formed?
“999 was formed in 2018”

Where did the name 999 come from?
“The name 999 essentially came from a tweet I shared and I was gonna use for a T-shirt, ‘TREAT EVERYTHING LIKE AN EMERGENCY’. I’ve always wanted to start a collective, so straight away the 999 clicked.”

Who are the members and what do each of them do?
“The members besides me are Julius, Fortune Lago, Tadhg, Aaron, Tofi and Lukey. Nobody has roles, I feel like that’s the whole point of an art collective. We ARE the DIY kids for real. Everyone does a bit of everything whether it’s DJing, to graphic design, to photography. Everyone does anything they feel essentially.”

The 999 crew and friends

How did you all meet?
“We all met through Instagram as we’re all kinda from the same scene.”

What inspired you to start 999?
“Many factors. However, we felt like there was no collective/art collective that was as diverse in different areas within Ireland in general. For example, when it comes to music and the actual members you can see how diverse we are.”

What does TELAE mean?
“TELAE means ‘TREAT EVERYTHING LIKE AN EMERGENCY’.

How would you describe the sounds curated by 999?
“Sounds curated by 999 is an idea I have for the future, but I can’t go in depth about the idea.”

What’s been your biggest achievement or favourite event so far? 
“I honestly don’t know, I’m proud of all of our achievements equally.”

Siobhan Bell on the decks during 999’s party in The Mezz

How do we cop some of your mech and do you have more on the way?
“For merch, just be ready when we drop. It’s for us, by us, so everything has to be limited. Yeah, we have more on the way, so keep your eyes peeled for that.”

What’s your plans for 2020?
“I can’t talk too much on that, but 2020 is gonna be a good year.”

From the above answers, it is clear that groups such as 999 enable like-minded individuals to meet and share ideas. They foster new connections in an organic manner that may not have been attainable otherwise. We are at a very exciting time. Soon, Ireland will have its own urban landscape with artists, bangers, beefs, styles and lingo. While this could of course come without the help of 999, you’d be a fool to disregard the launchpad that they are putting in place. Expect to see much more from them this year as they continue to pave the way.