Behind the well-known name of Ta-Ku hides a simple and humble guy Reggie Matthews from Perth, Australia. While he has established a strong and distinctive identity for himself with exceptionally atmospheric audio pieces, Reggie doesn’t limit himself to creating only music. Llamas Valley gets in touch with a creative artist who constantly experiments with different mediums to tell persuasive stories.
Do you remember your very first interview? What was it about?
I don’t really know if I can remember my very first interview. The first ones must have been published in the Australian blogs… I think one of the first interviews appeared in a magazine “Acclaim” and it was about my music, they ways I was creating it, also about Perth. Actually it was something around year 2006!
So it’s almost ten years ago!
Yes, exactly. I’m getting old (laughs)
What things are you mostly occupied with right now? Maybe with a new EP?
Right now I’m actually writing my album, but there are also many photography projects going on as well as other businesses that I’m involved in which require my time. I’m also very much occupied with my barbershop.
You’re constantly trying to challenge yourself in different mediums. You create music, you photograph, you write – how do you cultivate creativity, how do you stay full of ideas?
I am always more or less conscious about being busy in a creative way and making sure that I’m inspired. I just tend to do a lot of things at once and see how much I can do (laughs). I definitely want to be as creative as much as I can and, of course, while I can. There are so many amazing people all over the world who inspire me greatly and it helps.
Each of one of your tracks exudes particular emotion. Do all of them come from your personal experience?
Yes, for sure. The EPs that I have come up with are surely made from the things I’ve gone through myself. It’s not easy to talk about those things or put them out there, but I find that it helps me to process the ideas, thoughts and feelings that I have. It’s funny to see other people identify with those projects that I create. I believe there are feelings and situations that maybe all of us have experienced and it’s nice to know that others can see that in my work.
Why do you think your music appeals to people?
It’s hard to say. I’ve always made music that sounds kind of good to me, the kind of music which I’d be proud to put out. Finding out that people identify with my music makes me extremely happy. That’s probably because they share the same taste together with me, but as I mentioned previously, I guess people find something close to them in my creations. I like to keep my music full of emotion and tell stories with my songs.
If you like telling stories, is this the main reason why you mix different mediums – for example, present an interview describing your songs or publish photos, which accompany your creations?
I definitely like explaining things more than rather than just keeping them. Personally, when I hear a song, I really want to know what are the things behind it – what is the story, what is the song about. I find these things really interesting. This is exactly what I try to give to people who support me – a sincere insight into my work. It explains the way I do things. I’m sure it lets me communicate with my listeners as well as gives a possibility to find out more about myself.
A song that you used as a sample for “I miss you” (“Summer fling” by Melodic Chaotic) triggered to create a whole EP “Songs to break up to”. What are the other things that encourage you to create?
For me, love in general is what really motivates me. All types of love, specifically for those that I’m close to: my family, my friends. And, of course, romantic love is also very special.
When it comes to creating a mix, I always try to create a particular mood. I want the listener to be able to feel it and to be in the special place that I try to put him in. For example, for the “Flight” mixes the main factor, of course, was traveling. I sought to create something, which would be nice to listen while traveling, something atmospheric. I want people to react to my music and make them feel certain way about it.
Have you heard any interesting interpretations of your music?
I’ve heard people interpret my music in really untraditional ways, for example even in orchestral pieces. I really love when people remix my music because it gives me a fresh view on it.
Where do you see the value of music? Is it the medium you like the most?
I’m not really sure. Right now, I identify myself very much with photography. Visual branding is really what I’m in love with but that’s not to say it may not change. Music has always had and will always have a special place for me because of its sentimental value. It represents irreplaceable memories – songs remind me of certain places, times, moments.
When did you start photographing?
I think it was a year and a half ago. I was in Japan and my friends encouraged me to buy a camera so I did that and the rest is history (laughs). I really enjoy it.
In an audio journal of “Songs to make up to”, you mention that the EP was created during the period of self-discovery. What have you learnt during the period and how have all the experiences contributed to the making of the EP?
I think that the period of self-discovery translated into appreciating of what I do. I used to push myself to create as much music as I could and continuously upload things on Soundcloud, but taking a step away from everything was a good thing. I simply took a chance to create some space between me and my creations. It let me check if I’m capable to be creative in other forms, not only music. It was exactly the time when photography came in.
What things make you happy?
Family definitely makes me happy. Being in love, being close to family, treating people well and having people treat me well, traveling… These things also make me happy.
In one of your interviews, you mentioned that it’s important not to take yourself too importantly, but is it actually possible to stay humble in the world of creativity where you must have a distinct identity, when you’re trying to become seen and heard?
I think it is. I find it hard to value someone’s work if they’re horrible as people and don’t treat others well. Life in general is more important for me than music or art. Focusing on temporary things, such as followers, is useless – it passes.
You mentioned that you’re writing an album. Could you reveal some more details?
I’m still kind of figuring out what direction it might take. The only thing I can say that it will be out next year.
What advise could you give to stay creative?
The most important thing is talking and collaborating with people you get along with, who you appreciate and respect. It leads to creating good vibes with people you work with and together with that, all the other good things come. I believe that when you create a thing which speaks for itself, it finds the way to touch other people. Just make sure you’re working hard and you’re making something that you’re proud of.