Dark Star: REZZ Is Moving On Up
DJ Times: None of which is to say that DJing isn’t a worthy art in itself.
REZZ: Oh, of course not! [laughs] That’s so true. DJing itself is supersick, and obviously my career could just continue to be a career if I kept doing it. But I do want to challenge myself. And I feel that if you are acting as a real musician onstage and doing something live, you’re more credible. Like Porter Robinson: For me, what he does live is like a career goal for me. He wasn’t my original, but right now, he’s probably my biggest inspiration.
DJ Times: Why him?
REZZ: There are multiple reasons, but it’s mainly because he’s gone exactly where his vision has led him. It’s almost like he doesn’t care anymore about what the fans expect; instead, he’s totally changed his sound because that’s what he wanted to do. Right now, he’s m
aking the music that he’s meant to be making, and when he plays, he’s mainly doing it live nowadays. I think he’s well on the way to becoming one of electronic music’s icons. He’ll be on the same level as other people who have made a huge mark, like Daft Punk, deadmau5 or Bassnectar.
DJ Times: What’s the most fun gig that you’ve played so far?
REZZ: There’s been so many of them. A lot of them are fun because they’re in really good venues. I really like Concord Music Hall in Chicago, for instance. But the date that really captured my attention was the Shambhala festival [in British Columbia]. I’ve technically played gigs that were more fun, but the thing about Shambhala was that when I got onstage, I was actually really exhausted because of touring. I couldn’t believe I had to play after not having slept for so long. But midway through my set, the energy in the air there was so real and so crazy… I don’t know how to say it. Basically, Shambhala really understood me and my sound, and I think that it really ended up impacting my career.
DJ Times: That festival was in the middle of this past summer, which seems like people beyond your core fans first really started to get excited by your music—and now you have this really big, really rabid group of followers. Does it feel that way to you?
REZZ: I think it was around that time, but really, I didn’t notice that happening as much as other people noticed it happening. It’s other people who say things like, “Wow, you’re blowing up!” But now, there’s stuff like a group on Facebook called The Cult of REZZ, which has over 6,000 members. And the group just started! These people aren’t just fans—their really diehard. They know every single song that I’ve done, they know every show I’ve played, they know everywhere I am, they know what I’m doing, they know all these random facts about me… they know absolutely everything about me. I’m attracting that kind of fan.
DJ Times: Does that frighten you a bit?
REZZ: No, I really like that! It’s what I envisioned and hope for. When you have such loyal fans, they’ll be introducing their friends to my music, and those people will be introducing their friends to my music. It’s really organic, which I think is really nice.
DJ Times: Why do you think you have such hardcore devotees? Do you think it has anything to do with the fact that your music is a little bit different than most of what’s out there?
REZZ: Absolutely. It has a lot to do with my music having a very particular sound, almost a niche kind of sound. It exists in its own lane. When your sound is so peculiar, people either hate it or they love it. And if they love it, they really love it. That’s been true of some of my favorite artists, actually.
DJ Times: Like who?
REZZ: Do you know Grimes? I really like her. I saw her live a long time ago, way before I started producing music. Some people around me were like, “Oh my God, I love Grimes!” And other people around me were literally plugging their ears. The point is that I love Grimes, and I love how her sound is very different, which means that not everyone is going to like it. But if you do like it, if you do understand it, you related to it on an almost spiritual level. I think that’s now my music has been coming off to people. If they like it, they feel it in a way that’s kind of beyond words.
DJ Times: Do you think about your own music the same way?
REZZ: Yes, I think so. I feel my music a lot; I feel it when I make it, and I feel it when I play it. You can see that when I’m onstage, and when you look at the crowd, you can see in their reactions, in the way that they move, that they’re super-passionate about it as well. They love it just as much as I do, which is a really good feeling.
DJ Times: They also seem to love those hypno-glasses that have become your trademark. Besides their obvious fun factor, do you wear them to emphasize the hypnotic nature of a lot of your music?
REZZ: Exactly. I’ve always been inspired by that hypnotic feeling that music can have. I like repetition; I like music that’s simple, but hard-hitting; I like music that’s hypnotizing. And with those goggles, people can associate me with that kind of feeling pretty easily.
DJ Times: Can you actually see what you’re doing when you have those glasses on?
REZZ: The first time I ever tried them on, I was with the guy who made them, and I was like, “Oh my God—how am I gonna see out of these things?” But you get used to things. The first show where I wore them was in Boston, and I was really nervous. I actually needed to get the security guy to walk me onstage. But once I got in there and plugged my USB in, I was totally fine. The peripheral vision is fine, and I can see down, so the decks themselves are no problem; I can see them clearly without any obstruction.
DJ Times: How about seeing the crowd?
REZZ: There are these little see-through areas on the goggles, and I’ve gotten used to seeing through them. And I always prove to the audience that I can really see them. I’ll point to certain individuals who are doing something noticeable, like repping me with a t-shirt or poster. I’ve done 50 shows with them by this point, so it’s totally natural.
DJ Times: It’s hard to believe that it’s been only a year and a half since Insurrection came out on Nest, and you’re playing all these gigs, at big clubs and major festivals.
REZZ: I’ve seen it happen even faster to other people, really—people like Marshmello, for instance. So when people talk to me about everything’s happened so fast, I’m like, “I don’t know, dude!” But yeah, it’s the craziest thing ever. It’s still amazing to me.
DJ Times: Have you been overwhelmed at all by your success?
REZZ: Not really. I’m really enjoying the pace. I can keep up with it.
DJ Times: Why do you think you’re able to handle it?
REZZ: When I did my very first tour with Destructo, nobody knew who I was. I was just the opener. And I’m glad that I did those shows, because I got to start at the bottom and experience what it’s like, and then work my way up. But there are other people who skip that, who just get thrown right up to the top, headlining stadiums or whatever. That would be tough, I think. But with the way it happened for me, it’s kept me sane. And it’s kept me humble.
DJ Times: With success often comes haters. Have you acquired any yet?
REZZ: I’ve experienced just a little shit-talk about being a girl—but for the most part, not really. A lot of people who have been following me have been following me from the very beginning, so they know me from my earliest productions, and they’ve had all my information all that time. So the only shit that I get is from people on the Internet who are just finding out about me, and they’re just making very quick assumptions about me. But I usually either prove those people wrong, or they just kind of go away. I don’t pay attention to it, anyway. Especially now—I’m way too busy!
DJ Times: With no time for haters.
REZZ: Not at all. My whole life is coming together, and I don’t have time to think about anything negative that somebody might say about me. I’d rather give my attention to people like the freakin’ Cult of REZZ! With people like that around, why would I waste my time on people who don’t like me?
DJ Times: Where do you see yourself in five years?
REZZ: I’ll definitely be doing what I’m doing now, but on a higher level. I think my productions can still drastically improve and reach a whole new scale. I want my visuals to continue to evolve; I want my live show to continue to evolve; I want the overall onstage production to evolve. I want my shows to be an experience, like the kind of experience that artists like Excision or Porter Robinson or Bassnectar give people. People like that create an entire vibe that’s beyond just the music—and five years from now, I want to do that, too.
DJ Times: Do you foresee doing this for your entire life?
REZZ: Absolutely, in some way, shape or form. And I have other plans that I would like to talk about, but I’m not going to yet. It has something to do with my character—the petite girl with the hat and hypno goggles. We’re going to take this character and take it to places that people might not expect.