Music connected me with Honolulu-based DJ Tittahbye a couple of years ago and I’ve been vibing to her mixes ever since from this side of the world (New York City).
How does your craft reflect your personal aesthetic?
For as long as I could remember music was behind everything I did. As a child I was exposed to different genres of music because of my older brothers and the hobbies that my mom signed me up for. Throughout middle school and high school, I would research and ‘Mp3 dig’ for music that I liked and would record songs on the radio and make mini mixtapes for myself to listen to and became very protective over my tracks whenever someone asked about it. For some reason I never liked revealing my sources because I felt like my music taste was what made me different. I grew up in a Filipino-dominant middle school where all my classmates were listening to Top 40 and there I was in the back listening to my Black Flag and Gorilla Biscuits. Eventually my music taste started to expand in college and I began to share the music I was listening to.
I went out to a lot of underground hip-hop and punk shows taking photos, wrote about them in my school newspaper, and then eventually started putting together and promoting shows. My main mission was always to shed light on those underground underrated artists…something I still focus on today.
I started dating a DJ and that’s when mixing music entered my mind. I was writing a piece for a magazine and I gave him a track list to mix and then he said, “Why don’t you just mix it?” He ended up showing me the ropes starting from vinyl first and then taught me how to DJ on basically any format. He stressed to me that my music selection was important and that I should never lose that. People still ask me, surprised “Wow you DJ now?” but then in my mind it’s like…about time.
How have the women in your life been instrumental in your life and career?
My mother is your classic 63-year-old stubborn twice divorced Filipina, 1st generation to move to United States. Growing up she instilled great strength and determination in me and always made sure my back bone was unbreakable. She taught me that you could get anything you wanted as long as you made it your mission. One of the toughest generation barriers between us was that she was stuck in the traditional mentality of me becoming a doctor or lawyer to make money. Her rejection of my career choice just made me more determined to prove her wrong and it still fuels me.
Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve?
I observe research, absorb and adapt. There are times I do feel defeated as if I’m going nowhere fast but then I snap myself back to reality and remind myself that nothing is going to happen if I’m not doing anything about it.
How do you keep track of your personal and business goals – and stay creative at the same time (even when you’re exhausted)?
I’m a die-hard fan of to-do lists and I have all kinds of them: short-term, long-term, daily, personal, business, etc. I’m a huge procrastinator and work well under pressure (even though I’m stressed out haha) and I always need a deadline. If I’m on a time-constraint for the day for example, I won’t eat (and I do love to eat) or stop till the task is done.
My schedule is usually busy so I always make it a point to separate my personal and business environment. When I’m at home I try not to take my work with me and remind myself that my bedroom is for relaxing, unwinding, and taking a mental break, which is all very important to me.
As far as creativity goes, I can’t force it or rush it otherwise it’ll come out wack. If I’m stuck I’ll go do something that doesn’t require a lot of thinking until I’m re-energized to start again.
How important are mentors? Who is your mentor?
Extremely important. Without their influences on me, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
DJ Revise is my mentor, who is also my boyfriend and business partner, inspires me to strive for my best potential not only as a DJ but also as a person.
As far as people I look up to…Sosupersam, TOKiMONSTA, Miss Lawn of Hellz Bellz, all bad ass girls doing all things that I love, running with the boys and killing the game. DJ Delve for his music programming and music taste. His mixes are the only ones that I can run back to back all day and I never get sick of it.
What is your advice for women entering creative fields or starting their own business?
Be prepared to work and to constantly adapt. Have true intentions and purpose behind what you do and don’t ever lose sight of your roots.
Place that inspires me the most…
Currently L.A. I went there back in April for my birthday and it was such a good break for me to get re-inspired and connect with some artists that I admire. I love the hustle that everyone has, it was very infectious.
I feel most powerful when… I’m DJ’ing on stage and everyone is dancing. I have such a great adrenaline rush and seeing people smile and move to the music I’m playing makes me crazy happy and just reminds me why I do what I do.
I love what I do because… it makes me feel vulnerable because I’m sharing my music taste with everyone and at the same time excited because the music I’m playing is making them dance and feel the way they do.
Best advice I have ever received… Do you boo boo.
DJ Tittahbytes’ Upcoming Events:
+ June 24th – Green Leaf Check at The Safehouse [greenleafcheck.com/rsvp]
+ June 27th- Ginza Nightclub
+ July 2nd – Chitty Bang at The Safehouse
+ July 3rd – First Friday at Fresh Cafe
+ July 11th – White Rabbit at The Safehouse
+ July 30th – Green Leaf Check at The Safehouse [greenleafcheck.com/rsvp]
+ August 20th – Kehlani at The Republik [bampproject.com]