I came out of this interview with Isabelle Rezazadeh, pka REZZ, feeling super inspired. She talks really fast. And a lot. And everything she says seems like it’s in all caps. It’s not that she’s screaming, there’s just a drive and energy behind her that’s unique and contagious. Part of this probably has to do with the fact that she’s starting to get booked at massive global events like Holy Ship! and TomorrowWorld, but for the most part, I think she’s just really stoked to be doing what she loves: making music. This week we’re excited to be releasing the Canadian up and comer’s dark and twisted debut EP, Insurrection, through NEST. Check our chat with REZZ below.
What did you end up doing today?
I just worked on music as usual. Daily routine.
You work on music every day?
Yeah, every single day, for sure. Sometimes I get writer’s block but I like to keep working until the block is beaten, and then that’s when I go outside or go hang out with people. I want to make as much music as I can before I start touring. I love DJing, but I’m so much more passionate about actually making the music than everything else that comes with it.
How long have you been interested in making your own stuff?
I was DJing since I was 16 or so. It just lost its novelty after playing out other people’s stuff for so long, right? So I took a huge break. I ended up going to HARD Day of the Dead and that was the festival that really solidified my passion and love for underground music. Deadmau5 headlined and he played, obviously a very Deadmau5-y set, but at the same time he included underground tunes, and I was like, “What is this song, this is so sick. I’d love to try and make this.”
When I got back, I was like, “OK, I’m bored at my house, I have nothing to do, I’m gonna crack open Abelton and see what I can make.” I wasn’t really feelin’ it too much. Then I watched a Deadmau5 livestream where he was producing and that was the major push for me. I dove into it, not paying attention to the technicalities or any rules by any means. I was just doing whatever I thought sounded cool. From that moment until now, all I’ve done is continue learning and making tracks.
Are you starting to feel more pressure as you start to get booked at places like Holy Ship and hit up by bigger labels?
It doesn’t seem real. I’m starting to get booked for events I dreamed of going to, just as an attendee. It’s taken me a bit to get used to the fact that this is actually my career now and not just a hobby. The thing I’m really hyped about is the sound I’m making. When you’re making unique and weird stuff, it doesn’t really matter when you release it because you’re not following a trend. I idolize people like Gesa, Deadmau5 and Bassnectar because these dudes can make a tune and feel no obligation to get it out immediately. Whatever they make isn’t going to lose its novelty.
What kind of influences or experiences are you drawing from when you make music?
I love music that has a rhythm that’s easy to bob your head to. The music I make may be perceived as emotionless, but I connect with these rhythms on a very deep level. I want to eventually become a master of making the most out of the least elements. I’ve been to so many shows in my life, and occasionally the DJ will drop a tune that makes the whole crowd go, “Woah… what’s this!?” That’s the kind of reaction I want when I’m on stage — where people are almost in a hypnotized state; completely locked into the beat.
How was it meeting Sonny?
That was one of the craziest moments of my life. Although Skrillex as a producer isn’t my particular influence musically, he was one of the first concerts I ever went to in regards to that kind of music. I ended up going to Full Flex in Toronto. My manager introduced us, and Sonny was all like, “Oh WHAT!” I don’t think he fully knew what I looked like. I gave him a hug and it was so surreal. I was like, “I’m getting an EP on your label, NEST,” and he was like, “Yeah, I heard it. It’s really dope, I love it!” At this moment my face was probably like a fricken tomato. Then he brought me outside and introduced me to everybody, “Hey, this is Rezz,” and I was like, “Oh my fucking god.” I told him I’d been listening to his music and going to his shows since I was 16 and he gave me a big double hi five. He’s so chill. It was such a relief to meet someone who I perceived to be such a nice, humble person, and it turns out they actually are.
And other artists have been hitting you up as well?
Yes, it’s crazy to be honest. I think there are so many different artists who could potentially relate to my sound. I’ve been in contact with Flux Pavillion and Excision, who make really heavy dubstep, but they can appreciate some of my heavier works. Some of my tracks are almost like movie scores, and Mat Zo, who was one of the first people to reach out, likes that aspect of my production.
How do your parents feel about what you’re doing right now?
When I first started, I just said, “I’m gonna be doing this for… ever by the way,” (laughs) and they were kinda just so sketched out. My mom was more chill about it. She’s like, “Oh, yay! My daughter gets to live with me forever!” (laughs)
I don’t think a lot of people understood what I was doing, but I said, “I’m not gonna listen to what anyone says, I don’t care if it looks like I’m some dirty sketch bag who doesn’t leave the house because I’m constantly on my computer.” I didn’t care what it looked like because music was just making me so happy.
People would say things like, “That ship has sailed. You’re never gonna make it in that industry now.” When things are rising or at a peak, people are always quick to say they’re ending, but you can’t say dance music is anywhere near coming to an end. There was no way I was going to pass up this passion for for a more comfortable route.
People would ask, “What’s your plan B, what are you gonna do if it doesn’t work out?” That sort of mindset is literally contaminating. What they don’t understand is that if you have a plan B, you’re obviously not fully focused on your plan A.
Do you have any advice for people just getting into production?
I’ve probably watched over 500 youtube tutorials. I mean like watching and learning. I have a notebook around here somewhere. Every single page is production notes. [She pulls out the notebook] This is so crazy, I haven’t looked at this in forever. I was also studying Psychology, so I have notes on that too. I would even suggest other producers to study psychology. Studying this made it a lot easier for me to overcome obstacles and stay focused on my vision.
Also, wait to compare yourself to other producers. When you first start out your production quality is gonna sound like garbage. Start doing that more when you have a grasp on production and have been watching tutorials. I love comparing my stuff, quality wise, to Gesaffelstein because I’m like, “Fuck, I still have such a long way to go,” but it’s still really good to hear where different sounds sit in their mixes. How quiet the kick is compared to the synth.
It’s also so important to be persistent. It’s like going to the gym. You can’t go once a month, you have to go every day or you’re not gonna see results. Same with production. That’s why when I start touring I gotta make sure I’m getting into people’s studios; when I’m chilling in airports, I’m on my laptop studying sound design. It’s important to have that drive to be learning new things all the time. That’s what keeps me going.
REZZ’s Insurrection EP is out now on NEST.