Ta-ku is a modern day renaissance man. Rising to prominence as one of Australia’s most in-demand beatmakers, the Perth-based artist (real name Regan Matthews ) has found himself curator of a rapidly expanding, multidisciplinary creative empire.
Born from a late-night sideline to his day job selling health insurance, Ta-ku’s music has quickly become a global, full-time concern. From early days uploading chopped hip-hop cuts to Soundcloud, the “genre-killer”’ s prodigious credits now include ambitious projects like 50 Days For Dilla, high-profile remixes for Flume, Chet Faker, BANKS, Childish Gambino and Justin Timberlake, as well as a clutch of co-writes, production efforts and countless self-releases.
This insatiable drive to create is a personal one “ I started making music when my mum and dad split up when I was in high-school,” says Ta-ku. “So it will always be a storytelling and emotional outlet for me.”
This storytelling gene is key. Once reserved as currency for his music, Ta-ku now applies it to a diverse range of passion projects that encompass photography, design, business and fashion. “I document things,” he says. “I like bringing a story and attention to detail to everything I do and it’s evolved into something I didn’t know it was going to.”
Team Cozy , the sneaker-based Instagram account he started as a joke with friends, is about to graduate from a 70k strong following to a full-blooded clothing line. The collaborative design community he co-runs and contributes to, Create+Explore , celebrates travel and lifestyle culture with killer photography, music and video production. He also co-owns and advises Westons Barbershop , a flourishing Perth salon that — in less than a year’s operation — is on the cusp of opening its own barber school.
While the common thread is one of collaboration and self-expression, the key to managing these disparate passions is respect. “Having different creative outlets keeps me fresh in each one,” says Ta-ku. “For a while music was all I was doing and it was becoming more of a burden than a release, and I think that’s when my creativity started branching out. When I take photos or go travelling I get hungry to get back into the studio to make something.”
If there’s a cohesion point to these streams, it’s their contribution to the Ta-ku identity. Beyond the producer’s forthcoming Songs To Make Up To EP, a companion piece to last year’s Songs To Break Up To EP , a debut full-length is due. “I’ve always wanted to bring all my interests together in the one spot,” says Ta-ku. “To convey to the audience that that’s what I’m about.”
It’s about contributing to something that adds up to a legacy. And the lessons learnt from Ta-ku’s diverse efforts so far have become singular: “If you make the thing you like, you’ll always have a group of people that dig it.”