Tavi Castro: Human To Savage

Jan 22, 2018
Tavi Castro: Human To Savage
Celebrating the release of his latest original “Ghost,” we went in-depth with the incredible Tavi Castro. A renowned bodybuilder and entrepreneur, Castro’s story and journey to electronic music success is a special one. Having releasing on Spinnin’ Records and played at Tomorrowland, we got an inside look at his productions, including his unique Human vs. Savage mix of each release, and some of the artists who are really inspiring him. Tavi also shared many of the personal bumps and lessons he’s learned along the way and how he’s found a special release and relationship with music that so many of us share. 
Can you share some of your musical roots and background with our readers? We’ve heard you mention some of the influence from your father and your move to the Netherlands, so could you tell us about that?
I was born in Mexico to Spanish and Irish parents before immigrating to Canada at four years old, and then moved to Europe at 14 as a soccer talent. My main focus at that time was professional soccer, but I always had a huge interest in music. My father is an amazing Spanish guitarist and he exposed me to music and instruments from a young age. At that time, I was very interested in how music could energise me so intensely before matches or training sessions. Its physiological and psychological effects amazed me.
I was 14 when I started to read and self-learn about music theory and sound engineering in my free time when I wasn’t training. But, it wasn’t until I transferred to a club in the Netherlands at the age of 16 that my interest in music really started to take over. I became a regular on Laidback Luke’s forum and I started to experiment with what I had been learning by creating beats on FL studio. Obviously, the Netherlands is a hotbed for DJs and electronic music production, and as a 16 year old kid all alone in a strange country, my passion for music and its ability to calm me, only intensified. After various issues with work visas and papers which made it illegal for me to play in official matches in the Netherlands, I decided stop playing soccer.
I wanted to take control of my life back and I enrolled at the Technical University of Delft for aerospace engineering. During that period, music helped me with the transition and I was able to get DJ gigs on the weekends in Rotterdam to help me pay for my tuition and expenses.

From what we’ve heard it seems that your car crash last year was a turning point in reinvigorating your passion for music and has sparked you a new in pursuing music professionally as well?
Yeah! So to add an even crazier twist in the story, during my years spinning and studying at university, I started to become a viral hit on social media due to my fitness and bodybuilding endeavours. That all started directly after I had stopped soccer just to keep myself in good shape. But being a perfectionist, I took that as far as I could as well, and before I knew it I had 10 million followers across Facebook/Instagram, and a booming clothing and consultation business. With this came a lot of pressure and stress that eventually combined with a very bad personal situation, pushed me into a really bad period in my life.
I had temporarily put music aside to focus on these projects not knowing that creating and writing music was what I needed to keep myself balanced. This all led to a lot of stress, sleeplessness, anxiety, and eventually falling asleep at the wheel on the highway and crashing head on into a guard rail at 130km/h. Waking up after the crash only with a concussion and bruising on my body became a moment of enlightenment and I asked myself if I had died, did I enjoy my life? Immediately after the crash I got back in the studio, created my song “Survive” which Spinnin’ Records signed, and began travelling the world to get inspiration for more music.

Turning our attention to your new production “Ghost,” what was the initial inspiration for the track? Do the vocals hold any particular meaning to you? What was it like working with Sarah’s vocals?
I actually wrote the human version draft of the song on my laptop on the train to Paris and then finished the idea in Thailand. I wanted to create a beat which sounded magical and epic, the feelings I had visiting Paris and the islands in Thailand. After I had finished the initial draft, Sarah wanted to give it a shot and write some vocals which would match the power and meaning of the instrumental. Needless to say, she nailed my vision for the vocal and it’s a reference to being ghosted by someone you care about.   

How did you decide to do a Human Edit vs. the Savage Mix? What do you feel are some key elements in each version?
After my accident I went on a soul searching trip through Asia and fell in love with future bass, namely Flume. I love the chill and organic vibe of the genre which almost seemed like it was meant to be a theme song for these amazing places I was visiting... very “Human.” This inspired my first productions after getting back in the studio. Eventually though I started to get the itch to create music which would complement my passion for bodybuilding, and that I could add to my live sets.
So the Human | Savage concept was born, where Savage is my interpretation of music you listen to at a party, or before you train to pump yourself up. Human being the music you listen to after you train, or while travelling, to relax your body and mind. The human version of “Ghost” is future bass with big 7th chords and organic sounds to create a sound which I wanted to be powerfully mellow, if that makes any sense haha. The savage mix pulls the track more towards the trap/hardstyle side. Powerful genres I also love, and often listen to during my own workouts.
For my savage releases I will ask myself, “Would this track hype me for my next lift?” For my human mixes I will ask myself, “Can I close my eyes and visualise some of the incredible places I’ve visited?” I guess that’s the best way I can describe the idea.

How would you describe a Tavi Castro DJ set? Who are two or three must play artists in your sets at the moment?
My sets tend to fluctuate between funky bass house, future house, trap, and future bass. At the moment I’m loving the sound from artists like Tchami, Jauz, Oliver Heldens, and Don Diablo for my live sets.  

How does the music you DJ compare to the music you listen to when you work out?
What I find amazing about the relationship between this style of music and fitness, is that they really are meant for each other. A good DJ set creates a certain vibe whilst energizing the crowd for a full night of dancing. The energy is everything... this energy is great for training and getting through a tough workout.

Last summer you played at Tomorrowland [Check out his Tomorrowland experience here]. What was that experience like and what did that mean to you?
Playing at Tomorrowland really was a dream come true. I had set the goal right from the beginning and I would have never have thought that it would happen within my first year back. So many amazing artists and so many amazing people uniting to create such an amazing vibe. It was magical to be a part of and only motivated me more to continue producing more and to shoot for the main stage.

How do you balance your fitness career, your music career, and family life? Are there any tips or life hacks you can share?
It’s definitely tough to find the balance! Over the years I’ve learned to work smarter and not harder when it comes to my businesses. I started to work towards not only getting things done myself, but finding ways, and working with others to do certain tasks in my companies so I could focus more on my strengths, and making more music! The biggest advice I would give to anyone who’s grinding on long days working hard to make their dreams come true, is to take at least 15-30 minutes a day to meditate and turn your mind off. Reaching your goals will not be worth it if you destroy yourself on the way there – mentally, and physically... I almost learned the hard way...

The birth of my daughter only motivated me further to continue with music and I don’t think you can give anything better to your kids than being with them as much as possible and letting them witness you living your dream.

How is the music shaping up for the rest of the year? What are two goals that you are hoping to achieve musically this year?
I have a huge back up of projects I’m finishing off and can’t wait to release! My goal for 2018 is to release at least once every two months and begin collabing together with bigger artists and vocalists. In the beginning, it’s tough when you’re still building up your credibility and profile, but I think my sound is getting better and I have a unique reach into the huge fitness industry. Only god knows what’s next.
Tavi Castro – “Ghost” is available to buy/stream on your platform of choice today!
Connect with Tavi Castro: WebsiteSoundCloud | FacebookInstagram

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