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Achieving balance in music, let alone in life, is a hard task. But one look at the cover of Tuka’s new album Life Death Time Eternal and, even on first appearance, it seems he’s achieved it.
“There’s definitely a natural flow of things on how they balance out but I was definitely aware that I wanted to make it balanced. It was a juggling act right until the very end to get the feelings, messages and emotions that I wanted across – the whole duality thing,” he says.
“It was kind of my own measurement – I found balance in different ways. There’s one song called ‘State of Mind’ and the balance in that is where I wanted to make a song where I rapped the chorus’ and sing the versus, because I’d never really heard of a song that did that. Whereas in other songs I listen to the balance comes from irony. I listen to American rappers where they’re objectifying women and I like the sound of that music but I can’t do that myself or represent that myself because I see that women are being objectified.”
While at this stage with the album yet to be released, we can only make assumptions on how well measured Tuka’s balance really is. Though ‘Tattoo’, released from the album, is a fine example. Unlike many hip hop songs where women are objectified, this track serves as a thank you. It takes a look at a healthy balanced relationship, and that can only be a good sign for the balance that’s yet to be realised in the remaining tracks.
Beyond a balance in his music, Tuka has managed to translate that same balance to his life. Amongst juggling his solo career and place with the Thundamentals, Tuka ensures he maps out time for his other love: skateboarding.
“My life pretty much goes in two cycles and it’s either touring or writing. So when I’m writing I skate everyday, but when I’m touring if I roll my ankle skateboarding I can’t jump around like a madman on stage,” he says.
“So I get my exercise from that. It’s a sacrifice but I suppose at the end of the day, once it cools down on the touring front, I’m always going to skate. It’s not even about exercise, if I could have been a professional skateboarder I would have been, I would not be rapping.”
Even with the breaks taken from writing and skateboarding, Tuka is hardly losing skills. If anything, from writing so much for each project (Tuka and Thundamentals) he’s created a cycle in which he can continuously evolve and develop his music.
“A big reason that I like to be writing so much is because I don’t want to be putting my tool down. In song writing – in anything – it’s like riding a bike. You can always write a song or ride a bike but it doesn’t mean you can use that however you want unless you train it – just like any other muscle,” he says.
“So that’s the reason I write so much and when you write that much you can’t help but have leftovers from the last project or things you’ve learnt from the last project to move into the next one, and I don’t see that as a negative at all. Music isn’t this neat thing, it’s this messy thing that you’re kind of sculpting until the very end and you don’t even know if it’s perfect at the end until maybe years later when people still listen to it.”
Release: Life Death Time Eternal is out at all good retailers from July 10
Written by Amanda Sherring