Feature Interview

Stuart Reece: Persistence, Patience & Everything In Between.

Far too often have we been exposed to local acts that persistently write and rehearse and tour and repeat, but seldom is that persistence sustained. Because of blood, sweat and tear-inducing endurance, we’re fortunate to continue to discover newbies, relish in the familiars and hopefully, watch both soar.

Stuart Reece, an artist that’s persevered since 2010 (technically speaking, since he was 13 years old when he started playing guitar), has continuously maintained and pursued this cycle of excitement, collapse, doubt and triumph. Having recently released a 6-track EP “Broke Down Beat Down” and announced an accompanying tour, we caught up with Reece to speak all things familiar and forthcoming.

Timothy Kohler: Your recently released EP and third studio offering to date “Broke Down Beat Down” showcases a variety of familiar timbres and densities similar to that of your past work, yet the atmosphere displays a subtle and refreshing tint. How has the writing and recording process for this EP progressed from your previous methods?

Stuart Reece: For starters, I was introduced to a producer named Jake Ordendaal last year and seemed to find a musical soul mate in him. I told him that I wanted to create something light hearted and feel good for this EP, and we had such a good time recording it. Truly a laugh a minute. I hope that the energy comes across in the recording. We used the best session musicians in JHB to record drums and bass and I learnt a lot from them. I also think that the more songs a person writes, the stronger you will get at your craft.

TK: Your latest single ‘My Sweet Lady’ encompasses a charming, happy-go-lucky undercurrent with very specific lyrical content concerning the use of unusual antics to impress someone. Is this topic coming from personal experience?

SR: Guilty as charged. Love makes us do crazy things. I’m sure I’m not alone. For me it literally was dancing though.

TK: You’ve used a number of controversial methods in order to maintain and grow your fanbase, like serenading unexpected individuals in an array of locations for a music video. Do you believe it’s necessary for artists in saturated markets to continuously act unconventionally to gain attention?

SR: To be honest I am still learning. I do think we should try be original where we can, but I don’t think it’s necessary to be outrageously obscure. In my opinion hard work and persistence is the key, through the hard work you will come up with creative ideas that will set you apart, and through persistence you will develop a genuine brand that people will believe in.

TK: The imminent “Broke Down Beat Down” EP tour focuses primarily on the east coast, apart you’re your shows in Grahamstown and Cape Town. Do you have plans to promote the album elsewhere nationally, or even abroad?

SR: My dream is to play in the States. I am planning that now, although nothing is confirmed yet. We will certainly launch the EP in Guateng (where I am currently based). We planned the first leg of the tour for the coastal towns as that is where my biggest following is. Ultimately I would love to draw people to shows all across SA. That’s where that hard work and persistence part comes in again.

TK: You’ve often been referred to as one of South Africa’s hardest working touring musicians. Statements like these surely prove to be humbling and simultaneously motivating. How would you comment on the misconception that the formula to success in the industry is a result of mere talent and luck as opposed to hard work and good timing?

SR: Very good question. I do believe that artists should work for it, some guys get lucky and do it much faster than others, but when I look at SA’s finest and most established musicians e.g. Prime Circle, Karin Zoid or Dan Patlansky, they have been around for years and have built up a following that isn’t going to drop them for the next flavor of the week. That is the key, building something that will last. That can only be done over years of persistent touring and recordings as a musician.

TK: Finally, what’s in the future for Stuart Reece? Can we expect an additional music video follow-up to ‘Silver Rocket Cadillac’?

SR: I have a really cool concept for a video for ‘My Sweet Lady’ but I am still deciding whether to release a video with this single or rather use the money for a video for the next single (independent musician problems). Next month I am starting an internship at Hit Lab studios with Howie Combink so hopefully I’ll play a bigger roll in producing and recording my next songs. I will certainly be releasing new music this year.

Follow Tim on Twitter.

Listen to “Broke Down Beat Down” below on Deezer.