A DJ’s Homecoming - Tat de Leon
University + Graduation = Party
Party + Barcelona = TAT
We are planning to send our first graduates out into the world with a bang.
TAT de León will take the stage when the sun sets, turning the graduation event into a dance party. We are taking her back to the beginning of her DJ career which was in Barcelona almost 10 years ago.
We sat down with TAT to talk about music and Barcelona and found that inside her lives a curious explorer, like in everyone of us at Harbour.Space.
How would you describe yourself? Who is TAT de León, what is your vision or philosophy?
I would describe myself as an unstoppable human. Since the age of 18 I’ve been passionately working and striving to develop my career. I’ve been a dreamer since I was born, with an unstoppable approach to life... I'm a fighter! I approach life with a childlike curiosity, which enables me to meet new people and discover new things.
My philosophy in life is all about being hungry for what you dream of or want to be. I believe that you should always push yourself out of your comfort zone and take risks - if you fail get up and keep going as mistakes and failures give you the power to learn and help you figure out where you don't want to be and giving you clearer insight into the path you want to be on.
Tell us a little bit about your background as musician/artist, what made you choose this path?
Music has always been a part of my life, since I can remember every episode of my life has its own soundtrack. I'm always searching for new music. I started in electronic music listening to The Chemical Brothers (1997-1999), I've never been too attached to a music genre i'm just a music lover overall … Before 99, I was listening to so many 90´s POP and House, grew up listening to the radio stations and with my mom & dad music taste, lots of 70´s and 80´s (The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Beatles, Cher, Janis Joplin and many more Latin composers and singers) , my first fan-obsession-admiration for someone and first concert was Michael Jackson (1993 Dangerous TOUR) I started as a teenager living in a small town 40 mins away from Mexico city, listening to Groove Armada, Moby & Progressive ... I always felt different comparing to my classmates who all wanted to fit perfectly into the what was expected of them to listen to, fitting into a cookie cutter mold. My friends and I were the total opposite, we wanted to feel free, to be what we wanted to be in that moment, and we needed something new... We found that freedom at RAVES (2003) where I discovered Psychodelic trance.
College (Graphic design) took me back to Mexico City, and then I was listening to Swaysak, Mandy, The Knife, 2manydjs, Roisin Murphy, Goldfrapp, Fisherspooner.. all this new electronic music made me very curious about playing as a DJ. I was attending to a lot of parties with Amazing DJs (Richie Hawtin, Tim Sweeney, Crystal Castles Live, Soulwax, Hernan Cattaneo). So on my vacation (2007) in Barcelona I bought a midi controller for a DJ software and that was my first intro to a DJ experience. Of course I didn't know anything about Knobs, Faders, Wires, Frequencies, that's why in 2008 I dropped graphic design college and signed up to study Electronic Music Producer & DJ, in G Martell (Mexico City).
I then I decided to move to Barcelona, where after multiples interviews, I got my first job as a DJ and became the resident DJ at Mellow Beach Club By custo Barcelona. I was responsible for all of the music for the whole place, during that time I was DJ’ing for 8 hours 6 days per week. I basically learned all my DJ skills that summer - I met amazing people and spun thousands of tunes. By Christmas 2010 I was back on Mexico city and since then I´ve been established here.
Since then I've fallen completely in love with my work, I been working and developing music concepts for stores, hotels, brands and I'm still in love with music, every day I'm wanting to listen a new track that turns into my new obsession and then becomes part of my persona.
What do you enjoy the most about your profession? How do you manage to keep doing what you love?
The most enjoyable thing about my work is music, which for me is another language, where most humans find other ways to express themselves, I do it through music. When I’m DJ’ing the music serves as the link to meet people and connect with new people. I love meeting new people, I'm in constant moving, events, clients, venues, travels, so everything is a new inspiration.
I find music to be a healing element, so every time I'm doing research it is a pleasure for me.
I'm a believer in doing what you love, of course it hasn't always been as easy as it is now, it hasn't always been carefree travels, winning, and DJ parties… I was finding my path and learning from my mistakes falling and learning how to stand up again, trusting and never stopping and constantly searching for more. Everytime when I'm in my comfort zone I start looking for more, I guess I like to live inspired, I feel really grateful about finding my passion and being able to create all the things that I’ve been able to achieve in my work.
Could you tell us about your creative process? What are the most important pillars of your work?
Inspiration is the biggest pillar for me, talking about my creative process is so big, it depends on the project, it depends if it’s a Gig or recording Mixtape session, producing a track or creating a concept for a brand or space, basically my work is to create atmospheres, so all this inspiration is the root of all of my projects. It’s very important for me that my clients trust me completely to create something for them, it could be a Dj session, where my job is to create the atmosphere for the people to dance or feel comfortable, also another thing is doing all the research of concepts and moods.
How has living in different countries (specially in Barcelona) affected your work and you as a person?
Since the first time I went to Barcelona, I knew that I was going to live there. I love Barcelona, I'm so happy I'm coming to DJ for this amazing event, personally, Barcelona gave me a lot. I founded my roots as a DJ there, many of my memories are there. I love to immerse myself in new cultures, which has always been the fuel to my inspiration. I love to see and discover how music differs in different parts of the world and I take that back with me wherever I go.
What inspires you to do music? Is there anything else besides music that drives your passion?
Traveling, being in love, being sad, being happy, I like to express myself by transmitting and translating exactly what's happening in my life at that moment.
When performing, what sensations do you want your audience to feel, how do you connect with them?
Depends on the event, but mostly making the audience feel comfortable with the space, it's amazing when you see them connect with themselves and the music and start to feel comfortable enough to feel free….I love to see them smiling, being free.
How has music shaped your life and what have you learned throughout this journey?
For me music is my self-expression, my work, my language, the tool that is with me always. The world of music is so extensive and it’s amazing to get lost in- I've been here for years, yet I am still finding new things everyday that amaze me.
What are the most important decisions you’ve made to get where you are right now?
Definitely quitting graphic design… Could not see my life working now as a Graphic Designer, of course I'm always going to be a creative soul.
How does it feel to back to Barcelona?
Amazing, looking forward to the gig, looking forward to meet you all in person and to get to know this amazing project closely. For so many students, Barcelona is going to hold the same place in their heart and pivot point in their career, just like it did for me. I am so happy to be able to share that experience with them while they are creating a new beginning and new goals. I'm coming to a place that I know well but it's been 3 years since I have been back and I know a lot has changed within myself and the city so it will be fun to connect again and walk the streets and I can't wait to make Harbour.Space University dance.
What would you tell future graduates who are embarking on their own professional journey?
Trust that life has a perfect plan, but most of all trust yourself. Work on finding your passion, what makes you happy and inspired. Never stop and keep being the best version on yourself. Travel frequently, surround yourselves with people that give you good things and encourage you to do more and to live in a positive way of life.