Roza Terenzi stands in front of a camera, pulls out two USB sticks and strokes the headphones over her hair. In 2019, the Australian producer and DJ debuts on boiler room at Amsterdam’s Dekmantel Festival. It’s just after four in the afternoon, 300 people sweat in a tent, the kicks start pumping. For the next hour, Terenzi mixes UK Rave classics with Jungle breaks, Electro cuts and unreleased House tracks from her home in Melbourne. The tent turns into a time capsule that takes everyone on a trip into the past — to pursue the never-before-seen ecstasy dream of imagined underground raves, bag a few records from the 90s, and after an hour put everyone gently back into the present.
»I always struggle to describe my music to people«, says Terenzi, who’s real name is Katie Campell, in an interview with Resident Advisor. »It’s more about creating a certain mood or atmosphere through sounds which embodies Roza Terenzi.« After all, the producer, who grew up in Perth, is interested in the contrast between sensual warmth and sharp harshness. Playfulness is something you would think of describing her music. Music that she calls »dance music« but does not intentionally produce for the dance floor. »It’s to resonate with different parts of your mind through listening«, she says. Terenzis’ releases, such as her debut album »Modern Bliss« just released on Planet Euphorique, mix the house-meets-break cocktail for open air sessions and after-hours, sipping on chilly vocals and twirl in plastic umbrellas made of funk, techno and esotheric kitsch.
Playfulness is something you would think of describing her music. Music that she calls »dance music« but does not intentionally produce for the dance floor.
This mix works. Back in 2018, the Melbourne-based producer released six records on labels such as Kalahari Oyster Cult, Butter Sessions and Planet Euphorique. She stormed the dance floors, took over a residence at Rinse FM — and toured the world for the first time. The success came as no surprise to her. It just evolved organically. Dance music has always been part of her life. Her father, a reggae drummer, produced dubby electronic cuts in the 90s. She often accompanied him, at home in the studio, surrounded by percussion instruments from Africa and Asia, which her father collected. He let her play around with Logic, built beats with her — and even produced a record. »Clap to the Crap Rap« is still on Bandcamp today. Hip-hop straight from the Australian west coast by and with nine year old KayTee.
As a teenager, Campell played the piano, drums and guitar. She even made it to the Montreux Jazz Festival with her school jazz band. But the elitist fuss wasn’t for her. At 17, she discovered experimental music, attended Brainfeeder shows and listened to Warp records. At university, Campell enrolled in electronic music courses. »I was learning about early electronic artists like John Cage, comparing that to contemporary artists like Venetian Snares or Aphex Twin. I became really obsessed with this«, she says in an interview with TheWastedHour. However, she was also surprised. Men seemed to be everywhere in the history of electronic music, whereas women hardly ever appeared. »I was quite surprised by how many unsung women were involved«, Campell says to Mixmag. Then, she stumbles across the work of Italian astrophysicist Fiorella Terenzi. In the 90s, she was known for using radio telescopes to capture sounds from space and released obscure records such as »Music from the Galaxies«.
● Vinyl 2LP The discovery of the Italian Terenzi had an impact on the Australian Campell. Until 2016 she produced candyfloss-techno and splish-splash-house under her then-pseudonym Catlips. Listening to them now, you can already hear the foundation, even though she wasn’t quiet there yet. She changed her name to Roza Terenzi and moved to Melbourne. Since then, her career has shot through the roof like the rumbling bass lines on her records. In 2019, she released »Let’s Ride« on Dekmantel, followed by her first album on Planet Euphorique this year. »Modern Bliss« combines everything that makes Terenzi and her interpretation of Rave. It’s a tribute to the past. A glimpse into the future. And the certainty that everything will return. Just in different ways. Or in front of 300 sweaty people at a festival in Amsterdam.