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Conversations with Reuben Fillies

Today we’d like to introduce you to Reuben Fillies.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I’ve always been around music. My dad was a worship pastor and a jazz fanatic. I grew up with a special love for drums. I went from being four years old and playing a djembe (African drum) to getting my first drum kit when I was 10. As I grew older, guitars grabbed my attention. As I was finishing high school, I started taking guitar a little more seriously and that’s when I fell in love with songwriting. I loved artists like Justin Vernon from Bon Iver and Ben Howard. I loved the way their lyrics rested on an incredible piece of music. I wrote a single in high school that was inspired by these two artists, but it wasn’t until later on, when I released my first EP, that I dove into a more produced sound.

From then I got super into bands like the 1975, Hippocampus, and Coin and started writing indie pop/indie rock records. I wrote these song with a vision of jumping around on stage and having fun with my friends. I moved to Huntington Beach, California a little over a year ago to further pursue a career in music. This past year has been a whirlwind for everyone and having just moved away from home, I wasn’t an exception. My goal was to make connections with local musicians, play shows, write tons of music, and improve my craft. While I was able to accomplish some of those goals, a lot of them were left on the table. I am so excited to see what the next year or so in California brings and I’m itching to chase after some of those goals I set at the beginning of the year!

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I had a fairly smooth transition moving to California. There were some tough moments (sleeping in a garage, working as a dishwasher until 3 am, living out of a suitcase) but I was just so stoked to be there that none of that had an impact. Then came 2020; full of surprises to say the least. When things started getting shakey, my girlfriend’s family invited me to stay with them in Indiana where I’d have a place to stay and a job waiting for me. Although I knew I’d miss California, it was too good an opportunity to pass up given the circumstances. It was kind of weird leaving California right after I moved there but I knew it was the right decision. When I came back to California things had calmed down a bit and I was able to work again. But all this time, I hadn’t been inspired to write music. I was so busy trying to stay level headed and I spent a lot of time with friends and family and just surfing. I’m writing all this as I’m in my family home in Cape Town, South Africa trying to reflect on the craziest year I’ve ever experienced. I am so thankful God has looked after my family and me throughout all the speedbumps of 2020.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a musician. Since the day I started working on music I loved playing around with different instruments and ended up learning how to produce music. I’m most prolific at the guitar and most of my songs are based around a lead line or chord progression. I love writing music that people can dance around to but that still carries meaning. I am most proud of making the music I love and giving myself the freedom to experiment with new sounds and melodies. What sets me apart from others is my ability to tell stories through songs without making them feel weighty or somber.

What makes you happy?
Seeing people smile and feel like they can be themselves makes me so happy. Music has a huge impact on the way people can feel and act. If one of my songs can make somebody feel a little less stressed or a little more excited about life then I’ll be over the moon! I love spending time with my family and friends and just telling stories and laughing. A lot of my songs are birthed in those sweet moments.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Rachel Wilson, Alyssa Luzaich

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