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A Short Conversation with Tatiana DeMaria

27 September 2020

In response to the awful events in Beirut you have released a song called “Beirut Fire”. Why did you feel the need to respond to those events and do you think that artists should make more of the platform they have to highlight world events and social issues?

Tatiana: I respond to events in general because I’m human and affected like everyone else on an emotional level, but on this one I also happen to be Lebanese and our home got blown out in the blast, along with a lot of family and friends.
I wanted to do my part to support the people of Lebanon who were already suffering tremendously under a corrupt government and Hezbollah’s increasing grip. The song was written after Hariri’s assassination but still remains true today.

It gives some insight about life in Lebanon which not many people are aware of and shares some thoughts I feel don’t always get attention. It’s easy to look at a place and think ‘well that’s fucked’, but often a whole population get painted with that same brush stroke.

100% of the song’s proceeds are going to disaster relief to help the Lebanese people.

As for platforms, that’s a much more nuanced answer. For now I would say to each their own platform and choice on how to use it, though I think it’s a great way to help causes. Why not help feed people? Why not raise money for causes? A lot of good can be done supporting other humans, so I like to use mine for that wherever I can and see fit. I also have my music as a place to channel. It’s different for everyone though, not all ‘celebrities’ with platforms have music to put it into, or films they write, or ways they feel they can express themselves other than socials, so it’s a different balance for each individual.

Musically you seem to have the ability to hop generic fences taking in pop infectiousness and rock drive and even more folky elements especially when you pick up the acoustic guitar. Have you ever thought of yourself as one genre or another or do such things not matter any more?

Tatiana: Honestly I’ve always hated the confinement that comes with genres. To me there are two types of music: good music and bad music, and it all depends on the listener’s taste. I’ve always loved every style of music and never understood the need to fit a mold, especially in a creative field where being innovative is not just fun and satisfying, but pushes the listening experience forward to newer sounds which our brains crave, and is vital as we evolve.

I write in all styles across the board for a lot of different projects as well, so wearing a genre instead of wearing myself as a human is just too limiting to me and destroys the potential of creativity to come. I grew up producing underground UK hip hop, MCing and making punk rock. The way I hear my music and myself expressed, is a specific sound that combines all of my influences.

I understand the human need to understand what you’re in for when picking what to listen to and consistency. I will always want to deliver melodies and lyrics at a quality that resonates with myself and fans, and in addition would like to take the listener on a journey, instead of only meeting them where they are and offering only comfort and habit in time.

Although you grew up in London, you spend a lot of time in the US. What are the differences in the two countries, both musically and otherwise?

Tatiana:I am British so that’s home of the two, however, spending so much time in the US I’ve found myself between New York and Los Angeles consistently depending on the projects and work whilst not on tour. Both countries have so much to offer. The UK has a lot of innovation and sparks in a smaller market, and I feel the US is great at taking sparks and developing them into full genres with a huge touring market to support them. Otherwise, despite the language being as similar as it gets, fundamentally the cultures are quite different. The UK with proximity to so many other countries in Europe just creates a different dynamic which I love, but there are awesome projects in the US Entertainment industry that don’t exist the same way in the UK. So it’s a mix.

Can you tell me a bit about your musical path up to this point, what made you want to be a musician and how has your sound evolved since you started out?

Tatiana: Simply put I just always kept coming back to it. Since I was a kid, something kept pulling me back to music and I surrendered to the idea that it satisfies my soul. The expression of ideas, and emotions, looking within to help provide any kind of honesty that might translate to insight for anyone in need, the melodies to help lift a spirit or give sadness a place, are all things I’m passionate about. As cheesy and repetitive as it sounds to be a musician saying ‘I have synesthesia’, it has played a huge part in why I make music. I have a few forms of it and one of them is physical sensations to sounds. Face massages, breathing better with good music, motion sickness with music I don’t like, so I find myself continuously in its grip and making it is a way to channel and create which is at the base of the human experience, so I love it and am grateful for it.

Where would you say that your influences lie, again both musically and otherwise?

Tatiana: Life, and the aspirations of life.

Einstein, Gandhi, DaVinci, 2Pac, The Clash, Peter Sellers, Robin Williams.

It’s been tough being any form of creative during lockdown, how have you survived being away from the stage and has the situation made you realise anything about yourself and the way that you make music?

Tatiana: I’ve loved every second of it on a creative front. I want for nothing but time and silence and that’s what it has given me. I travel so much and there is so much business on a day to day basis whether touring or not, that uninterrupted time with oneself to look inward, connect, write and practice the craft is a gift. I’m super grateful for the time and I can imagine a lot of creatives being relieved to be able to create without the looming pressure of tours and deadlines and all that come with the commercial piece of the process.

I have wanted some time to do this, so I’m just grateful that in this shit show I have been lucky enough to get that and see it as a small silver lining to an insane year.

And when you do finally get to gig again, is there anything that you have learned that will change the way you work?

Tatiana: Not particularly. I would love to have more insight to offer, but I work alone and in confinement in general so it feels like more of the same, which is something I’m grateful for, but not something that has changed me in any significant ways.

Musically you seem equally at home with a full band sound and the stripped back solo acoustic approach, what do you enjoy and what are the limitations which each style brings?

Tatiana: I love both. Feeling the bass, the harmonics of all the instruments playing together, the drum pounding on stage all endemic to the full band experience and not something you can replicate with backing tracks really, It just doesn’t feel the same to me. It is however, a lot more work, a lot more cost, a lot more set up, it takes a lot more from you to deliver.

Acoustic is amazing because I can pick up a guitar, show up anywhere and there’s the show. I don’t have to worry about hauling gear, all the rehearsals beforehand, herding band members, extra costs, set ups, sound, instruments, restructuring songs to work live in different venue sizes etc.

So it is satisfying to play with a full band, I love it and can’t wait to tour with a full band again, but something that is often not talked about is how sometimes the extent to which a full band tour can take its toll on artists, both financially and energetically, so there is also joy In the simplicity of Acoustic and just doing what I do, writing songs and sharing them.

And finally, where next for Tatiana DeMaria?

Tatiana: Planet Earth where nature is beautiful, the air is sweet, and we need all hands on deck to make this shit work for us all. Album, Singles and EP to come very soon, stay tuned :)

Thnk you so much for taking the time to talk to me and good luck with everything, musical and other wise.