“Music is my healer,” Ta-Ku said of his new album Songs to Come Home To, “I try to keep it in my heart.”
The list of credits to Ta-Ku’s name is as starry as it is inspirational. Since his breakout album with 2013’s Songs to Break Up To, the Perth-born musician and producer has collaborated with a slew of musicians from the Wafia-assisted (m)edian, to Masego, and Chet Faker, and booked coveted spots on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert and triple j’s Like a Version.
In between, Ta-Ku has embarked on worldwide tours spanning Los Angeles to the Sydney Opera House, all while expanding his creative pursuits as a creative director and photographer, with exhibitions in Melbourne and Tokyo.
This stacked itinerary doesn’t even account for Ta-Ku’s string of digital beat and EP releases stretching back to 2011, his compilation album, and his spearheading of the online bedroom producer initiative, The Hopes & Dreams Listening Club.
As if that wasn’t enough, Ta-Ku is poised to release his eighth studio album, Songs to Come Home To, on August 25. In anticipation of the album, Happy Mag caught up with Ta-Ku for a deep-dive into his artistry, collaborations, and the “full-circle moment” that is Songs to Come Home to.
HAPPY: What are you up to today?
TA-KU: Trying to make my wife lunch while still staying relevant on TikTok and IG reels. LOL. True story.
HAPPY: Tell us about where you are from? What’s the music scene like in your neck of the woods?
TA-KU: I’m from Perth – the most liveable city in the world. The music scene is incredible and births a lot of forward thinking musicians. We also love our mums alot.
HAPPY: Describe an average day?
TA-KU: I run a creative agency called Pretty Soon out here. So it’s pretty busy. So everyday is a creative one. Music is my healer. I try to keep it in my heart as much as I can. My wife and cat and dog are also my daily life and heart.
HAPPY: What about your ultimate day?
TA-KU: Anytime I can spend with family is pretty great tbh.
HAPPY: What did you listen to growing up that fuelled your passion for music?
TA-KU: My cousin had this two huge cd folders that I used to borrow and listen to hours on end. It was filled with a lot of 90’s Hip-Hop and R&B. I really really wanted to be the 11th member of the Wu Tang Clan when I was 12. I even had a name – DJ REGGIE REG. Rough.
HAPPY: Congratulations on the upcoming release of your album “Songs To Come Home To”! Can you tell us more about the concept behind this project and how it fits into your ‘Songs To’ series?
TA-KU: This debut album is a celebration. A full-circle moment. An opportunity for me to express myself in the most complete way as an artist. A culmination of my musical & visual journey over the last decade.
It really wraps up the series with a feeling of calm and contentment. It’s like a homecoming for me.
HAPPY: “Songs To Come Home To” explores themes of identity, family, and nostalgia. How did you approach translating these emotions and experiences into your music?
TA-KU: I worked very closely with my good friend Matt McWaters who co-executive produced the entire album with me. We are so similar musically and have the same sensibilities and taste.
He’s amazing. We worked remotely – I was here in Perth while he was in Toronto. Converting feeling into records is what we do quite well.
HAPPY: Collaborations seem to be a significant aspect of your album, with a diverse range of artists joining you. How did you go about selecting these collaborators, and what do you believe each one brought to the project?
TA-KU: Yeah – the album features some of today’s most exciting new artists, as well as returning collaborators, all of whom I deeply admire. It’s really my most ambitious project to date.
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Some friends I just reached out and asked if they’d like to be involved. Others I really put myself out there and slid into the DM’s haha. Overall I’m so grateful for everyone who was part of the project.
They all bring their own unique art & soul to the project. Which is really what most home’s or families are about. This project is less about me & more about… us.
HAPPY: “SMILE” is the first single off the album, featuring Xavier Omär, DAISY WORLD, and ROMderful. Could you delve into the creative process behind this track and how it sets the tone for the rest of the album?
TA-KU: Smile – like most songs came together really organically. ROMderful had an amazing demo that he sent over & me and Matt went in and added some extra magic.
I was introduced to Daisy Worlds music through a friend and fell in love with her art immediately.
I also was a long time admirer of Xaviers work and love his work too. In my head something told me they’d make a great pairing – and they really did. Teamwork always makes dreams work!
My hero! https://t.co/N7cMkdxH5U
— Ta-ku (@TakuBeats) June 8, 2023
HAPPY: As the concluding piece in the ‘Songs To’ trilogy, how does “Songs To Come Home To” represent a culmination of your artistic journey and evolution as an artist?
TA-KU: It’s definitely a more rounded and polished output. It’s a true indication of the music I love making but also I love listening to. Sometimes it’s hard to feel pressure to make music for outside influences or trends. This project just feels like me.
HAPPY: Your concept of “home” appears to be fluid, encompassing physical spaces, romantic partners, communities, and self-taught passions. How did you navigate the exploration of these themes while creating the album?
TA-KU: Home is everything. It’s literally in everything. Because it makes who we are over the course of our life. I just wanted to bring those various themes from my life into the music.
Which meant leaning on others to help tell that story. It’s a complex fabric. I love having so many collaborators. It just means much richer stories.
HAPPY: With a range of emotions and ideas interwoven throughout the album, what do you hope listeners will take away from “Songs To Come Home To” once they’ve experienced it in its entirety?
TA-KU: I want them to feel safe. I want them to feel like its okay. I want them to feel love. I want them to feel the nostalgia of having their heart attached to a place they call home – whatever that may be and show appreciation for it.
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HAPPY: The pursuit of happiness, stability, and love is a prevalent theme in the album. Can you share some personal experiences or inspirations that led you to explore these topics through your music?
TA-KU: My family. My mum. My wife. These are all constants in my life that keep me alive. Keep me strong. Keep me sane. Keep me normal haha. Without them I’m nothing. This is my constant inspiration for everything I do and every decision I make.
HAPPY: Lastly, what makes you happy?
TA-KU: New Jeans latest single.