An Interview with Ta-ku

This next edition of the 'After Dark Adventures' is a pretty special one. 2012 has been a pretty crazy year for The 5 to 9 Life. Not only did I get to do some travelling, but I also was introduced to some new Australian talent - musicians, beatmakers, artists, writers, athletes, and the list goes on. As a writer, I have been lucky enough to interview some of these people that I've been introduced to, and so I was very excited to have recently been given the opportunity to interview the talented Ta-ku.

The next instalment of the After Dark Adventures features a guy behind one of my favourite records of 2012! I’m not kidding. “REϟTWERK” was the first full-length record that I had heard from the Perth creative (Sadly, I was late on that bandwagon.) and it was definitely one of those records that I kept going back to – especially during my recent travels.

To be honest, it’s not a record that I would have listened to prior to 2012, but the samples and production was done so well that I wondered why I hadn’t been introduced to his work earlier.

To simplify: REϟTWERK puts me in a good mood every time I listen to it! And it was because of that particular record that made me want to know more about its creator: Ta-ku.

Ta-ku‘s music reminds me of a crispy, yet dusty, blend of beats that just sounds right. The Perth creative has soul written all over his sound – no matter how you categorise soul these days. It’s futuristic, funky and fresh. Hit up his bandcamp or Soundcloud and you’ll know exactly what the hell I’m rambling on about right now. Better yet, have his creative work streaming through your ears as you get to know him better via this interview…

1. Who exactly is Ta-ku?

My real name is Regan. I’m half Filipino and half Maori. I was born and raised in Perth, Australia. Moving back and forth between the two homelands. I have a full time job selling health insurance and make music to relax me. I enjoy it very much so.

2. What was your state of mind when you were creating “REϟTWERK”?

For as long as I can remember I’ve been a huge fan of bass music. Back when Crunk or even when Miami Bass had its wave. I find the rhythms and infectious tempo so energising and motivating. Hearing so much great music, it really inspired me to create my own. I’ve always experimented with different styles.

3. You’ve received mixed reviews for “REϟTWERK”. How did you feel when you read those that weren’t so positive?

To be honest, I appreciate all good and bad. When people take the time to listen to my music and tell me how it makes them feel – I feel very accomplished no matter what the outcome is.

Music for me has always been about taking that next step. Evolving. Criticism can only help that progress. I thrive on it.

4. I’m curious to learn more about the album artwork for “REϟTWERK”. Can you tell us who designed it and what it represents for you?

My design guy and I have a really good working relationship where we are always on the same page and agree on the same vibe etc. I approached Matt (Beaton) about having something simple, dark, striking and visually appealing. I wanted the artwork to make a statement that this project is a little different to what I normally do.

5. What is the difference between the music you create and the music you listen to?

It’s very different at times! I can’t listen to the music I make – otherwise I would go insane! Haha.

So normally I listen to a lot of neo-soul – like Eric Roberson, Erykah Badu and Dwele. At times I will listen to a lot of score like Jon Brion, Thomas Newman & Goldmund. When I’m in my car with my little sister, I will play a lot of Trap haha. She loves Baauer, Hudmo etc..

6. What do you want your fans to take away when they listen to your music?

Ultimately, I just hope they FEEL it and it speaks to them, you know? I know it sounds cliché, but I just hope it makes people happier.

7. What can you tell us about Sunday Records?

Sunday Records is something I’ve been wanting to start for a long time. I know a lot of beatsmiths who are either just starting up or are really sadly slept on for whatever reason. I wanted to start a collective which gives them a platform to have their music heard and appreciated.

8. If you could create the perfect mixtape for your 5 to 9 life, who would be featured on it?

Shigeto, Dimlite, Hazel, Foreign Exchange, Dilla, Goldmund, Jon Brion, Dwele, Blind Faith, Stevie Wonder, Baauer, Hudmo, and Teddy Pendergrass.

9. Pay it forward: what’s the best advice you’ve received that you would be happy to share with others?

I guess just never forget to have FUN. Music for me has always been a hobby and something I do to relax or reflect.

Even though it’s a huge passion of mine, I don’t take it too seriously and always remember to enjoy what I do – never making it a stress or burden. Keeping a level head and connecting with like-minded folk can be really helpful too!

10. What are you currently working on, and where do you hope to be within the next 5 years?

Working on quite a few things at the moment!

EP’s with Miles Bonny and another with Suff Daddy. Releasing an EP with Live For The Funk Blog. I have a 12″ of instrumentals coming out very soon on Jakarta Records, and a lot more that I will reveal very soon.

In five years, I just want to be happy – no matter what I’m doing.

Keep up with Ta-ku via Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, and bandcamp.

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