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Interview With Reuben Reuel

How would you describe your music to any person who may have never heard it before?

Reuben: There are a few ways to describe it, I think. My go-to terminology for it would be "electronic R&B." There are many influences within my music that it’s hard to get it down to just one specific genre/sound. In short, it’s got a nostalgic feel that’s interpolated into today’s sound and my perception of tomorrow’s music.

Press shot for Reuben Reuel.

What’s the significance of your musical moniker? Reuben: It’s my first and middle name!

What are your musical influences? Reuben: I’m influenced by whatever is happening to me at that particular moment. Sometimes it can be while I’m driving and taking in the views surrounding me, or walking down cobblestone streets in the city. I love all different types of music so I think they all influence me in a way, especially 80s and 90s music, and of course house music. For my most recent project, I was influenced by space and time. I’m also influenced by a slew of artists, especially my friends.

What are your musical inspirations? Reuben: I’m inspired by artists who really take the time to conceptualize their art and have a story to tell. I’m also inspired by artists who are just themselves and do not conform to the standards of others.

If given the chance, what musician(s) would you like to collaborate with? Rather this is to either write a song or be featured on a track. Reuben: There are so many! To work on a song produced by Timbaland would be insane. He’s a big inspiration of mine in terms of artistry and music production. I think I’ve mentioned Kaytranada a few times before and he’s someone who also inspires me a lot. Oliver Heldens is a DJ and EDM artist who I’m a fan of and would love to work on something with him as well. There are so many more – questions like these are hard for me because there are so many artists who I am a fan of!

Which songs on the album were the most fun to write and which were the most challenging to write?

Reuben: I think the thing I love most about this album is that all of it was really fun to write and work on! Most fun: "12x2," which features two artists – Mister JT & Aja Adam, was really fun because I was able to step outside of myself in a way with having them bring their vocals and ideas forward. I produced the song myself so that also added to the fun! "Surreal" would have to be another. The song itself is comprised of two different songs that we fused into one. S!lky Jones and I started the first half in 2020 and Janelovesu! produced the second half in 2022. The vocal layering, the falsetto, the drill drop infused with 90s-influenced breaks & the Lofi R&B feel really made the song just so much fun to create. "Cycles," which features my friend SHUAH, would have to be another. We went through a ton of changes for that song. When I first produced it my goal was for it to not sound the same at all. One of the critiques I received from my first project was that a lot of it really didn’t change too much- so I decided to match that energy and take it much further than anyone would expect. I loved writing the lyrics with SHUAH and the sessions we had were always really fun. S!lky really helped make the beat drop at the end shine as well. The most challenging would actually have to be the introduction, "Odyssey." I ended up really appreciating and loving the song but I wasn’t exactly sure where I wanted to go with it for a bit – I really wanted to play on the ‘oddity’ of the project. At first, it sounded very musical theater which I was not into at all. It took a little bit to figure out but when we got there it worked. I think the challenge was also trying to make this song just an introduction rather than branching off and making it into a full-length track. I normally don’t create music just to ‘open’ something so trying to make that into a song that was also listenable in general was something I had to configure.

Do you have any favourite song(s) off the new album? Reuben: "Surreal" is my absolute favourite, with "Cycles" and "12x2" being my other favourites.

What’s the new album about?

Reuben: Odyssey is an alternate audio universe which also is a signifier of the beginning of my artistic journey. It’s an amalgamation of what I’ve learned up until now and taking the road less travelled. It’s also a journey for the listener to escape their everyday reality and step into a new one. It touches on themes of love, space, trauma, and redemption. It is a reminder to stay on the path that you’re on, and not to be afraid of taking risks and facing your shadow self.

Do you have any favourite songs to perform live? This could be your own music or even a cover. Any reason why? Reuben: I really enjoy performing my song "Slow" live. The beat captures everyone and we’ve also remixed it in a way to make it even more fun live. It’s a fun song to dance to. "12x2" is a fun one because people really enjoy that song, so getting that energy back is always a good time. I also enjoy performing "Back to Me," "Surreal," "Quicksand" and "Talking My Shit."

If you could perform a show this very second anywhere in the world, where would it be? Is there any particular venue(s) or city/cities that comes to mind? Reuben: Glastonbury would be insane! If I ever were to get an opportunity to play that festival I would have to pinch myself. I’d also love to play at MSG here in New York City, mainly because this is my home and it would truly be a full circle moment. There are a few venues I’d love to play at some point too such as The Sultan Room, Elsewhere, Brooklyn Mirage, etc. I’d love to do some shows across the country too – Hollywood Bowl in LA or even The Wiltern would be sick. Outside of the country, I’d love to perform in London – or anywhere really! What do you currently have planned for the remainder of the year?

Reuben: Right now, I have some remixes in the works and some other side projects. I’m working on more music with some friends of mine here in the city and hope to expand more across the country too. I hope to do some more shows as well!

Thanks for the time today to talk about your music, Reuben. Is there anything else you may want to add before you go?

Reuben: Thank you for having me! You can feel free to follow me on my socials under @itsreubenreuel, and my Odyssey fragrance in partnership with Scentcraft is also available!

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