Taka Perry on APRA’s support & new Downtown publishing deal
“APRA AMCOS has been there for me literally since day zero,” says rising producer and songwriter Taka Perry.
The revelation comes during a chat with TMN, where the 20-year-old spoke around the important foundations he’s placed for his career.
Perry hails from Canberra and was first introduced to the music industry during a school songwriting workshop that was organised by APRA called Songmakers.
“One of the mentors that came to my school was Robert Conley (who has worked with artists like Celine Dion, Savage Garden, Tina Arena and Montaigne) and we hit it off through our sessions together,” he recalls of his first interaction with the industry.
“Eventually, I got signed to publishing from that workshop and I headed up to Sydney after finishing Year 12 to fully peruse music.”
Behind closed doors, he has been working away as a songwriter and producer on tracks by the likes of Ruel, Max Frost, Thomston, Cyrus and Dean Lewis. But now he’s stepping into the spotlight and launching his very own artist project, which is already gaining traction on streaming platforms.
“It’s been a long time working towards these releases. We just really wanted to get it right. It’s taken a little longer than expected but we are trying to play the long game instead of cutting a few corners along the way and rushing them out,” he says.
In the early stages of his career, he released a couple of songs under a solo artist project, but Perry quickly realised that he hadn’t entirely discovered what his personal sound or style was.
Stepping out of the spotlight, the producer focused on producing for others and experimenting with varied sounds as he tried to find his own lane.
“I guess it’s that mental separation. If I’m working on my own project, it’s a very different hat creatively than working on other peoples projects. Sometimes those two hats would blur and mislead me creatively.”
After some soul searching and creative inspiration, he’s realised that his sound takes form somewhere in between electronic and urban.
“I love heavy hip-hop tracks and urban stuff with 808’s, so that’s really started to come across in my music. But because of my Japanese heritage, I also like to use more ethnic and organic instruments instead of just synths and electronic sounds.”
And that’s exactly what he’s showcased with his first two releases. The instrumental track ‘Introspect’ is an impressive introduction to the experimental production and layering that he’s been solidifying. While ‘Kuruna’ (translated to mean Don’t Come) hears him teaming up with Japanese rapper JP The Wavy for a J-Hip-hop track with hard-hitting production.
He cites the cultural shift in music to be really interesting and inspiring with the Australian, US, UK and Europe markets starting to embrace foreign music with tracks like ‘Despacito’ and artists like BTS and Blackpink climbing the charts.
“I feel that language is less and less becoming a barrier for music consumption which is so exciting. So I’m really keen to try play with that and because I’m half Japanese I’ve already really pushed that into my music.”
Perry signed his first publishing deal when he was 16 years old but with the deal expiring in November 2017, he decided to stay unpublished and to instead focus on writing and production as he tried to artistically find himself.
“After the first deal finished, I wasn’t in any real rush to jump back into publishing. I wanted to find a team that really got the vision and really cared about my career. So now I’ve signed with Downtown and while we have only been working together for 3 months, it’s been great so far”.
Downtown has also played a massive role in the orchestration of his single ‘Kuruna’ with helping bring JP The Wavy onboard.
“I made the beat first, and it was a really cool track that felt like it just needed a sick rapper on it. So we reached out the Japanese team from Downtown and they did a bit of hunting and brought JP The Wavy into conversation.
After he heard the demo he sent through an iPhone memo of him rapping over it and we were like ‘shit, this is good’, so Downtown helped get the ball rolling on it.”
The power of these industry interactions and conversations are something that was really highlighted to him through the importance of attending the SongHub camps. While some are more localised with a lot of collaborators he writes with regularly, they also create some amazing opportunities that are hard to line up otherwise.
“I’ve done a bunch of SongHub camps in the last few years. There was one in Brisbane in 2017 that led to my first production writing release with Atlantic Records in the states with Max Frost.
“That was a session that wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for us being invited to the same camp because he was an artist based in Texas at the time and I’m in Sydney. So for the two of us to get together and write his next single in Brisbane was kind of a weird miracle in some sense” he reflects.
Acknowledging that there are so many facades around having a career in music, he also notes the importance of APRA AMCOS’ support as being so pivotal.
“We are very lucky to have an organisation as passionate as APRA. Every country has their equivalent but through talking to other international producers and writers, everyone says that what APRA does for Australian artists is on another level. Their support and opportunities they create is out of this world”.