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RK_bw31Tasmanian based singer-songwriter Reuben Koops has just released his new four track EP ‘Slate’. The 22 year old’s emotive voice and depth and maturity of his songwriting belies his age. The former TV talent show contestant is about to embark on a recording expedition to LA to further develop what seems will be a long and fruitful music career. Reuben sat down for a Q&A with Australian Musician
Who are your singer songwriter influences?
A big one is John Mayer. Especially his newer stuff. City and Colour and Ryan Adams are also big influences on my music.

What was in your parent’s music collection which had an influence on you?
Dad always loved Van Morrison, which is where I probably first got a feel for that singer/songwriter style. Also Crowded House was often on when I was growing up.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of trying to break as an artist living in Tasmania?
Obviously being out of the bigger city areas there aren’t as many opportunities available but having said that it’s only a couple hours on a plane to Sydney and less to Melbourne. However, people are pretty supportive of new artists in a small town/state so people often get behind what I do – which is great.

What are the pros and cons of participating in a TV talent show?
I was able to play my own music so having that exposed on a big scale is a massive pro. But it does have a bit of a stigma attached that is hard to shake. At the end of the day though I learnt a lot, scored a heap of new listeners and sold a lot of my music so I’m pretty happy with the whole thing.

You toured with Eskimo Joe’s Kav Temperley. What do you learn from doing a support like that?
Seeing Kav perform songs that were 10 years old but still as catchy and relevant as ever taught me the value of a good song. It was actually a pretty big turning point for me. I kinda evaluated my writing style and the songs I was writing and I really wasn’t happy with them. After that I wrote all the songs on the ‘Slate EP’ and the song ‘If I Go Back’ is about that touring experience.

Your most memorable  gig so far?
Playing at The Forum in Melbourne as part of the Telstra Road to Discovery program last year. Awesome.

Are there any artists you look up to not just for their music but for the way they handle their career?
Ryan Adams. I love how much he writes and releases and how he does it basically all himself.

What’s your main guitar… how long had it … where get it?
Main guitar is a Taylor 414CE Limited series which has Tasmanian Blackwood in the back and sides. I have had it for about 3 years, played basically every memorable gig with it. I bought it from the shop I work at in Launceston called Barratts Music.

Do you have electric guitars as well? If so what do you have and what do you play it/them through? And favourite pedal and why?
I have a 1990 Fender American Deluxe Strat played through a handmade valve amp by a friend of mine here in Tasmania. I don’t use a heap of pedals but I like my MI Audio Crunch Box. It’s pretty versatile and works for whatever I need it to do.

What’s on your gear wish list?
Heaps! Haha. I have been eyeing off an 00015M Martin acoustic for a while now. Also wouldn’t mind some more studio gear…

How do you document your musical ideas? Do you have a studio set up at home?
A lot of the quick ideas are just on my phone. But I have a pretty decent studio setup at home for when I am really starting to record and arrange the song.

Why did you call the EP ‘Slate’?
Like I mentioned before, it was like a clean slate songwriting wise. After touring with Kav, I approached songwriting in a new way and the title represents that.

Would you say there is an overall theme to the EP lyrically?
Not overly. Each of the songs is about it’s own thing really. We picked 4 songs that were quite different to try and show as much as we could in one EP.

Tell me about ‘Two Pieces’, the single. What’s it about? How did the song come about and how did you develop it?
That’s your heartbreak track haha. It’s basically about the fact that though breaking up sucks at the time, it happens, and you just have to pick yourself up and keep on keepin’ on.

The musicians who play on the EP, Cameron Bruce and Brett Wood, will you be able to access them for live shows too?
Hopefully! We live in different cities but when the opportunities arise, I would be doing all I can to make that happen. They brought a lot to the overall vibe of the EP. Awesome players and great dudes.

What can you tell us about your upcoming LA trip?
It’s to do some more recording and writing. I will be working with a producer and players that can’t yet be named but I’m really lucky to be working with them. It’s going to be the biggest thing I have done musically so far so really looking forward to it.

Standard_Cardboard_Sleeve(2pp_5mmBleed)What lessons have you learned from your previous studio experiences that you might take into your next recording?
To just trust your gut and go with what you think. Also eating pizza before I sing made my voice sound cool last time so I might do that again haha.

What’s your most recent song idea, where were you and what inspired it?
A song called ‘Labour Of Love’. It’s basically about how relationships as much as they can be easy and great, sometimes they are hard work but it’s well worth the effort. Hopefully my wife reads this.

You crowd funded your debut album, what was that whole funding experience like?
It was pretty scary actually. You set yourself up to fail pretty publicly ha, ha. But ultimately it was a success and raised more than I initially needed. I would do it again i think.

What artists are you listening to at the moment?
I was only recently shown Ryan Adams and I am currently working my way through his gazillion albums and EPs. Really loving his stuff.

What’s the grand plan?
Not too sure to be honest. Just going to keep making and producing music that I am happy with and take the opportunities that come my way.

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