Fresh from the adversities of heartbreak and the new beginnings of finding love again, singer/songwriter Reuben Apirana a.k.a. Camp 8 crafts a collection of heartfelt, slow-burning indie-pop numbers on his debut EP Everything. Growing up in the Sunshine Coast, having moved from his birthplace of Christchurch at an early age, music has always been an integral part of Apirana's life. Having been raised by a musical family, his father always wanted him to become a musician. But it wasn't until 2018, after moving to Melbourne, that he really began honing his craft as a musician. Everything is built from the foundations of his musical upbringing and the formation of the experiences of everything he's been through in the last few years since really kickstarting his musical journey. And it's been a turbulent few years, as he has been quite vocal about in the build-up to the release of this EP. “I wrote all the songs in the couple the months before, during and after I found out that my ex-partner was cheating on me with my sister’s boyfriend at the time,” explains Apirana. “We all lived in a house together which all went to shit in a very chaotic 24 hours. Two months later I met my now fiancé.” Love and heartbreak are themes that are persistent throughout the release's 22-minute runtime. Backed by lush piano, strings, brass and percussion, Apirana croons his way through narratives of longing and heartache. These elements combined with elegant production from Hayden Calnin create a very cinematic feel on each of the tracks here. Although none of the five songs here are anything to scoff at, the title track and opening song of this EP stands out as a clear highlight. Released as his debut single in May of 2019, this heart-wrenching ballad is one hell of a way to announce yourself to the world. It received glowing praise and had many keenly anticipating what this talented up-and-comer would drop next. The EP version of this track is an extended cut running for almost seven minutes, which Apirana says is the "real true version" of the song.
The title track isn't the only previously released song on this project that has received something of a makeover. His second single 'Hurt', which dropped earlier this year, also gets reworked into an alternate version. He explains that this version fits in better with the rest of the EP and helps to progress the narrative of the project. The next two songs, 'Barbie' and 'Happier', aren't quite as awe-inspiring as the opening two, but they continue the theme of the release with the help of some very memorable vocal lines. This leads up to the closing track 'Shudder', in which Apirana delivers an emotionally intense vocal performance to rival the brilliance of the EP's opener. All in all, Camp 8's debut EP is a very strong showing, and it'll be very exciting to see what he does next. He has made mentions of writing an album - for now though, this EP will stay in the listening rotation. It's a Camp 8 out of 10.