When you meet Isabelle Rezazadeh, you’d expect her to be this aloof talent shrouded in darkness like her music under the REZZ moniker suggests.
You could not be any more wrong.
After watching the young Canadian spin a galvanizing mix of mostly her own music for an hour at Avalon Hollywood this past Saturday for the Ship2Ship tour, I thought the same.
I watched a veritable sea of people on the dance floor (already three times the crowd a normal opener at that same time would have) surrender to her eerie, hard-hitting tracks.
Many fans in the crowd had homemade REZZ shirts and perler art pieces of her cartoon likeness, moving their bodies in the most peculiar way to her music.
Her mix was strikingly incongruous with the rest of the night’s more house-oriented sets from Justin Martin and Destructo, but that’s what made it even more special: REZZ doesn’t sound like anybody else.
After her set I went to meet her and discovered that she wasn’t the distant enigma I imagined her to be.
Instead the short, dark-haired 20-year-old was very nice, candid about how stunned she is about her status as one of the scene’s biggest new names and very excited about all the cool things heading her way – after working on music for a little over two years and garnering loads of praise along the way, from EDM fans and established EDM artists alike.
Listen to REZZ’s The Silence Is Deafening EP
She is already releasing music on deadmau5’ mau5trap imprint and has appearances at Red Rocks in Colorado, the second voyage of Holy Ship! (hence her involvement on this tour) and Mysteryland in New York already announced, with many more events to be announced soon.
“She’s got a long career ahead of her,” Gary Richards, otherwise known as Destructo, told me about REZZ, “and she’s been a great addition to the tour and for her to come on Holy Ship! in [February], it’s going to be cool to show her what that’s all about.”
We got to chat for a little bit about her music, touring and her influences. So sit back, relax, and enjoy our interview with REZZ.
Monsters and Critics: The Ship2Ship tour is one of your first major tours and every show has sold out, how are you feeling about it?
REZZ: Amazing, for sure, it’s been super fun and just crazy to be in all of these different cities that I’ve never been to, yet people in the crowd know me. It’s just weird to wrap my head around, but amazing.
M&C: You played HARD Day of the Dead last year but tonight is your first venue show here in Los Angeles?
R: Yes, it is my first venue show! I played HARD, like you said, but this is my first venue show here. I love this venue, it’s amazing. People didn’t even put enough hype on it. I think it is so awesome, one of my favorite venues I’ve ever played at.
M&C: What is it like touring with Gary [Destructo]? Because you have said in the past seeing deadmau5 at HARD Day of the Dead 2013 was the catalyst for you to get into production.
R: Yeah definitely! Everything is just weird, not even just touring with Gary but everything. Having a release on deadmau5’s label, just all these different things happening, it’s all equally baffling.
You know what I mean? I’m just at a point where you think things can’t get better but they just keep getting better, that’s what Justin [Martin] told me when I was hanging out with him on the tour.
He was like ‘just when you think things can’t get better, they always do’. They do just keep getting better just as long as you keep working hard, it shows!
M&C: You’ll be playing Holy Ship!, which will be your first cruise performance, how do you feel about that?
R: Amazing! That was one of my dream places to actually go, just as an attendee, maybe two years ago watching videos of Holy Ship! on YouTube, thinking I would love to be there and just to go there.
When I found out I was booked for Holy Ship! I was like ‘alright, there we go! What next?’ So I’m just super excited.
M&C: You’ve had a meteoric rise in the past year, weren’t your first shows those random underground shows in Toronto?
R: Yeah, random, very random, this is even before I started producing music. I didn’t have music at the time. I was just playing other people’s songs, just really doing it for fun.
I still totally just do it for fun, but obviously a career just happened out of it. I had no intention to become some touring, international type DJ.
I never thought [I would be]. That was never my intention, but once I started producing that’s when it became my intention, cause then I realized there’s no going back now I’m obsessed with this. You know what I mean?
M&C: Your sound is very unique. How do you get that low, guttural bass line?
R: [laughs] There are different ways, like it happens when I use a bunch of different plug-ins and bunch of different things but it happens a different way every time. In the end it’s just that my vision is so clear so it comes really natural for me.
M&C: You seem, at least from what I understand, like a friendly person and this music acts as a dark opposite to the person you are.
R: I kind of have to think that the dark side of me just comes out musically and other people have different ways of exposing their bad sides, their bad, or dark, or whatever sides.
That’s just my way of doing it for the most part. I’ve always been attracted to dark things, like vampires, just darkness and things. I thought it was cool, that’s it.
My brother used to live with us when I was younger and he lived in the basement and his basement was very weird, edgy and dark and had a bunch of cool action figures in it that were creepy, and it’s kind of weird how that’s all somehow, subconsciously inspired my music today. It’s all kind of been in the background but all coming forward now in what I do.
M&C: Lost, your collaboration with Delaney Jane is both anthemic with her vocals and ominous in your subdued beat. Do you see more collaborations like this in the future?
R: Yeah, if I’m going to be making more vocal tracks, which I will be obviously, I would want to be heading in that kind of direction with it, I’m super happy with the song Lost.
I think it’s really cool and very unique and just strange. And I’m definitely like that’s the kind of music I want to be collaborating with vocalists on. More chill but still having my sound with it.
Those kind of songs I like to close my sets with or even just mid-set just drop a song like that to really mess up a crowd in a way that they’re all just swaying back and forth slowly, just staring at me, just like messed you know. I like that. I think it’s cool.
M&C: Speaking of people tripping out, you’re playing at Mysteryland, which is held on the very same grounds as Woodstock. How does it feel to play such hallowed ground?
R: To be honest it’s all just crazy, like Mysteryland and just a bunch of other festivals I’m booked for that I can’t announce here. But it’s just crazy!
Honestly, it leaves me speechless every single time my management messages me through email and says ‘oh, you’ve got this festival confirmed and you got this show confirmed’.
It’s like I feel like not that many people have gotten the opportunity to do so, not so early in their career and I just feel so lucky. That’s all I can say, I just feel so lucky but at the same time I’ve worked so hard, so it’s amazing.
M&C: It seems this past year you had a lot of momentum and releasing such an incredible EP this early on this year it seems to go beyond luck. You’ve proven yourself to be a burgeoning talent.
R: Yeah I always say that there are only so many times you can get lucky. I think if you work so hard, kind of just weighing out all the odds, you’re making it unavoidable to succeed if you’re just working as hard as I do.
M&C: Living in a place like Niagara Falls I can imagine there isn’t much to do during the winter, so you probably stayed in and worked on music?
R: Yeah, definitely, that’s exactly how it’s been for the last two years, just me producing, pretty much not leaving the house for a split second. Just me, in my room, 24/7, working on music.
I had no friends pretty much the last year and a half. I have a couple of friends now, like pretty much like two [laughs] but I mean obviously I have a ton of acquaintances from a lot of people that I talk to, but there was a moment where I wasn’t talking to anybody at all, and after starting to play more shows and stuff it just took me a minute to step out of my comfort zone.
You could even see it on stage, I’d be kind of standing there. It’s not even that, me naturally as a person is super-talkative but being in my room for a year and half, not talking to anybody, it’s kind of crazy the toll it took on me and I realized when I was thrown back out to the social circles, you know.
Like me on stage – it took me a bit to get back to being comfortable, and still I’m getting more and more comfortable. Gary and I were talking about it and we’re like ‘let’s see what happens near the end of this tour compared to the beginning of this tour’, like my first show on the tour compared to the last.
He wanted me to be super comfortable on stage to the point that people would never imagine me uncomfortable on stage, that’s how I want to be.
It just takes time, the more shows you play the more comfortable you’re going to get. It’s not like I’m going to be jumping around like crazy on stage because my music doesn’t really attract that kind of energy in the first place, like jumping up and down it’s more like grooving and really vibe-ing out, you know.
I feel the more comfortable I get the more weird, the more I’m going to vibe with my own sound. It’s going to be very noticeable and people are going to like that I think.
M&C: Who are some of your older influences? I hear a lot of EBM (Electronic Body Music) and industrial in your sound?
R: People say that and they will question that but my response is the same every time: I’m not inspired by older music, I’m not inspired by anything aside from what I’ve named, which is deadmau5 and pretty much deadmau5.
Because honestly if it weren’t for him I wouldn’t be producing the music I do and after being inspired by him I’ve been creating this sound and I know it doesn’t sound like him but the point is I started creating what I do because I was inspired by him.
And as I was creating it people started comparing me to all of these names that I didn’t even know existed. I was like ‘oh! I do kind of sound like that person!’.
But I wasn’t inspired by that person initially and now I’m inspired by that person because now it’s like ‘oh that’s really cool, I am inspired that person now’ but originally, no, it really doesn’t go back into the past too much.
I wouldn’t say it’s too recent because I’ve liked dance music for a long time, but deadmau5 is the main person. It’s what I say in every interview, it’s weird but it’s true, it really is.
He is, just, everything about his sound and seeing him live is what inspired everything for me.
M&C: And the Gesaffelstein comparisons came on online message boards after the fact?
R: Yeah! And that came out after I was creating this kind of sound, people were saying ‘you sound like this guy’. I was like ‘who is he?’
Then I found him and I was like ‘oh my – this is amazing’. I totally fell in love with his sound then I created a couple songs inspired by him after that but not initially.
M&C: Your sound reminds me of the halcyon days of underground raves. There’s a certain danger to your sound that I think has created a bridge between younger dance fans and seasoned ravers. What do you think about that?
R: I think it’s cool. I feel a little bad that a lot of the younger people can’t get into the shows sometimes obviously because in the States clubs being 21 plus sometimes.
But I love that I attract a younger crowd. I know that there are some people that think that’s not cool or whatever but I think it’s the coolest thing because I’ll never forget when I was 16 going to shows.
Like going to a Skrillex concert, I was so passionate about the music, still am obviously, but I’m just saying don’t underestimate the passion that these kids have for the music, like they’re so obsessive, they know all your songs.
I love it, I love the young crowd, you know, I love the whole crowd but I love the young ones too. I think that’s cool, I love all ages shows, I wish all of my show could be all ages.
M&C: You have stated on your social media that you want your music to be free until it can’t be, why is that?
R: I just want my music to be heard, period. If you’re in the music industry you’ll know what most people know – that you won’t make that much money in selling records anyways, you know what I’m saying?
I would rather give it away for free and just get a bunch of people listening to my music. I don’t really care, you know, it’s just not that much of a difference I feel with regards to selling songs.
But yeah, I will always have music released for free. Obviously, there’s going to be some songs released on labels, this and that, EPs and stuff but there will always be those random, free songs and random free remixes I release and that’s just going to be the end of that.
I mean that’s something I miss in a way, at the same time not really because I like being managed now and I like that I have a manager, like a few managers, and they help me plan my releases now.
But that’s opposed to me before, where I would make a song and released it the next day.
Literally, I would finish a song at five in the morning, wake up early the next day just to release it. ‘Here you guys go!’ Barely had a following but I loved releasing music. Like it was a high, you know, to get a reaction, get feedback on music.
So, a part of me misses that, like if I were to finish a song right now I wouldn’t be able to release it tomorrow but I like that at the same time because having a distance between my releases makes me feel more calm when I’m working on music, because it makes me feel less rushed.
M&C: Pressure affects your creativity.
R: Exactly, yeah, I would say so in a way, in some ways it definitely does. It’s not even that it hinders my creativity it just makes me stressed. It’s not that stress will ruin that particularly, but I hate stress period.
M&C: You do have a lot of songs on your Soundcloud. Do you ever go back and listen to some of the earlier songs?
R: You know what, I, personally, am very critical of it now so I’m happy I made those songs. I would play some of them in my sets still sometimes, like one song called Contorted.
That’s so old but I’ll still drop it in my sets sometimes just because the way that synth just rises is such a memorable thing in a club setting.
Whether people like the song or not, it’s one where people are like ‘whoa! remember when that one song went like whoooooshhh?’
It’s such an old song and the production was horrible but the idea was cool. So like my past songs, I think the ideas are pretty cool but the production is just lacking, you know. But I’m still happy I made all of those songs. I just kept learning.
M&C: How does it feel that people are already attributing a signature to your sound?
R: It’s honestly amazing because that’s so important to me. I don’t try to tell people to try and be unique because when I work on music I don’t try and be unique, I just be myself. That’s just what happens. But yeah, that’s that. That’s all I can say in that situation…[laughs]
M&C: You just released The Silence Is Deafening. There’s no other releases announced as of yet, but what are some plans for you the next couple of months?
R: Like you said, the EP just got released so we’re going to continue to push that for a while, but expect to hear more remixes from me this year and obviously, as usual, originals.
I have more [laughs] stuff like that, and expect more collaborations. I’m going to try and step out of my comfort zone this year and collaborate with people, like face to face in the studio cause I’ve never done it.
I always worked by myself, never gotten help or anything just me. And I feel like collaborating with people is going to expand my mind more and just help me out.
I think it’ll be cool. I don’t know who I want to collaborate with, really, I mean obviously I have some ideas but yeah we’ll just see what happens. I think a lot of the collaborations end up being pretty random and they’ll end up working.
I want to collaborate with more vocalists. I feel the way to evolve sounds after time and years that go by is to work with vocalists, cause you’re not only making your fan base happy but also attracting their fan bases too.
M&C: To wrap things up here, where in the world would you love to play? Without revealing unannounced performances explicitly.
R: Okay, well let’s just put it this way, I am going to be playing some of the ones I’m about to name but I am also not going to be playing some of the ones I’m about to name, okay?
Some festivals I dream about playing would be, well, Red Rocks which I am playing at, which has been announced [she’s playing Zeds Dead’s annual Dead Rocks show there], and then Shambhala, Coachella, EDC and Electric Forest.
Holy Ship! was a dream of mine so I can cross that off the list.