When you think of a one-time Degrassi cast member who is changing the music game, your mind probably goes to a certain “Hotline Bling” rapper. However, Drake isn’t the only person from the Canadian soap you should have on your radar. Sarah Barrable-Tishauer, the actress who once portrayed school prez Liberty Van Zandt, is making major strides in electronic music — and she’s not just doing it for herself. Now 29, Sarah Barrable-Tishauer is a DJ who wants to make electronic music more inclusive.
A Concordia University graduate (like Liberty, she earned a spot at the top of her class), Barrable-Tishauer majored in communication studies and marketing, and currently works as an account manager. (She was inspired by Degrassi ‘s ahead-of-the-curve marketing campaign, which included a MySpace-like social network which gave all of the Degrassi students virtual “lockers.”)
However, while she may be a marketing maven by day, the one-time actress also moonlights as a DJ — a move she made after friends continually complimented her mixes and musical taste. Working under the name DJ Me Time, Barrable-Tishauer performs at various events, including a monthly show called Home Brew, which takes place at Toronto’s Supermarket Bar.
(Oh, and this Degrassi stan couldn’t resist sneaking in a few questions about her favorite Canadian drama.)
How did you get involved with music?
Since I was young, music has always been a really important and huge part of my life. I’ve always gone to a lot of concerts, and I really love going to festivals. I was always the person at the parties who would plug in their iPod or whatever and people started asking me ‘Oh, are you a DJ? Are you a musician?’ and I was like ‘No, just kind of a natural passion.’ Then, about a year or maybe two years ago, [I thought] ‘Yeah, maybe I should get some DJ equipment, play around. That could be fun.’ I go to see DJ shows all the time and I know all this music and I collect all this music. It would be cool to share it with people in a more official way.
“I think a friend had asked me to DJ their New Year’s party or something – or play the music there – and I was like ‘Oh, that’d be fun if I had more of a set up.’ So, I got that, spent about a year, just kind of playing around. Then, on my birthday, a year ago, July 5th, I played my first show at a club in Toronto. I absolutely loved it and I got such amazing feedback from people.
How do you balance your full-time job with your musical aspirations?
“I’m balancing both [my job as an account manager] and I’d love, in the future, to be able to merge my two passions a bit more. Whether I DJ more regularly or also maybe be involved in planning events or marketing for DJs. That kind of thing.
“You can probably imagine having a nine to five job and also DJing until 3 a.m. is kind of a difficult thing to balance, so I’ve just tried to keep my gigs on weekends and just a couple times of month because I just don’t have a lot of time… So, it’s kind of like I live this dual life Marketing by day, bass by night, but I’m really loving it. I think it’s a lot of pressure if you’re trying to DJ full time, so I’m really lucky that I’m trying to be more selective with what I wanna do.”
A post shared by Sarah Barrable-Tishauer (@djmetime) on Jul 31, 2017 at 12:42pm PDT
Have you faced any challenges as a woman in electronic music?
“I’m also part of and support a local initiative in Toronto called Intersessions. Their mandate is to make people aware of female and queer DJs, have workshops, and try to create opportunities for each other because those opportunities are not easily given to us. We want to, basically, create spaces where we can be heard. I feel like it’s an important time and there’s a lot of change that’s happening, but I wanna keep pushing that.”
What women do you currently look up to in electronic music?
“Well, one of my biggest inspirations…is Anna Lunoe. The media made this big deal because she was the first DJ to be pregnant while on tour. She DJed up until her eighth month. It’s crazy. She has a very active show. She’s always dancing and running around the stage and she’s a really great performer. Everyone made this huge deal about it. I think what people were talking about was the fact that the only reason she’s the first one is because there’s not that many good female DJs. It’s not as if that is the first pregnant women, it’s just the first woman that’s well known enough to be pregnant and people still like say something about it. She’s very active in talking about it and calling festivals out. She recently posted a picture on Instagram of this huge picture in Vegas of all the people with residencies at one of the big hotels there and they’re all men. I just don’t think people really think about it.”
FOOD. MUSIC. COMMUNITY. ✨ Tonight, my 3 passions collided for the first time in the magic that only a warm summer night could bring. ?️ #TheStopNM perfectly demonstrates the power of food in building community and creating change. Raising my glass (of @creeksidewine Sauv Blanc) to @thestopcfc and the critical work that they do, the incredible chefs who generously donated their time and delicious noms, my fellow selectas for bringing the noise @doughlowrock @themotownparty @mensathedj and to the #tofoodies who came out to eat, drink and dance for good! ⏳Counting down the days till next year!
A post shared by Sarah Barrable-Tishauer (@djmetime) on Jun 14, 2017 at 9:47pm PDT
Have you experienced any kind of discrimination as an artist?
What kind of brand do you want to create with DJ Me Time?
“I think the brand I’m trying to cultivate around Me Time has a lot to do with something that, I think, women can bring to this space, which is I really want to expand to talk a lot more about self-care, self-love. A lot about nurturing yourself and how that makes you better in your journey…Talking about self-care in the states’ music festivals or concerts or whatever where people can often lose themselves in that or not respect themselves and their body or whatever. That’s kind of where Me Time came from.
“So, wherever I play, we’ll put up signs that for people who feel discriminated against, who feel uncomfortable. These are spaces that anyone should be able to come and be completely themselves and not feel like they have to be someone else, which I think happens a lot in clubs and festival environments where people feel like they have to put on different face or something. I’m hoping to kind of develop a blog out of that with more information about that. Talking about that within this landscape of festivals and stuff. It’s not talked about a lot.”
What do you think some music festivals can change so that they are a better experience for everyone?
“There’s just a lot of things that I think bigger festivals can do to mitigate a lot of risk that they put on their patrons. Like not easily having access to water when you’re expecting people to be outside all day and you’re charging $8 for a bottle of water and not giving people the lid to the bottle so that they can’t refill it themselves. That’s destructive instead or restorative. I think there’s a lot of things that can be done at big festivals. A lot of things that people should know about festivals that can be a really positive thing.
Reunion day! So nostalgic to be back on these steps with my @Degrassi alumni @miriamkatherine26 and @adamoaruggiero. Can’t believe it’s been 17 years since we first walked into #Degrassi – what a ride, we made it through!
A post shared by Sarah Barrable-Tishauer (@djmetime) on Jul 22, 2016 at 1:19pm PDT
Have you stayed in touch with many of your fellow Degrassi alumni?
“I think it’s kind of mixed. It’s like your high school friends where you went through a lot together and, of course, we all still hold those memories dear. When we see each other, like when we did the reunion episode, it was really awesome to get to see everybody. We can act, but everyone’s got in so many different directions. Like, Miriam [McDonald] is now a real estate agent, Christina [Schmidt] is a model now. Everyone’s in their own niche, whatever they’re doing. It was really nice to connect with Christina, Chrissy, again. I hadn’t seen her in probably like 10 years.
“I actually just recently made contact with Ryan [Cooley] again for the first time. I hadn’t talked to him in a long time. I think it’s like you went to school with or elementary school with. Once you make that reconnection, it’s really nice. I don’t actively see anyone, but we certainly catch up from time to time. We’re all super busy doing different things.”
You appeared on an episode of season 2 of Degrassi: Next Class, your original show’s Netflix spin-off. Would you go back to do another reunion episode?
“Yeah, I think it would be really fun. The reunion we had was really fun…Even just from behind the scenes, a lot of the crew is the same. It was really nice just to see everyone after so much time.”
Do you have a favorite Degrassi memory?
“I think, from what I remember, we had the most fun on [the Degrassi: Next Generation] set with [the prom episode]. We had Natasha Bedingfeld sing at it. That was a super fun episode. Very rarely – even though all of our character lived within the same universe – very rarely did we overlap days. With the two age groups, we would often separate shooting at separate times. I mainly saw the [people in the younger group]…All of us were on set together and it was a late night and really fun.
“I actually just got an Instagram message just moments before I talked to you from a girl who has watched one of the episodes about when I give my child up for adoption and she was saying that from watching that – she’s adopted – she realized that’s it’s actually probably hard for her parents to give her up and that spurred her to want to go meet her birth parents. So, she wanted to thank me for portraying that because she’s never thought of that side before. Stuff like that is kind of cool. [The show] is still influencing real people’s lives.”
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