Stephan Tavares, also known as DJ 4Rain, is a French electronic and hip hop producer. In 2015, he headed to Miami, FL, and met with JLV who then introduced him to Tory Lanez. Tavares is from the small island of Cape Verde which is off the coast of West Africa. This island has tons of culture and music is a huge part of everyday life.
Cullen Bunker: First off, I’d love to hear the backstory on your stage name: Dj 4Rain!
DJ 4Rain: Okay, so when I started mixing my stage name was DJ Stef and I was okay with [that] but when I came to Miami and I started looking at my career from a different angle, JLV who’s managing my career with Jeffrey Jackson told me that I should have a different name. Something catchy, not an everyday name. And this is when Jeff came up with the name Foreign (because he always called me Foreign). So we all agreed and we just played with the word and came up with 4rain.
Now that we have that out of way, I heard you have worked with Tory Lanez’s sound engineer on multiple projects. How was that?
Yes, I was very lucky to be part of those projects. I was spending a lot of time at David Camp Studio where everything was recorded, mixing and mastering the songs. I remember when we had the listening session to select what song will make it to the album, this was so hard because all of the tracks were hot. Tory Lanez is incredibly talented.
How has COVID-19 affected your hometown and how have you stayed busy during the lockdown?
Well, like I guess most part of the world, my city was affected pretty bad, I have a place in Miami and a place in Cannes (France) and when the government decided to shut down everything I just did like everyone else. I stayed home, at first it was hard to stay in without being able to go out, yeah because France was very very strict nobody allowed outside without a valid authorization but I was able to keep myself busy creating new tracks, I was in touch with some artists and we worked together on different songs. It was like traveling online, one day I was in Colombia with Farina, the next day I was in Nigeria with Niniola and Wiz Kid, after that I would be in London with Emeli Sande. I mean I was very busy even if I was not able to tour.
I’ve noticed you bounce around between genres with your producing, do you have a favorite genre?
My favorite genre is definitely EDM. I love creating electronic music but I like making other genres of music [as well]. So for me going from hip hop to pop, African rhythm reggaeton is not an issue, when you love music the genre doesn’t really matter. I could be listening to classical music from Ludovico Einaudi an entire day and his music has nothing to do with what I do but I love it.
Do you have a moment that really sticks out to you that led to your love of producing?
I have always been into music since my youth but what changed my whole life was when I went to Miami for the first time in 2012, I spent time there with JLV who made me look at music from a completely different angle and far from what I was used to. I was young and a little bit arrogant, cocky, but he made me realize a lot of different things and it’s been an adventure. [It] was very hard at certain points but we never gave up since and then I never stopped.
How did your childhood inspire your love for music?
My parents are from a small island named Cape Verde Island and music is a big part of the culture. My dad plays guitar, my brothers and sister always played music. I was exposed to a lot of different genres of music, sometimes we had African music, Portuguese, French, English; so of course through the years I gravitated towards hip hop and that led me to what I love which is EDM.
The music video for “Whatever” is awesome! How was your experience being a part of this production?
Thank you, it’s always nice to hear someone complimenting your work. The production team put this up in southern France, I really enjoyed being in the natural environment with horses. It was not easy to film because it’s a beautiful area. You can imagine that a lot of people are going there to hike. We had a great time doing it. I want to thank my label, the management team, and of course the production team that worked on that video.
Do you have a favorite place to eat out in your hometown?
I love going to a place called “SNACK D’OR”, they make incredible food from southern France. I recommend anyone who visits to take time and go try this place.
How long have you been working on your newest single, “I Don’t Belong”?
All together I think I worked on it for something like 4 weeks. I was doing other things in between. It took me more time to finish and send it to the label to get it approved.
What inspired you to create this song?
What inspired me is my previous song: “whatever,” especially the video because I love nature. As we were filming that day I was just amazed by the beauty of what I was looking at. That moment there made me realize that most of us are taking our world for granted. We not protecting our planet the way we should. So, to me, “I don’t belong ” is a message to us. I am just trying to bring awareness to this because we’re so caught up in our own world that we tend to forget certain things that are important for us and the future generation.
How has signing with Sony Music advanced your career?
Sony Music allowed me to be exposed to a larger audience. I’m very grateful for that because I know how hard it can be to get proper distribution and get the marketing that goes with it.
If you could headline any festival, which one would it be and why?
I will always be grateful to headline for any music festival but if I had to pick one it would be ULTRA because it’s amazing, the fans are incredible, and the organization is fantastic. I mean this is like you ask a basketball player to play the NBA final, you can’t give him better than that. Well, for a Dj it’s the same thing. I would like to headline TOMORROWLAND, I think it’s at the same level. So yes, the two for me are the ones I just mentioned.
What is your favorite live show or festival you have attended?
Okay, so to me the live show I will never forget is the Jay-Z/Beyonce concert in Paris few years back. That show was insane and that will stay in my mind for long time. And music festival would be ULTRA Festival in Miami, crazy 3 days listening to the best DJs in the world one after the other. That was dope!
What motivates you the most in your life?
When I start something I like to give my best because I hate losing. I’m very dedicated when I want to accomplish something and I go all the way so the idea of winning its a motivation.
If you could choose one thing for your fans to remember you by, what would it be?
I would love for them to remember me as one of the best producers of my generation.