Rezz’s was my favorite set at the Fall 2016 iteration of CRSSD Fest by far, though she’s not the kind of artist I would typically associate with the festival. When I think of CRSSD, I instinctively think of fun house music that’s easy to groove along with in the afternoon while chilling in the water fountains. When I think of Rezz, I picture a dark room filled with all the weird and sometimes creepy feels and loads of bass.
For CRSSD, not only did Rezz bring the heavy bass, she brought it to a crowd that was eating it up. Her set didn’t initially garner the strongest reaction from the crowd — they were sort of dancing but not really — but after playing a random heavy bass track and seeing that it caused a physical reaction in the crowd, she never looked back.
For the rest of her set, she played almost exclusively dubstep despite it not being the typical style heard at CRSSD. It ended up being the best decision she could have made because the change in the entire crowd was almost palpable as everyone started dancing and banging their heads. It was that ability to notice the crowd’s response and the courage to follow her instincts that made Rezz’s set the best of the weekend.
I had the chance to speak with Rezz about that set and what made her decide to go all in on the bass-heavy mixes.
Your set is probably going to end up being the heaviest of the weekend.
Rezz: I think so, too. Honestly.
Did you plan to go that heavy?
Rezz: I 100 percent did not plan on going heavy! I was playing my music, which is fairly heavy but not over the top, and then I played this one track to test it out, see what it sounded like and how people would react. The next thing you know, I see everyone from front to back bouncing up and down just ridiculously. That’s when I got on the mic. I said, “This is supposed to be a techno festival, but you guys clearly like heavy music,” and then I dropped “Bass Head” from Bassnectar.
That’s the moment I realized that I was going to go a totally different direction for my set. I was planning to go chill. Still a Rezz sound, but more of my chiller stuff. I was going to play my chill track with Delaney Jane called “Lost” and just go mellow, but then I saw that reaction and I was like, “Clearly they want that from me.” Then I just went off. The rest of the set was heavy because of that. I felt like I had to do it. It’s what they wanted to see. They made it very apparent with their reaction, and I just had fun.
It’s the definition of me just reading the crowd. I usually plan more of my set and have a pretty clear idea of what I’m going to do, and today I did a complete 180. I did 100 percent the opposite because I saw the crowd reaction, so it was cool for me because it was a learning experience.
You have said that your influences are Deadmau5 and Gesaffelstein, but they are both more techno/house, and after that moment when you got on the mic, you played almost exclusively dubstep. Who are your dubstep influences?
Rezz: My dubstep influences are Bassnectar, Excision, and I love Zed’s Dead. Those are my three dubstep influences. I also love Datsik.
I love all of these guys, but I’m mainly influenced by their old stuff. Their old, grimy, noncommercial stuff (not saying that they all make commercial music now). I love all these guys back when they were making grimy-ass jungle. Just dirty dubstep with no filters. That was my favorite, and that’s what I’m inspired by. That vibe. The slow-paced doom doom shhhh. That’s what I’m about onstage. You can see in my movements on stage. I’m vibing it, and I’m grooving around to it.
Dubstep is not what inspired me to produce. My productions are not dubstep. Some of them are a little bit on that side but not really. I produce weird, almost genre-less music, so I don’t really know how to describe it myself. It’s just whatever I naturally feel like making. My next EP you won’t even know what to label it. It’s not really a genre. It’s like a vision. I’m in it and I’m feeling it. That’s what my music is, and I don’t know how to describe it in terms of a genre. That’s just how I feel about it.
Can you walk me through how you go into producing something like that?
Rezz: I always start with the drums. Every single time. Only because I’m very picky with kicks and snares and drum samples in general. I’m very heavily inspired by rock ‘n’ roll drum samples. I love samples of rides and all these random sounds like hi-hats. I have to make sure the drums on my tracks sound really fat, so I always start with those. They don’t always start out as fat as I would like, but in a lot of songs, they do. I liked how they sound in “Edge” or “Plague” or my song with Raito called “Alien.” I like how the drums sound there.
Once I get the drums down, the next step is I will usually use a synth (Massive or Sylenth or Serum), and I’ll fuck around and make sounds and turn random knobs until I find a cool sound or couple of sounds. Every sound that I stumble upon, that I accidentally make or that I intentionally make, I’ll take that sound and keep it on the side for a minute. I’ll keep finding more sounds, and when I get three or four solid sounds for a tune, I combine them all together and then a song gets made.
By the time I have a drop made, which is the main part of a song, I instinctively know what to do with the melody. It’s hard to explain, but I just know. Once I have that drop, I know what I’m going to do with the melody. I have the melody in my head. Just like when I hear an instrumental, I hear a melody that a vocal could be on.
While I’m listening to the melody, I hear in my head a vocal that would fit with the melody. At that point, all I have to do is find a vocalist. In my case, I’m very lucky in that I know a lot of great vocalists. Laura Brehm, for example. I sent her a track a couple of days ago, and she heard it and said she is going to send back a vocal for it because she just heard a melody in her own head, and I trust her instincts because she’s really talented. I’m just waiting to hear back from that, and then the song is finished.
What’s the next EP going to be about?
Rezz: I’m actually really excited about this EP. It’s not only going to attract my current audience, but it’s also going to branch out a bit. Let’s put it this way. I have six tracks and two of them are extremely Rezz. My Rezz fans that know me are going to fucking love those tracks. And then I have two tracks that are these weird, kind of sound-inspired tracks that I personally love and that I’m inspired to make.
Aside from that, I have a track with Laura Brehm called “Melancholy,” and that’s the track that I think is going to branch out a bit and attract new audiences because it has a soft vocal, and people wouldn’t expect that of me. That’s the kind of thing people are not going to expect. You can still hear my sound in it, but it’s going to attract new audiences because it has a different vocal.
I’m excited for it because it’s a varied EP and every song is different. No song on the EP is comparable to another. Totally different. Different sounds, different vibes, and yet they still remain under the same general sound, which is my own.
Do you feel a good vocal can draw in people who maybe wouldn’t listen to electronic music?
Rezz: It’s all about drawing people in however you can. I’ve heard a lot times that people that are not into dance music but are into metal are into my music. When I hear stuff like that, it makes me excited. Clearly, I’m somehow branching out to that genre without even intentionally doing it.
For example, the people who love Marilyn Manson hear my remix of him, and they are like, “Woah, I actually really like this remix. It’s dance music, but I like it because it’s still dark and heavy like Marilyn Manson.” And then they will check out all my other stuff and realize that my other shit is also really creepy, heavy, and dark in general.
I feel like with my future tracks I want to have the same kind of vibe. I want more vocal tracks and maybe attract people who like different genres with that kind of vocal, but still incorporate my heavy, dark sound.
You have a set coming up in LA?
Rezz: On October 14th.
Do you have any plans for that set?
Rezz: I come up with my sets the day of a show, which is really fucked. Sometimes I do plan earlier than that, but lately it’s been legit the day of that I’m working in my room trying to decide what to do, thinking, “Shit, I have to play this today now!”
With the Malaa tour, I’m going to do a more refined set with more of an idea behind it because it’s a tour and I want to make sure it’s proper. I’m going to sit at my computer and try to figure out specifics. Malaa plays a lot more housey type stuff, and I have a lot of sick house music on my computer that I love to play out on occasion. I’ll probably play a lot of that.
There’s a lot of my stuff that my fans love that I even forgot to play tonight. There’s this one track called “Lucifer” that I’m pretty sure the crowd was waiting to hear that I forgot to play, but for the Malaa tour I will 100 percent play it. I’ll play a lot more house music, but also bass music, too, don’t get me wrong! Still always bass music, but it won’t be as in-your-face. I’m excited for that tour in general. It’s going to be epic.
Rezz will be in LA this Friday, October 14th, at Exchange LA with Malaa! Be sure to pick up tickets.
The new Rezz EP is called “Something Wrong Here” and is available now on mau5trap!
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