Twenty-year-old Niagara Falls native Isabelle Rezazadeh, aka REZZ, is quickly making a name for herself thanks to her genre-smashing brand of dark and sinister techno. Despite being self-taught, her edgy and hard-hitting productions have caught the attention of Skrillex's Nest and drawn comparisons to Gesaffelstein and Trent Reznor. On the cusp of a summer that will see her perform at a major festival and release music on one of the biggest labels in dance music, we've managed to steal a few of REZZ's minutes and ask her a few questions.
THUMP: You just performed at Kitchener's Ever After Festival and are slated to play at Toronto's Digital Dreams festival. What was the experience like at Ever After? How is a performance like this different from a regular club performance?
REZZ: It was certainly an interesting experience to have played to such a large, diverse crowd. Despite the fact that I knew the crowd would be more into the more mainstream EDM, I didn't compromise the music I feel most comfortable playing and, fortunately, I got a better response than I anticipated! I enjoy playing in clubs more because of the intimacy, but I'm so excited to play at other festivals in the future.
What are some essentials that you have to have during every performance?
REZZ: I like to have some Stella beer while on stage, however, I definitely plan to cut out alcohol for future shows because I believe that it will hold me back from my full potential. Typically I don't have much of an appetite prior to performing because I'm usually quite anxious/nervous. In the future, however, I'd love shrimp and even sushi prior.
You've recently been called "Gesaffelstein long-lost sister." What do you say about the comparison? Is he an inspiration to you?
REZZ: I think that comparison is epically brilliant and something I can't fully wrap my head around! He's one of my biggest inspirations of all time.
How did you first get into producing?
REZZ: There were a lot of defining moments, but I think after going to many festivals and loving dance music so much, the main moment was after watching a Deadmau5 live stream. I immediately jumped onto Ableton—my friend had helped me download it a month prior due to curiosity—and I haven't looked back since.
Speaking of Deadmau5, you have an upcoming release on mau5trap this month. How did this come about, and what is it like working alongside one of your inspirations?
REZZ: This producer on mau5trap named ATTLAS found me and sent my stuff over to the mau5trap label manager who became interested in my sound. At the time, my tunes weren't appropriate enough for mau5trap, but we kept in touch via Twitter and email. A month or so later, I sent him over a tune, he loved it, and then BOOM! It's pretty awesome that I've managed to get on that label because even just a year ago I would have laughed if you'd told me so.
Did mau5trap give you any tips/tweaks for your production? What kind of song is it?
REZZ: mau5trap said they barely had to tweak anything on the master, which was one of the greatest compliments I've ever received considering I'm passionate about the creative and technical aspect of production. It's a weird tune, experimental I suppose, yet it has a very hard-hitting drive and impact.
As a female in a male-dominated industry, have you been treated differently or encountered sexism? What can you tell other upcoming or would-be female producer/DJs?
REZZ: It's still early, however I've already noticed how woman are treated differently. I've noticed that people are quicker to judge me for all of the little things I say and do. It's easier for people to point out faults and come to conclusions based on petty things. I would tell other women the same thing I would tell anyone: stay focused on your vision and don't let anyone or anything sway you from living your dream.
Do you have any upcoming EPs in the works?
REZZ: I have an EP done and ready to go, label TBA!
Catch REZZ at Toronto's Digital Dreams Festival on June 28th.