7. D. Tiffany & Roza Terenzi
Interview with D. Tiffany & Roza Terenzi
Merritt, British Columbia
Jul 10, 2018
Starting off with you, D. Tiffany, you got your start in music playing in bands. Can you talk about how you went from that to finding electronic music?
D - Well it all started back in the day when I was playing in a band called MT40, it was kinda like synth-punk. Then I played bass in a surf punk band called Watermelon. I moved out of Vancouver to an apartment in Nelson, a small town in BC, and I just had my laptop to make music on. I started making lo-fi house music and bouncing it to tape, just because I didn’t have a jam space or instruments to make music.
And Roza, I’ve read that you started making music at a pretty young age.
R - When I was in high school I was playing jazz guitar and mak- ing jazzy-pop stuff. My dad had a studio at home so I’d just like go in there and record all the parts, really bad midi strings, and then singing tracks. I started being exposed to more electron- ic music and that’s when I kind of made the shift. After school I studied at WAAPA and did a technology composition course which was all experimental electronic stuff. That’s when the music I was making started to change to be more electronic focused. I started playing live electronic music in Perth 5 or 6 years ago, and then I started DJ’ing.
What was the scene in Perth like at the time?
R - When I first started going out when I was 18 it was really focused on Warp and Brainfeeder type music. That same scene of people was really into house and that took over as the more common thing. For the first 3 or 4 years of going out there was super strong, really amazing talent in Perth, so many great pro- ducers and DJs. The parties were so great considering how small of a city it was.
Vancouver has really come to global prominence as a dance music city in the last 4 or 5 years but the scene has existed for a long time. What was it like when you first started going out?
D - When I started playing shows the guys from Mood Hut were also playing in bands. We used to play shows together all the time and it just slowly progressed to more DJ focused events. Everything in Vancouver has been underground. There hasn’t ever really been a huge club for anyone to play at or bars to play at so it’s all been after hours events put on by the people that are DJing. Maximum 200 people show up to gigs. It’s still really small.
R - Similar to Perth
D - Yeah, quite similar. So many people are super talented, pro- ducing and DJing, with a large focus on live acts.
Was your first release of electronic music the split tape with Bobby Draino?
D - Yeah. Bobby played drums in MT40, the first band I played in. He’s an amazing drummer, he’s played in a lot of sick bands in Vancouver. On the tape we did 3 separate tracks each and one collaborative track. We’ve been making music together for like 8 years, we’re always working on stuff together.
So when you moved to Melbourne you started a residency at Lounge. Can you talk about that club’s significance to the city?
R - Yeah it’s one of those places that’s always facilitated a lot of touring and local DJs. When I was living in Perth and I’d come over to Melbourne that’s where I’d always play. When I moved over I was playing once a month. They do the most consistent lineups for shows, they always get great local people to play. It’s one of those places that’s open later than most clubs in Mel- bourne. You can rely on there being good music playing there. It was cool during the residency to get into the habit of playing regularly in Melbourne when I first moved and getting closer to
working out what kind of stuff I want to be playing.
I wanted to ask about Plush Managements, your collaborative project with Regularfantasy. How did that come to be?
D - Plush Managements started with a show that was organized by Daniel Rincon at the Fox Theater. Me and Olivia worked on a live set and it just continued from that show. We didn’t really play much music together before that. We started sharing a studio at Deep Blue together and continued to make music.
Can you talk about Deep Blue?
D - Deep Blue is a group of artist studios, mostly music. There’s like 13 studios and a lot of producers in Vancouver have studios there. They also have a large venue area with a really good sound system. We just did the Planet Euphorique party there a couple weeks ago. They’re focusing more in art stuff now but it definitely has facilitated a space for a lot of people to throw events who don’t have the money to rent out a place at bigger, privately run artist studio spaces.
You’ve talked about how Perth is really far away from other cities and Australia itself is fairly isolated globally. It’s not like Europe where there is a lot of exchange between coun- tries, where do you see the influences coming from?
R - The isolation definitely has negative elements but at the same time it forces everyone to get it together and make it hap- pen themselves. Perth is the most isolated city in the world. There’s always been amazing music coming out Perth, lots of bands and electronic stuff. In Sydney and Melbourne it’s just an hour on the plane and you can be in the other city but to get to Perth it’s quite a big ordeal. People have to try a bit harder to make things happen and make them good. For a long time there’s been such a strong influence from the internet because we’re so far away from everything. The influences come from this mash up of looking all around the world and then contrast- ed with what’s happening in a very enclosed bubble. It’s a cool combination of different places that people get inspiration from. In the last 5 years in particular there’s been a more distinct vibe of things happening in Australia. It seems like, since I’ve been on this trip even, a lot of people have commented to me that they’ve discovered a lot more people from Australia.
That’s a common theme in a lot of interviews I’ve been doing. People’s influences are a lot less regional and exist more in these internet communities. Vancouver seems like another city that is less regionally connected to other dance music hubs. Did you turn to the internet for influences when you started producing dance music?
D - In Vancouver the only people that were throwing parties like that were the Mood Hut guys. 1080p started in Vancouver and that was a huge part of the DIY electronic music culture here. There were so many releases and it showcased a broad range of people worldwide. That connected me with so many people that I’m still in contact with.
R - Yeah that really opened people in Australia up to things that were going on in Vancouver.
D - All the people in New York, all the people in Europe that put out music on 1080p, I definitely wouldn’t have known about them otherwise. It exposed me to a lot of other scenes.
Can you talk a little bit about Sweet Pup? It’s where you live but it’s also a venue and an art space...
D - Not anymore. It’s still studio spaces that we have rented out but we’re not running a venue anymore. We started running a venue there two and a half years ago and existed for about around two years. The cops started putting pressure on us and it was too risky because people have their studio spaces there and I live there. It’s not worth it anymore unfortunately. I really loved doing those parties. The space is quite small so it was an intimate atmosphere. We opened at a time when a few other venues had gotten shut down so it wasn’t a perfect venue but it was one of the only ones that existed at the time.
That touches on something that I really wanted to talk about in this interview, trying to support a music scene in a city that is actively trying to suppress it. It’s something we’ve been dealing with a lot in Los Angeles, with police shutting down parties and forward thinking events being forced un- derground. What is it like trying to live as an artist in a city that doesn’t seem to want to accommodate you?
D - It’s important to have people who are dedicated to working to find venues and are imaginative about utilizing spaces that may not normally be used for shows. It’s quite risky, especially in Vancouver where rent is very expensive and a lot of landlords aren’t willing to rent to artists at all. The amount of spaces avail- able is very limited. Right now in Vancouver we only have four venues where people book parties. A couple of them are quite small so there’s not a lot of options. In the summer people try to do parties in the park, which end up being free so the people that are putting them on are just doing them to make something happen. It’s a huge struggle for sure.
R - It’s a pretty similar vibe in Perth, there’s maybe one or two clubs. It’s interesting, the best parties that I would play were beach parties or outdoor raves and you’re not really getting paid for those. They are the ones that are the most fun and the most rewarding. A lot of people put in hard work and effort to make them happen and when it works out its so great. In Melbourne there’s a lot more clubs that are available but people don’t feel a big connection to them. There’s still a big focus on outdoor parties. It’s hard, you want to be getting paid for playing but the most fun you have is the free parties. You have to keep a bal- ance. In Melbourne we’re lucky that we still have clubs that can host the amount of things that are on. It’s cool when people take the risk and put in the effort to make unconventional things hap- pen.
I always hear about the outdoor party culture in Australia. Was that a big thing when you were first going out?
R - In Perth one of the main clubs shut down. When I first started DJing there was heaps of warehouse parties and beach parties. That was where I first started to properly play as a DJ. One of my friends who was running them would get really diverse lineups and always push people that hadn’t played much before. That’s where I first had the freedom to do whatever. There’s nothing better than beach parties in the summer, they’re so good. Some of the beaches are so picturesque, it’s the best vibe. When So- phie was in Melbourne there was an outdoor rave that was un- der this big tunnel. When it’s more wintery there are a lot of parties under bridges and tunnels. They do a lot of park parties as well. I haven’t been in Melbourne that long but I know that’s always been a crucial part of the culture.
D - It seems like a huge part of Australian culture
R - Yeah I think because there’s so much amazing nature peo- ple are like “Why would I want to be in a crusty club when I can be on this picturesque beach or in this amazing wilderness?”.
D - A lot of people don’t drive in Vancouver so spots that would be easily accessible for people to attend are hard to find. People have parties in Stanley Park but there are time restrictions and you can’t have them all the time. The police really don’t want that happening at all. It’s tough to find outdoor space but people still make it happen somehow.
Planet Euphorique is your new label and the first release features both of you. What made you start the label and how did the record come together?
D - Planet Euphorique is the label that I started most because I wanted to put out my own music and I didn’t feel a strong connection to any other labels. I have a lot of music from my friends that I’d like to release as well. It’s going well so far, our record has been very well received. We’re announcing our next one this week from Big Zen, that will be coming out hopefully in the next couple of months.
R - The third track on that record, Strobe Fountain, was the first one we made together. I was in Vancouver last year in August and we were just jamming around. We made that track at Sweet Pup. When Sophie was in Melbourne for three months over summer we worked on stuff at my studio. I haven’t really done much collaborating with other people so it was a cool experi- ence for me. Our styles were quite similar and worked together.
You next record is from Big Zen, someone who’s part of a new wave of artists coming out of Vancouver. Who else is coming up right about now that you’ve been excited about?
D - Big Zen, I love him so much. He was always coming out to parties and right up front on the dancefloor going so hard. His best friend Megan, DJ Donini is also an amazing producer and DJ. There’s a lot of other people. These kids are dedicated to facilitating the underground parties and are willing to put in so much work to continue on at a time in which a lot of other people have gotten tired and aren’t interested in doing it anymore. It’s really exciting to see that people are still continuing that vibe and aren’t giving up on the city in general.
It seems like there’s a lot of forces working against them. Vancouver has a huge wealth gap and costs of housing are rising dramatically. What do you think about the future of the city?
D - I don’t think it’s going to be a city that in will have a large scene that can support itself in the foreseeable future. There’s a scene that’s growing here and I’m excited to see what happens but it’s getting harder and harder to do this kind of stuff.
R - I feel like things come in waves. Some places aren’t destined to be huge cultural hubs. They work by being more underground.
D - If anything that’s how Vancouver always been. It’s an amaz- ing that city that has had legendary punk bands an all sorts of different types of music but it’s always been a small scene. I think there’s a bigger emphasis on visual arts, having Emily Carr here.
Yeah, even though it’s always been a small scene the inter- net really magnified it. I know when I first started hearing this music coming out of Vancouver I imagined it as this massive community.
R - That’s what everyone in Australia thinks Vancouver is like. This huge popping hub.
The Canadian Riviera.
D - It’s the Riviera vibe for like 2 months out of the year and then it’s raining the rest of the time. A lot of the music coming out of here has a West Coast sound to it, it’s a very laid back place.
It seems like there’s more kinship between Vancouver and the West Coast of the United States than with other parts of Canada.
D - Yeah definitely. To travel from Vancouver to Montreal or To- ronto costs a lot of money but to travel to LA it’s like $150 and Seattle is a 2 hour drive. It’s just way easier to connect with those cities, I’ve played in those cities way more. It’s sad be- cause there are really good scenes in Toronto and Montreal but it’s hard to have any crossover there. It’s similar to Perth and other Australian cities but you guys don’t have another country to go visit.
It seems like a lot of the bigger artists from Melbourne end up moving to Europe to sustain their career. Now that you’ve been in the city for a couple of years how do you feel about the culture there? Are there any artists you’ve been excited by?
R - In the past all the bigger DJs and producers tended to move to Europe, purely for the logistics of touring. If you want to play shows in Europe all the time you have to make a big tour out of it or financially it doesn’t make sense. The bigger names tend to spend most of the year in Europe and then come back in the summer for festivals. That’s still the case but in the last few years there have been people holding it down in Melbourne and making sure that there’s always stuff happening there. It’s sad when you have to go somewhere else to do what you like doing when you originally made it happen for yourself in your city. Of course there are a lot of people who have been doing it for a while like Butter Sessions and Wax’o. There are also a lot of up and coming producers who I think will start to get heaps of
recognition like Escape Artist, Reptant, and Nite Fleit. There’s heaps of amazing female talent.
D - So much.
R - Which is really cool. I was surprised because in Perth there was only a couple of us who would play. When I got to Mel- bourne there was just like 10 insanely good female DJs. I’d say the split in Melbourne is pretty much 50/50 which is really cool to be a part of. Even in the last year there’s been a lot more people releasing music that is getting noticed in other parts of the world.
Just finishing up, do either you have any forthcoming proj- ects you’d like to talk about?
D - On Planet Euphorique we have the Big Zen record coming out. The third one will be a D. Tiffany record and then the fourth one is gonna be Reptant from Melbourne. I think Melbourne has a really exciting scene right now, I’m really inspired by it be- cause it sounds a lot different than the scene that I’ve grown up in. I don’t have any plans to put out music with anyone else.
R - I have an EP coming out in the next few months on Salt Mines which is a Melbourne label. We both have got a track on Oscillate, this party that we’re playing at in Berlin that is starting a label. I have a split 12” with Sleep D coming out on Butter Ses- sions in the next four months or so and a bunch of other stuff that I’m finishing up.