Niagara Falls native Isabelle Rezazadeh, aka Rezz, has made a name for herself with her dark, hard-hitting techno beats. In just a short period of time, Rezz has released records on Skrillex’s OWSLA, signed with Deadmau5’s label Mau5trap, and has made her appearance on festival stages such as Hard Day of the Dead and TomorrowWorld. With original dark bassy tracks like “Plague” and “Lucifer” under her belt, along with the recent release of her the Silence is Deafening EP, she has intrigued thousands of fans with her weird psychedelic sound. We caught up with Rezz the night before setting sail on Holy Ship!
SR: So obviously my first questions is: how does it feel to be playing Holy Ship!?
Rezz: CRAZY! A couple of years ago before I even started producing, I remember posting a YouTube video of a Holy Ship! after movie on social media and said to my friends “could you even imagine going to that show!?” I use to go to raves all the time. 'Raves'...'events'... whatever you want to call them. I was all about that. Holy Ship! was one of my dream festivals I really wanted to go to as an attendee. I was such a party girl. I mean to be playing it now...it's just so crazy! I don't even know what to say. But it's just as crazy as everything else that has been going on with my career. Like what is the difference between playing Holy Ship! and getting booked for TomorrowWorld or any of the other festivals I'm playing for? Ya Know? It's all equally crazy. Once you start playing festivals, every festival is almost equally...messed up that you're even playing there.
SR: The whole playing for festivals is just mind blowing, I’m sure!
Rezz: Holy Ship! to me right now is just another show, however, I have a feeling it's going to shock me! I was just with the girls [Anna Lunoe, Mija, and/or Nina Las Vegas most likely] upstairs and they said they've been last year and the year before and said that it's different than most festivals. Maybe I will be blown away, I don't know what to expect!
SR: Have you been on a cruise before?
SR: So no random boat vacation, nothing?
Rezz: No. I REALLY don’t know what to expect. I'm not nervous or anything, I'm just going to go with it. I like that I don't know what to expect from this. That's how I've been going into most of these festivals. A lot of these festivals that I have no knowledge on...I don't even like to search it up on the Internet because I would rather just see for myself. Like Mysteryland for example, which is in New York, I don't know what the grounds look like. I could search it up, but I don't want to. I'm just going to let everything to be a surprise.
SR: The Mysteryland grounds are soooooo pretty! I love Mysteryland, it’s my favorite festival!
SR: Yeah I’ve gone the past two years and definitely plan on going again this year! You’re going to love it!
Rezz: People are saying the same thing to me about CRSSD Fest in San Diego. Same thing though, not going to search it up. I did search Holy Ship! though because that was before I was even producing music. It’s kind of blurry so I don’t know what to fully expect from Holy Ship! I still can’t believe it.
SR: You’ve waited so long for Holy Ship! and now it’s finally here.
Rezz: I got booked for Holy Ship! sooooo long again.
SR: Maybe about a year ago?
Rezz: Yeah it really has been about a year! And keep in mind, when they booked me for Holy Ship!, that was before I even toured. So you can only imagine how I felt when I first got booked. I’ve been touring a lot lately and it’s becoming more of my lifestyle now so it’s still really crazy. When I first found out they wanted to book me, I didn’t believe it. That’s been my reaction to all of this so far.
SR: What about when record labels contacted you?
Rezz: When Mau5trap contacted me, I was thinking "this is fake, there is no way this is true." You know what I mean? I figured it was some fake dude on the Internet that messaged me and faked they were Mau5trap. Surely enough, everything that has been happening has been real. It’s been really crazy!
SR: If you had to pick between intimate sets with no festivals or festivals all the time with no intimate sets, which would you choose?
Rezz: I think my perspective is going to be shifting as I keep going. I remember a while back my answer was intimate clubs, but I think at the moment I’m going to say festivals. I just finished touring the Gary (Destructo) and Justin Martin which was all intimate clubs. Don’t get me wrong, it was amazing and I had such a blast, but I learned that sometimes being too intimate with the crowd is something that I don’t always feel too comfortable with. Gary loves when people are on stage with him, touching him, and all around him. I use to be so social, and I still am, but a different kind of social. I’m a lot more laid back now and sometimes a lot of attention can trip me out. I can get weirded out sometimes. I love everyone that supports me, but sometimes when I’m performing people get a little too aggressive with me. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a girl, but they can get kind of aggressive.
SR: Is there a moment that really sticks out?
Rezz: I remember I was walking through the crowd once at one of the shows during the Ship2Ship Tour and people were pulling on my sweater trying to get me to take a picture with them. They were just yelling at me but I had to go. The car that was taking me to my hotel was already waiting for me and since people were pulling at me, I had to be pulled the opposite direction out of the venue by security.
SR: That’s a little aggressive and scary too. I don't like when people pull on me.
Rezz: Sometimes people are a little but too much. I know that happens to a lot of the women in the industry as well. People get eager to meet anyone in the industry, guys or girls, but I feel like with women, some guys will just get a little overworked.
SR: They just really are intrigued and try to pull you in for attention.
Rezz: Exactly. I’ve definitely noticed that for sure. I’ve heard similar things have happened to a lot of girls in the industry. I know Mija and Anna Lunoe are familiar with that kind of stuff. Some of the guys just have no boundaries. This is why I would like to play more festivals. I'm playing a lot of festivals this year. I’m saying this now in the early stage of my career, but I can only imagine what it will be like in 5 or 6 years. I feel like eventually I’ll only want to do the really big shows. But you never know! I’m curious what my answer will be in a few years because I don’t know what is going to happen. Some people really love the attention, you know? The people that are hardcore producers that are so locked in on their music and just constantly work on music are the ones that sometimes become a little introverted and standoffish because they're so used to just chilling and working on music.
SR: Describe the perfect set.
Rezz: To answer that, I think about what my favorite shows have been so far because that would be the perfect setting. One of my favorite shows so far was Hard Day of the Dead. The reason I say that is because the visuals. I have new visuals now, but for that specific set there was a visual guy that was choosing all of our visuals. It wasn’t my stuff, but he was nailing it with the staticky screens and bright green color. I think the color green works for my music because it’s an evil type of green. The visual guy also had some weird silhouettes of a weird girl doing some weird stuff. Also for that set, the sound was so good. I would say my favorite ever would be performing at a venue like that.
SR: Was there anything you didn’t like?
Rezz: With something like Hard Day of the Dead, you're a little bit disconnected from the crowd because they're further away. But that show has been my favorite that I’ve played at so far. Everything about that set was perfect and immediately when I got off stage I knew that it was my favorite set so far. The crowd was so big and I had one of those moments where I said to myself: “I think I made it.” I went to Hard Day of the Dead as an attendee in 2013 before I even touched music production. When I was in the crowd, I loved every second of it. I loved seeing Deadmau5 and Skrillex perform and I just remember being in the crowd so vividly. I’m not going to give all the credit to that festival for inspiring to make music, but a week or two after Hard Day of the Dead is when I went straight to my computer and started making music. It was one of the big pushes for me to get motivated. There was obviously a lot of other defining moments that made me want to produce music, but definitely after 2013 HARD sticks out big time.
SR: What were you thinking when you got home after HARD?
Rezz: I just spent a bunch of money going on a little vacation to LA, what am I doing now? I was barely getting shifts at Hard Rock Cafe. My parents weren't really questioning me that much. They were just kind of like "whatever, she can do what she wants as long as she has a job." I just dove right in that day. I eventually stop working at Hard Rock Cafe and I had no job. That's when my parents started to get worried because I was in my room 24/7 and they thought I wasn't doing anything productive. Basically I was like "you guys don't even know!" There were some moments where my parents thought I had mental issues because I was in my room for so long and wasn't hanging out with anybody. Meanwhile, the plot twist was: I was having the best time of my life in the basement at my parent’s house. Still to this day, I look back on that time when I had no friends because all I was doing was staying in my room. It was the best time of my life. Here's the thing: I knew I found my passion. I didn't need anybody to tell me otherwise. I knew I found it. It's not even that I was getting results, I was just making music. I wasn't even touring and there was no money involved. I knew I found what I loved! Knowing I found my passion made me SO happy and I just didn't need anybody to tell me anything anymore. I was so happy all of the time. Even the people that were concerned or shit talk me, I wasn't even phased because I was just so genuinely happy that I found my passion.
SR: A lot of people can definitely see that you put a lot of effort into making music and you look so happy doing it!
Rezz: I'm obsessed! I am literally obsessed. You can probably tell because I play a lot of my own music live. You know you genuinely love your music and what you create when you are playing full sets of your own stuff. Not that many people do that.
SR: That is very true. Deadmau5 does it too.
Rezz: Deadmau5 does it and my favorite producers in the world are the ones that play their own music. Eric Prydz, Deadmau5, and Gesaffelstein. I'm not sure if Gesaffelstein does it so much anymore or if he mixes it up, but I've seen him live and he performed a lot of his own music. Bassnectar and Pretty Lights will play a lot of their own music. I love artists like that and it's the reason I got inspired to produce. I love specific artists for specific reasons. They've inspired me so much and have created their own vibe. You go to see their sets and you know you're going to hear THEIR music and THEIR unreleased music. Oh, and I love Porter Robinson too.
SR: Speaking of Deadmau5, the last time I saw him was a few years ago on New Year's Eve in New York. My friends and I kept saying "there are a lot of DJs are playing in New York for New Year's Eve, but we know that Deadmau5 will only play his music and we won't hear songs by other DJs."
Rezz: Every DJ definitely serves his/her own purpose. There are DJs in the world that will DJ, for example on Holy Ship!, a whole mix of stuff which is freaking cool and it works for them. There's nothing wrong with doing that, it's just a preference. If I go to a show, I prefer to see the artists that I just named. Those are the ones I definitely am going to see and can't miss. There's no way I would go see some other DJ that doesn't have a defining sound because it wouldn't inspire me. That's just me though and that is how I've always been. As soon as I got into it, I've always respected the people that were playing the music that they were producing. But everybody has their own thing.
SR: What is your most embarrassing moment at a show?
Rezz: Oh my god… I've had a few really embarrassing moments. A lot of them have to do with technical difficulties, that's it. I use bring my laptop on stage with me and I can't even explain to you how many technical difficulties I had in the past with Traktor. There wouldn't be sound coming from the left side...there wouldn't be sound coming from the right side...or something technical like that. Sometimes it would be smooth, but other times it wouldn't be smooth. With Traktor, there was always some sort of issue like the cable was loose or the cable was broken. There was just so many complications and so many plugs you had to plug in for it to work properly. One of the main problems that I've had on stage that really sticks out to me is definitely TomorrowWorld.
SR: Oh wow, really?
Rezz: Yup, big time. At the beginning, it was an absolute trainwreck. A few people noticed, but then I kind of made it work. It was very difficult for me to make it work because my system was completely messed and nothing was the way I usually had it. I was literally just learning as I was onstage. It was really messed up. Now I just use USB sticks. Since I've switched to USB sticks, there has been zero problems. Except there actually was a problem last night, which is kind of funny. But yesterday was a whole different issue.
SR: What happened!?
Rezz: I played in New Orleans and the guys on stage before me had their music shut off on them four times in a row. Dead silence. All of a sudden I'm like "oh hey, what's going on why does their music keeps shutting off?" The promoters and the sound guys were just like "it's because they are using a laptop and there is something wrong with THEIR equipment." So I figured since it was their equipment, when I go on, this won't to happen to me. I'm using USBs so I just plug it in and no problem. The one guy on stage got on the mic and said "hey there is something wrong with the system. This is not our shit, the system is fucked." I go on the stage for my set and pretty much the second song in, everything shuts off. Immediately without even thinking about it, I handled it very well. I just got on the mic and I pointed to those DJs who played before me and said "they aren't joking, there's something wrong here." I didn't mean to embarrass the sound guys or anything, I was just pointing out that there was something wrong and it wasn't my fault. It's very embarrassing when your music shuts off on you. It's just the biggest buzz kill ever and not to mention it happened right at the beginning of my set. That totally killed my vibe and I had to pretend like it didn't throw off my whole set. They ended up switching out the CDJs and I got a new one in there. After that there were no problems. But throughout the entire set I was very on edge. It shut off at such a vivid point and everybody thought that it was a joke, you know? When your music shuts off, people will be screaming and think you did it on purpose until they see your facial expression. I really hope nothing gets more embarrassing than that, holy shit! There's a lot of things that could happen and I've been noticing that lately when I'm on stage because it really sinks in. I'm on stage and tons of people are taking photos and videos so anything can happen. You start questioning yourself!
SR: "Do I look alright? What's my facial expression when I'm concentrating?"
Rezz: My face in some pictures is so embarrassing, but I am over it at this point. It's not even the photos, it's more so the fact that so many things could happen.
SR: You could trip going up the stairs to the stage…
Rezz: Imagine having sweat marks and someone getting a picture of it. A lot of embarrassing things can happen but it literally comes with this job. Gary, Justin, and I were talking about this when we were on tour. It's one of the best jobs in the world and it's one of the most rewarding things ever. It's a great job but it comes with it's downsides. The downsides in this obviously are all the attention you get with people criticizing you. Some people I know, this is legitimately true, come to my shows just to see if I'll fuck up so they can post it on the Internet.
SR: That's fucked up!
Rezz: Yup, it has happened! It happened in Toronto. I'm super well known in Toronto and there are a lot of people that love me and there are a lot of people that hate me. There's this one dude who will just go on the Internet and post the rudest and meanest things about me. Next thing you know, my friend, who is basically a hawk when she looks through the crowd at shows, said he was at my show in the back and was just eyeing me down. Can you believe that?? There are actually people in this world who will take so much time out of their life to talk shit and say all these rude things but will still pay money to see you. It's messed. I truly feel, in most literal way, sorry for them. I feel sorry for him.
SR: Yeah seriously, not cool. He has NOTHING better to do with his time AND he pays to see your set...
Rezz: You know when you're a person like that, you're just messed up in the head. When I was younger, about 12 years old, I was wasting my time doing that when I played online games. Being that young you're immature. We are all young and stupid but these people are 25 years old.
SR: They're grown ass adults.
Rezz: These people are older than me. I was doing that shit when I was 12 years old. That's how I compare all the Internet trolls. They remind me of me when I was 12 years old playing online games. I can't word it any other way except that it's embarrassing to be somebody like that. I see hate all over the Internet and not just about me, about other artists. I've seen it recently and I look to see how other artists deal with it. A lot of them ignore it and I realized that ignoring it is the best way to do it. I see the things that people say, like "you fucking suck," as if because they don't like your music, they take things out on you personally. It's like they think you're a shitty person because they don't like your music. I don't know what it is, but I think they have a lot to learn. The moral of the story is: if you're genuinely happy, you will not waste your time bringing other people down. That's the bottom line. I've always been pretty happy, but there are moments in my life where I've reached peaks of happy. Where I'm so happy that I don't want to bring other people down. Why would you want to bring people down? This is even relatable to the kids that do drugs at events. They are at these events, all messed up and happy, and the last thing they want to do is make fun of people or hurt them. Instead, they want to hug them because they're happy. That's how I feel on a regular basis because I'm genuinely a happy person. So it's easy for me to see when people are clearly lacking that happiness with how they act.
SR: I think it's better that you don't respond I hate because it'll just get deeper and deeper.
Rezz: Trust me, I know. I've been learning that. I want to be someone who never responds to hate and acts like it doesn't even exist. That's how I want to be because when you think you can handle it, someone will say one thing that has you snap. They can push it to the next level and all of a sudden it's not about your music anymore. It could be something like "oh my gosh, why do you even think Rezz is good looking!?" What does that have to do with what my career? Honestly some people are just messed. But honestly, on a very real note, it doesn't happen very often. I've noticed way more love than hate in my career. I've also noticed way more respect. So it's been amazing so far.
SR: Everyone is always going to have haters, that's for sure. You can't avoid it.
Rezz: No matter what.
SR: Earlier we talked about people who fanboy or fangirl over you. Who do you really fangirl over? If someone were to walk in this room right now, who would you freak out over?
Rezz: I would still fangirl over a ton of people. Say you asked me this one year ago, I would've had a couple of names that immediately came to my mind like Deadmau5 and Skrillex. I've met them both and I definitely had a minor heart attack meeting Skrillex, I gotta say. He was a big one for me because, the thing is with Skrillex, it's not just about his talent or his success. It's all about how genuine of a person he is. I was that much more excited to meet him because of that reason. It was no less than anything I expected. It was actually more than I expected! He gave me his full undivided attention when there was a full room of people and he is the nicest, most amazing person ever. So I definitely fangirled over him and I will continue to fangirl over him. It's not really a fangirl thing, it's just I love his vibe so much. Also Deadmau5 in a way, more so for his production and his music because it has inspired me more than anybody. So meeting him was definitely a pretty crazy thing too. I feel like because I met Skrillex first, it numbed down my fangirl levels. Deadmau5 was really really really nice to me. That was awesome and I was definitely super thrilled after. I would definitely fangirl over someone like Gesaffelstein if he walked in.
SR: Have you met him before?
Rezz: No I haven't.
SR: Wasn't he also at Hard Day of the Dead?
Rezz: He was, but guess what…I had to leave after my set because I was underage.
SR: Oh, wow. I didn't know that happened.
Rezz: It happened to me three times on tour as well. Not because I was doing anything wrong, I'm just not 21 yet. That's how it's been happening. It happens sometimes but a lot of the time it doesn't. Obviously I respect that. They pretty much escorted me out right after my set and I had no choice. There is no chance I could've even snuck it by them which is pretty crazy to think. I don't want to say I would fangirl over Gesaffelstein, I would be more intrigued.
SR: So if he walked by, you would just stare at him?
Rezz: Yeah basically. I would stare at him. No matter what I would try to introduce myself. I've heard mixed things about him, but I would still introduce myself.
SR: As you should. I totally think you should go for it!
Rezz: I'm playing a lot of festivals with him this year like CRSSD Fest, Mysteryland, and another one. I know I saw three festivals in my calendar that I'm playing that he will also be playing.
SR: Mysteryland will be easy to meet him I feel like. They have a sweet artist area...you'll see what I mean when you walk in.
Rezz: I think it will be pretty freaking sweet.
SR: I heard you low key would browse the dictionary for fun...
Rezz: Haha I did, but not anymore. But I used to do it big time in high school and in a little after high school too. I still have this app on my phone that's a thesaurus and it's so useful. It gives me the definition of the word I'm looking up, but also gives me synonyms. So I would always do that and I was obsessed with being able to voice my thoughts. Especially back at that time because I was really big into philosophy and psychology. When you're interested in subjects like that, you have to be able to explain yourself well or you're constantly stumbling upon what you're trying to say. That's why I was super into that when I was younger. It was good times. I feel like I was really productive when I was learning that stuff because it was improving my speech in so many ways.
SR: Did you base a lot of your song names off of that?
Rezz: None of my songs have actually been inspired by random dictionary words. It's more like when I make a song, I use the first word that comes to my head or a feeling that I think of. I think of a word that is associated with it and I usually name a song that. I can depends though. It's different every time.
SR: So you're really big and hats. How many hats did you pack for Holy Ship!?
Rezz: I actually packed three. I like very simple hats but I feel like there is one hat that I'm lacking. I want to get a dark green, army colored hat. That's what I need. Or a camouflage hat in general. I need that for sure. I have every other color that I like which is pretty much just black, dark gray, and navy. I want to get a dark green one for sure. I think it would be sweet.
SR: How many would you say that you own right now?
Rezz: Definitely over 10, but I honestly don't even wear them. I only wear a select few, you know?
SR: Do you have a lucky one?
Rezz: Not a lucky one, I just have a favorite and that's the black one. It's so simple and I just think it looks cool. I wear hats for a couple of reasons: I feel like they look awesome, I think I suit them, and comfort. When I'm DJing on stage, no hair is falling on my eyes and that is so important. Before I was wearing hats, I was constantly getting hair in my face. Aside from that, I just love hats. I've been wearing them since I was in grade 9. Then I started wearing them on a daily basis because I realized how comfortable they were.
SR: You're a Nap Girl. What really attracted to you to NapGirls?
Rezz: I honestly like the idea of them bringing women together. It's been cool for me to learn more about the other women in the industry and I thought their branding idea was really cool. The whole napping pose is really catchy and people are going to catch on and question what it is. Even my friends from my city know about NapGirls, which is so messed up because I'm over here like "how do you even know what this is??" I did not expect that. People think it's cool and the branding idea is just really catchy. It's a good way to spread the message.
SR: What does 2016 hold for Rezz?
Rezz: Oh my God. Well I'm hoping a lot of music. A lot of new music. Right now I have a lot, but I want to make way more. I'm never freaking satisfied. Also, a lot of festivals and a lot of shows. There may or may not be a Rezz tour coming out...
SR: I was gunna say, there's something you're hiding with that look that was just on your face!
Rezz: Yeah there may or may not be. My goal in life is to have a headline tour and by the looks of it, it's happening. Basically aside from that, just overall lots of shows and a lot of music. I want to evolve my music and have it go somewhere no one expected it to go, you know? But still have it totally be within my roots. That's pretty much what is going to happen.
SR: Sweet, really stoked for that! Do you ever get tired of constantly traveling?
Rezz: Um, I think I'm still too new to decide that. Even though I just got off of a really big tour, I could still say that I'm not tired. I feel like one day I might say that I'm tired. It just depends, but my management team knows me pretty well and not to over tour me. There are some people that I know that tour every month and it's crazy for them. When I say every month, I mean about 16 shows per month. I don't think it's going to be like that for me throughout my career because that's not going to be cool with me. Some people are like that, but you know what, that's those hardcore, dedicated producers. I know Skrillex can do it, but that's not me and that's not the average human. The average human needs time to themselves and I need time to work on music by myself. I can work on music in the hotel rooms, I've done it, but I need to work on music at my house.