#PopularPlay: Tatiana DeMaria
Oct 29, 2020
Tatiana DeMaria is the indie rocker behind some of our new favorite songs. Being the founder and lead vocalist/guitarist for the London-based rock band TAT for many years gave her recognition, earning her fans around the world, and allowed her opportunities not many artists have.
The singer has written and produced for a number of other artists and projects, including music for commercials, shows, and movies. Her latest project however, is what caught our eyes. As the mind and voice behind the majority of the new American Pie soundtrack, Tatiana is garnering an entirely new set of fans. Performing solo originals like ‘You Make Me’ as well as music from TAT like ‘I don’t wanna love you’ is what pushes the story forward.
1. You have 4 pieces of music in the new American Pie Movie. Did you write or record any of them specifically for the movie?
I actually have 8 songs in the movie, and 5 on the soundtrack, so it’s a mix of writing songs for the movie, licensing some of mine, remixing stuff of mine to fit the movie and also a couple of covers.
So, overall I recorded, wrote or produced about 7 of the tracks for the movie specifically.
One of my favourite tunes on the soundtrack is one I wrote for the movie called ‘You Make Me’. It was one of those songs that just came out the way it was and fell into place naturally which is always a great feeling in the process.
2. Having your music featured in different global projects is a huge accomplishment. Is there a show or movie where you’d like to see your music featured? Have you written songs with scenes in your mind?
Thanks! I haven’t really written songs with scenes in mind, no, but I have written them and after the fact thought ‘this would be dope for this specific show’. I’m drawing a blank on what shows I’ve thought that about, but it happens occasionally.
I tend to write from my own experience and a place of capturing what I feel about a subject I’ve chosen. So it’s less of me letting the outcome direct the music, and more of letting the emotion itself drive the outcome, unless of course I’m writing for a specific scene and gig. That’s how I stay connected to myself for my own work. For me it’s more about writing the emotion, keeping it as real as possible and knowing that on the other side, if I’ve been honest, people will relate no matter the medium, because we’re all humans feeling the same set of emotions. At that point, we can find a home for the song.
With that said, I do love getting a brief or a scene to write to and interpreting that musically when I do have a gig that requires it; flexing that muscle of stepping into someone else’s experience and starting with outcome. At some point I would love to sink my teeth into a show and create a sonic identity for it, much like Labrinth and Netflix’s ‘Euphoria’ which I love musically.
3. Which of your songs do you feel best encompasses you as an artist?
That’s a tough one, though I would say for now it’d be ‘AWS’, one of my next releases to come. It has every element of what I strive to include in my music from honesty, melody, energy, sounds and styles. It’s less of a straight up structured song and more of a journey that by the end has included all of those elements in a way that resonates with me. It feels like me as a person, which is my definition of encompassing myself as an artist.
4. Describe your creative process. From where do you start or seek inspiration?
It varies every time. Sometimes I’ll fall in love with a chord progression or riff and let that lead me. I hear melodies over chords so I let them dictate and then follow the feeling to the words. Other times I write words, thoughts, things I want to express which is probably what I do most these days as a starting place, and then I work backwards in putting music to the words.
Sometimes they happen at the same time, but overall I’m expressing shit I experience in life, in the most honest way I can, to melodies and sounds that resonate with me and what I’m saying/ sharing in that moment. I could start with a beat, guitar, piano, words, really depends, but ultimately the goal is to capture the emotion, the thought and the moment and translate it to a song.
4. As a songwriter, how do you approach writing music for yourself vs other artists?
Writing for myself tends to involve exposing parts of myself I may not expose in general. It’s a deeply personal process which I love. It’s a quiet space where I get to sink into my mind and feelings and find my way to words and music which I love doing. Cracking those feelings into words and moments, and then completing the vision sonically which can be a bitch to nail, but also sometimes just flows which an amazing feeling.
Writing for other artists is really about where they’re at and their vision. Relating to them, reading them and what it is they’re trying to say or go musically. Pulling out what they have inside them and expressing it in a way that resonates with them. It’s a less personal process for me, but involves every part of my human experience to relate and help us get to the place we’re going, which is that artists’ vision of how they see and express themselves.
5. Blending alternative, R&B, and Hip-Hop, who are some of your favorite artists from each?
To take the exact labels off for a sec I’d say: The Clash, 2Pac, Kendrick, the Police, Nas, J Cole, Nirvana.
6. What is a question you wish you got asked more?
Ha! I’m not trying to answer more questions in life in general, so off the top of my head I would say – not so much a question as a delving into the actual work. Writing stuff and coining emotions for yourself is a great feeling. In interviews we tend to talk about the commercial aspect, the process, the questions tend to be relatively similar. How do you write? What do you write about? How did you get started? Etc.
What I rarely get is ‘this particular lyric hit me this way…. is there more to it? why did you choose this?.. etc. It is rare for people to actually listen to the work itself and ask a question that relates to the music. Why we write certain things in particular, what a particular piece of work means to us as authors. Why we chose particular styles or sounds for a particular song. I guess an interest in the work itself and the human writing the work over the commercial process and general application of creation would be fun to discuss from time to time.
7. What was the difference in experience from fronting a band to becoming a solo act?
I’ve written all the music in both scenarios and in both I am fronting a 3 piece set up live, so overall seemingly similar on the surface.
However, as a band there was more balancing personalities, managing people, which is a full time job in itself. As a solo artist the band dynamic is different. The camaraderie is the same but the intention coming into the project and vision is clear off the bat. It’s easier for me to go full steam ahead on what I feel and not stop or account for anything other than what I’m creating, which is true for any band vs solo situation. Creatively the move to solo was also deliberate to not fuck with my band TAT’s sound and upset the fans who grew to love the rock it represents.
I wanted the freedom to create whatever I wanted and have a clean slate. To combine all my influences and production styles as a human being, going under my full name. So, creatively different because the sound and style is very much how I feel as a human as opposed to fitting any genres or trying to balance tastes. With that said, the way I set up bands on the back end seems to be the same. I always find permanent members that I love and it feels like family, which is very important to me.