A few months ago, during the madness of WMC 2010, I was attending the Trouble & Bass/Overthrow party in downtown Miami where I had the pleasure of meeting female DJ Tamara Sky. It was a little intimidating at first to approach her, but after our first introduction she was sweet as pie. (although I’m not sure she’d want me to reveal that secret. haha) I immediately knew that I wanted her as one of our “Who’s That Lady” females, and she happily agreed. Over the last few months I’ve had the pleasure of corresponding with her as she traveled all over the world. In this interview she talks Pussy Violence, shares her favorite records, and tells the story of her journey from a young girl in Puerto Rico to a world traveling DJ.
1. What exactly does “Pussy Violence” mean?
I came up with the term from watching the old sexploitation film “Faster Pussy Cat! Kill! Kill!” Matter of fact, the intro to PV1 is a sample from that film. As a woman I don’t aspire to be “diva.” I strive to be what I refer to as Pussy Violence: Being a woman on my own terms. When I see another chic that is completely bad ass I refer to her or what she’s doing as Pussy Violence. It’s like the saying goes “Well behaved women rarely make history.” The PV mix series conveys this mentality with mega high energy, offensive tunes.
2. At 19, you left your home in Puerto Rico and made the move to Miami, what brought this on and why Miami? What do you miss most about Puerto Rico?
I was in Puerto Rico studying for Accounting at UIPR (in English: InterAmerican University at Puerto Rico.) I loved school, but was reluctant about a 9 to 5 career. Since I had always modeled on the side, one day I took a chance, flew to Orlando for this modeling contest by Lu Pearlman.. and won! Honestly, the contest was sort of a sham with no legit contract, but I did receive a few fancy checks, and tons of calls from agencies. This influenced me to make the move to Miami to pursue modeling professionally. The most I miss about Puerto Rico is my Dad and my dog, Cinni. I’d love to move them to Miami one day, but I don’t think my dad would ever move out of his house. He’s lived there since before I was born.
3. What’s your favorite Puerto Rican dish? Also speaking of food, we know you can spin records with those hands, but how are you in the kitchen?
My favorite Puerto Rican dish is the Arroz con Leche that my mom makes. Its not like the Cuban one, it’s better. It has a soup consistency. Its made with milk, rice and salt. I used to not know how to cook anything then I started helping my former roommate in the kitchen to learn from her because she is an amazing chef. I’m pretty impressed with my cooking now.
4. What was your childhood like? Who were some of your role models growing up?
I was raised by my Dad. I have five brothers. I grew up playing video games, which I’m pretty good at, and playing sports. Dressed like a boy and had a boy haircut at some point. I was also in private catholic school that I hated. Was into drum & bass and metal music in my teen years. Went to dance school for about 4 years. Some of my role models growing up were Madonna, Cindy Crawford, Vampires and Tarantino.
5. When & how did you decide that you wanted to become a DJ? What’s your favorite part about the career?
I had been living in Miami for approximately a year. I started to give up on modeling, after hearing over and over “you’re too short.” Around that time my now ex-boyfriend was a turntablist / dj. After seeing him nerd out on the decks everyday it just came organically. Once I started I couldn’t stop. There are lots of things I like about what I do. I get to travel and experience new cultures, but at this point in my career, my biggest reward is establishing myself as an artist through the eyes of my peers and inspirations. Its the fruit of my labor. I love getting the opportunity to collaborate with other artists that I respect and am inspired by. Whether its djing with them or making music.
Uh yeah.. thanks to djing, one of those modeling agencies that used to turn me down, Wilhelmina, recently pursued me for their “media, tv, film, & modeling division.”
6. Being that you are an international DJ, you’re constantly on the go .What’s a day in the life of Tamara Sky like? When you’re not on the go, how do you enjoy spending your downtime?
A typical day of being on the road is 2 hrs on the tables, and 4-8 hrs one way in the plane if its domestic… the things that keep me sane when in travel mode: Twitter, Chipotle, and shopping!
A typical day back home in Miami, you can usually find me doing one for the following: riding bikes with my boyfriend, eating at fancy restaurants and people watching on Lincoln Road, brainstorming at the Overthrow Castle, doing photo shoots for fun, or in bed downloading music.
7. You’ve been all over the world, where has been your favorite place to spin? Why?
My Favorite party by far is Overthrow’s ‘Sloppy Seconds’ in Atlanta. Every time I dj is with some of my most respected peers and friends from all over like Drop The Lime, Steed Lord, Gina Turner, Jokers of the Scene, and Larry Tee. Plus the party kids in Atlanta are not afraid to dance at all!
8. So you were/are (I don’t know the correct way to phrase it, are you a bunny forever? Haha) a playboy centerfold how did your family feel about it? Do you think it has had any negative effects on your career and/or life? Would you do it again?
Well… Once a bunny always a bunny (even when I get old and saggy hehe). My family is proud of everything I’ve accomplished. As for the repercussions of being playmate, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Historically, I have the utmost respect for the lifestyle that Playboy revolutionized, and am super honored to be a part of that family. The publicity helped leverage my career, but subsequently type casted me as a “Playmate DJ.” I’m sure a lot of the Playboy “Bunnies” would eat that up, but I’m not that bunny. Since day one I’ve been more focused on my creative process than being a model. The dj community is very male driven. I expect to catch flak regardless, but I wish I had a dime for every time a dj came up to me and said: “Wow, you’re actually good!”
9. Three items in your closet you can’t live without?
Black Leggings, Vintage Black one inch heel boots and my TOMS.
10. So your skin looks pretty flawless – any skin care tips? Make Up must haves?
I wash my face with grapeseed facial wash and seaweed exfoliator from the body shop(i love that store). After washing my face i put vitamin c on my face and vitamin e around my eyes.
Make up must haves: Mineral foundation by Benefit, Burts bees wax lip balm, 2000 calorie mascara by Loreal, bare minerals matte face powder spf 15.
11. How would you describe your personal style? Who are some of your style icons?
Hmm…lets say if Madonna circa ’93 devoted herself to being a dominatrix and made babies with Dita Von Tease… that’s my brainchild.
12. Recently you became the face of Luxirie by LRG, and you’ve been spotted around town rocking Claw Money. Are you into any other streetwear brands? Who are some of your favorite fashion designers?
In general I love clothing lines that support music such as LRG, Claw Money, Hellz Bellz and Mishka. My favorite fashion people run the New York show room Foundation. And I look up to them for whats hot. Some of my favorite fashion designers are: John Galliano, Roberto Cavalli, Balmain, D&G, Betsey Johnson, Alexander McQueen… I also love finding Vintage goods.
13. What are your thoughts on the vinyl vs. Serato debate? Do you use both, if so, which do you prefer?
Vinyl is awesome, but its a more for the collector. Serato is essential for the “never-not-working, traveling DJ.” For my first three years as a dj, I used to travel with crates of records. It was a pain in the ass. Each record costs about 10$’s. They get scratched, or damaged, plus the amount of music I was able to find on vinyl was extremely limited. Serato gave me the option to still use only two pieces of vinyl to spin thousands of songs for hours and hours and only limited to my laptop’s library I went from playing only house to playing whatever genre I felt the crowd wanted. Now I get booked for a much broader range of parties per there specific music taste. I know a lot of “OG” djs are still disgruntled about the evolution and there argument is always “anyone can be a dj now.” Well, step up your game then!
14. What are your top 5 “go to” records of all time?
These 5 songs are the mother of all party rockers, guaranteed to ignite Pussy Violence in any venue upon mixture with alcohol.
1. Pon de Floor by Major Lazer
2. The Rockafeller Skank by Fatboy Slim
3. Don’t Stop till you get enough by Michael Jackson
4. Cant stop by Red Hot Chilli Peppers
5. Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi
Disclaimer: Personally, this is not what I listen to when I’m not djing.
Here is my current ipod favs in no specific order:
1.Brow Beaten – Silver Columns
2.Only You Can Make You Happy (PUNCHES Remix) – Au Revoir Simone
3.Born Free – M.I.A
4. Something Good Can Work (The Twelves Remix) – Two Door Cinema Club
5. Caribean Girl – Mario Basanov (Ichisan Remix)
6. Skeleton Boy – Friendly Fires
7. Hold On (feat. Amber Coffman) (Sub Focus Remix) – Rusko
8. Reasons (Doctor P Remix) – 12th Panet & Jukali
9. Youth Blood (12th Planet & Flinch Remix) – Jinder
10.Days Go By – The Boogaloo Crew
16. What can we expect to see in the future from Tamara Sky?
I’m working on the Pussy Violence brand to build a lifestyle around it, cant say much about it right now but I’m very excited about that project. Also I’m working on an EP of my own music as a singer and co producing. So far I’ve been fortunate to dj in the states, Canada, Central America, South America and Europe and for the first time going to bring some Pussy Violence to Asia this year.
17. What does the word “LadyLike” mean to you?
I think LadyLike is all about embracing your womanhood and taking it to the next level. Doing your make up right, styling your self right, getting the new hot trendy style out there and making it your own. Being a unique,independent and confident woman that thinks outside the box are some of the things that I think about when I hear the word LadyLike.
18. What’s in your bag?
Camera, Itouch, Iphone, headphones, Lip Balm, Wallet, a black heart shaped mirror, Tamara Sky Stickers.
19. Anything else you’d like to add?
Yeah, I want some LadyLike Stickers! :D:D
Tamara has released a variety of mixes that will blow your mind, and most recently put out Volume 2 to her Jet Lag series, my personal favorite. All of these can be live streamed and/or downloaded and you can stay up to date on all things Tamara Sky via her website. Now that you’ve read the interview, don’t forget to take a look at our exclusive photographic look behind the daily life of Tamara Sky.
Words & Interview by Betsey J.
Photos by Tamara Sky