Adding Listen Out to the long list of things Ta-Ku is up to, he still finds time to chat to us from his hometown, Perth. Between his beat making, #TeamCozy sneaker fetish, Create and Explore art project, HWLS, and now his barbershop venture, Ta-ku leaves little to the creative imagination, cruising almost every road untraveled.
It’s hard to keep up with all these ventures so here’s some insight if you’re feeling out of the loop! He describes Create and Explore as, “A conversation between mediums. From visual to auditory, beat makers are paired with photographers to create and explore the power of creative collaboration,” which for the poetically challenged, translates to awe-inspiring music videos supported by footage of landscapes from various artists. #TeamCozy is a hashtag to facilitate conversation between sneaker enthusiasts, who equally understand the importance of comfort with age. Also, be sure to check out his HWLS (a beautiful collaboration between himself and Kit Pop) remix of Seekae – Test and Recognise. As you will learn, he’s determined, kind hearted and most importantly, trendy as hell.
S.R: Is your ListenOut set live or a DJ set?
S.R: What equipment did you begin with versus now?
T: I’ve always used turntables, vinyl. I normally use Technics 1200
S.R: How do you find the crowds here compared to overseas?
T: The crowds here are great, probably the best in the world I think. The Australian audience are really enthusiastic and very supportive.
S.R: How’s your other project, ‘Create and Explore’ going? Can you tell me a bit about it. The videos I’ve seen are unreal.
T: Ah thanks. Okay I guess with the Create and Explore thing, I’ve always loved music videos. But I think I love it when photographers and videographers take their own footage and kind of put it with the music themselves. It kind of tells a lot about them, their personality and what they find appealing. 99% of the work on the website is done by other people and I just present it for them.
S.R: On that note, what do you think Create and Explore says about you as an artist?
T: I think it says a lot on what I’m passionate about. Most projects I take on are things I’m extremely passionate about and I love seeing. I like watching it unfold, and it’s inspiring for me to see photographers who may not be working for large companies, who start out on their own hustle and put out amazing work…and there’s a lot of them. It’s inspiring for me just to be creative and create music. I think it communicates definitely a creative side about me, but I think most of the project is about putting people, not on the map, but giving them a platform to play their work.
S.R: ‘Westons Barbershop,” opens up tomorrow, you must be excited.
T: Yep so the signs went up today, and tomorrow’s a big day.
S.R: Did you design the fit-out?
T: I’m involved with the aesthetics, the website and the instagram…and all things like that. Just making sure that the hard work that went into it is justified for people to see.
S.R: Are you personally going to cut anyone’s hair?
T: I think once my schedule starts to clear up, after the first album and stuff, then yeh I definitely want to, but not anytime soon.
S.R: What tunes can we expect to hear during a shampoo n’ rinse?
T: The barbers all have very eclectic taste and will play what they like but luckily we all have similar taste. So you know, hip hop will be at the forefront but I’ll chuck in some electronic stuff in there. I’ll put my influence in there don’t you worry.
S.R: Hair, music, photographing landscapes and a killer sneaker fashion sense. What’s next on the creative agenda?
T: I think food. Ive got some ideas already.
S.R: Maybe you can give Action Bronson a call.
T: Yeh yeh yeh haha
S.R: Are you thinking a restaurant, a food-tv series..?
T: I’m thinking like a hole in the wall. A tiny restaurant, but I haven’t decided yet.
S.R: Would you consider yourself a business man first and foremost?
T: The older I get I think so. I don’t want to take anything too seriously. But it’s becoming like that, it feels weird… but I guess so. I just like to do a lot of things and balance them out accordingly.
S.R: Everything you do is well refined and thought out; strategic but respectful.
T: I try and stay thoughtful because everything I put out represents me and I want to do it in the right way. But I think music will always be my number one passion but you never know, even that could change!
S.R: Yeh that’s true, you could be a chef in your next life! You’ve tackled some of our favorite artists such as JMSN, Banks and Flume. Who is next on the agenda to collab/remix?
T: Mmm I’m actually doing another song with JMSN which I was working on last night which I’m really excited about. But then, there’s some really interesting features on the album that I can’t really talk about. I’ll do it in a big way…I can’t wait to tell everyone.
S.R: Can you describe the Perth music scene?
T: The Perth music scene is great and has shaped me the way I am. It’s the reason I make the music the way I do. It’s a small knit community because everyone is for the music first and foremost. No real ego’s or competitions. Especially when I was making music a couple of years ago. There’s also a saying that goes, “There’s something in the water in Perth,” and I think that’s true. There always seems to be some cool creatives.
S.R: Someone so creative, busy and entrepreneurial as yourself, who do you look up to and why?
T: Joe Kay is a friend of mine from LA and he runs Soulection, the label I’m on. We talk a lot, he’s someone similar to me where like he’s very determined and passionate about what he does. I think anyone that’s passionate about what they do, they tend to want to spend some time together. I feel like it kind of rubs off and is motivating, talking and having a chat about what they do and why they do, their next moves and such.
S.R: What’s really grinds your teeth in the world?
T: I think being judgmental. If you don’t know someone’s general situation, and I don’t mean this in a general way, but if you don’t know 100% their story, what they’ve been through or are going through, you shouldn’t be able to speak badly on that person. I think if you keep that kind of rule, be good to everyone, you know. I think find your own business as well. Try and respect everyone and give everyone their due time and respect. Australia is a lot more easy going and it’s reflective in the non-judgmental atmosphere here.
S.R: Hip hop and Religion are an oxymoron. How do you balance both?
T: I think it’s all subjective to perspective. I agree with that statement in some sense, but it can vary in relatability depending on how you see things. Hip hop to me has always been a very personal thing. While people say hip hop can represent a lot of bad things, that can only occur if you look at those bad things. That’s why I have fallen in love with hop hip, I take everything in it’s own merit, and to me hip hop has always been about enjoying music. I think it can work with religion very easily, it can work with anything as long as you put up the right barriers and restrictions.
S.R: That’s true. They’re both about community.
T: Yeh most definitely.
S.R: What advice can you give to artists with great work, struggling to get it to the right channels to market it?
T: I think as cliche as it sounds, just do what you do best, have fun with it and just network. It took some time for my name to be anything, and I’m still working on it, each and everyday it doesn’t stop.
S.R: What do you think you did to reach your “breaking point?”
T: I think for me it was just basically connecting with people. You never know how someone you meet may be able to help you down the line. Not only that, I feel like if you’re good to people regardless of what your product is, they will remember you. I think naking good friends always helps. A lot of people think they don’t want to make it if they’ve been helped by someone, but that’s whats it’s about. No one creates a brand without reaching out, that’s what collaboration is all about. Don’t undermine the power of collaboration.
S.R: What involvement do you have with different labels?
T: So different labels is funny. I’ve put out music of HW&W and Soulection, and I belong to their label per se. But they’re more like family and friends and collectives for me. Labels for me is just like a house, you know? It’s just where you are, where you stay, who you associate yourself with. It’s not like oh my gosh you put something out on another label what about the other label; a label is a platform really. You can switch between different platforms and represent others. I always hold HW&W and Soulection in high regard, because it’s where I come from.
S.R: Labels have becomes a hot topic. A lot of tensions and politics rise when artists switch between them when really it he focus should be about celebrating the music which ever way it’s released.
T: I’s unnecessary. I’m still not a fan of the whole label offer – being apart of a label deal, but that’s just the way the industry works.
S.R: Have you reached all your goals?
S.R: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
T: I just want to be happy. Close to my friends, family and have a close support system and I’ll be fine.
S.R: What’s you go-to blog or website for inspiration?
T: To be honest, nba.com. I think fffffffound is a really good one. It’s just a tumblr of different creatives. That’s always a good one!
S.R: Thank you for your time. We’re all excited to see you at Listen out, it’s going to be an amazing festival. Best of luck with the barbershop opening tomorrow!
T: I’m also really excited for the festival, and thank you for the great interview! Please come say hi if you ever get your haircut in Perth.