Glass meets Reeps One, multi-disciplinary artist behind Ballantine’s True Music Series

“PEOPLE deserve experiences, not just shows,” says prize-winning beatboxer and multi-disciplinary phenomenon Reeps One about music today. “I want to make people forget where they are – and using all the senses is integral for that. To stand out you need ambitious authenticity. That can come through just with how imaginative your projects are.” With this uncompromising experimentation in mind, he teamed up with Ballantine’s on its first True Music Series, transforming Europe’s No. 1 Scotch whisky into literal works of art.


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Reeps One, photographer Ben Hopper and videographer Zach Walker creating the
artworks for Ballantine’s first True Music Series. Photograph: Tom Griffiths

These striking artworks ripple to life via an original Reeps One track called Surfaces, written for the project and played through an audio visualiser containing Ballantine’s whisky. The result is a series of explosive sonic patterns, caught on camera as the whisky danced on the vibrations of Reeps’ vocals and beats. Smooth, circular undulations feature on the Ballantine’s Finest sleeve, while more intricate patterns are depicted on the Ballantine’s 12 Year Old tin, highlighting the different frequency variations in the track.


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Europe’s number one whisky is poured onto the audio visualiser turning
it into literal works of art. Photograph:Tom Griffiths

The base idea may not be new – the non-Newtonian fluid (cornstarch and water) and speaker experiment is Science 101 – but Reeps’ spin on it does make for a spirited combination. “Whisky has a different viscosity to water so, when I added Ballantine’s Finest and 12 Year Old blends to the audio visualiser, it behaved in a totally unique way, creating these beautifully complex and chaotic patterns, which made the creation process all the more exciting,” Reeps explains.


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The whisky behaved in a totally unique way, creating complex and chaotic patterns.
Photograph: Tom Griffiths

As for the track itself, Surfaces goes deeper than its name suggests: “It is about overcoming what’s expected of you,” he says. “It’s about growing new parts of yourself.” Plus, every inch of Surfaces was designed to make the visualiser create the most unique patterns possible. “The song, the lyrics and visualiser were all carefully constructed to work together.” It has an intense energy, much like the city he was born in.


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The song, the lyrics and the visualiser were all constructed to work together. Photograph: Tom Griffiths


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The team admire the ripples created by the audio visualiser. Photograph: Tom Griffiths

Like many Londoners, the capital has informed his artistic style, and he cites early grime alongside UK musicians including James Blake and Aphex Twin as the soundtrack to his early years. It was while listening to these artists and emulating their sounds that started him on his own music-making. “I was born into a grime environment; it was this city and early grime instrumentals that set me off,” Reeps says. “London is heavy and dark, and filled with everything you can possibly want or imagine. It’s all here. It shows the world can be complex and nuanced, and challenges you at every corner. That’s why it’s amazing.”


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Reeps One is a prize-winning beatboxer and multi-disciplinary artist. Photograph: Tom Griffiths

This pairing follows previous collaborations with album cover designer Leif Podhajsky and music photographer Dave Ma in Ballantine’s cutting-edge Artist Series. It’s the inspired meeting of minds and artist interpretations the brand is so well known for. When it comes to Reeps One, it’s a perfect fit: “I’m Irish and Russian on both sides of my family so I’ve seen how something created and drank can unite and create moments,” he says. “It’s that feeling that I strive to create.”


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Reeps One is a prize-winning beatboxer and multi-disciplinary artist. Photograph: Tom Griffiths

tom reepsReeps One at play.Photograph: Tom Griffiths


by Natalie Egling

The Ballantine’s True Music Series Limited Edition gift packs are available here

Reeps One’s original track Surfaces is also available for free download from here. Using original and fan filmed footage from the exclusive first performance of Surfaces at Printworks London, the track’s music video features his largest audio visualiser yet, transforming his music into 360˚ immersive artwork projections around the space.

For more information, visit

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