No matter where she is in the world, Izzy Camina always has her foot on the pedal. The 27-year-old producer, singer, and self-budding live artist has spent most of her life hopping the globe — LA-born, London-raised, with the odd stint in New York, Paris, and New Jersey, Izzy’s dynamic productions are a result of her many years spent in different scenes and surroundings.
Sitting somewhere between sultry French-style techno and floaty club anthems, Izzy’s productions each incorporate her own vocal stamp and draw influence from her teenage years spent listening to heavy rock and punk music. Her first EP, 2020’s ‘Nihilist In The Club’, came just a year after she made her start in music - an album, she once said, culminating pain and frustration in an “overwhelming world”. The next project, 'ANG3L NUMB3RS', will land early this year, another collection of similar thoughts and feelings on the modern world.
Influenced by her affinity for ‘80s New York clubland and punk-leaning electronic, Izzy’s mashup style is one that simply “doesn’t take itself too seriously”. The producer now hopes, after years mixing in Ableton, to give live mixing a try as she turns her hands to the decks.
In our Q&A with Izzy Camina, the producer talks about the progression of her “manic” style, living a life on the road, clutching onto the fear of adulthood, and her next project, ‘ANG3L NUMB3RS’. Check it out below, and listen to her high-energy mix below.
What have you been up to recently?
I'm just at the tail end of a trip in Los Angeles, I’ve been couch-hopping and sleeping on people’s couches. I hate feeling like a burden or that I'm imposing, especially being in the common space, so I try to limit it to one or two nights.
Is that just fun or are you out on tour right now?
I came for a Celine event on Wednesday, so I’m just staying with friends at the moment. I was like, well I can’t miss Iggy Pop, so I gotta figure it out! This particular apartment has a lot of animals that are very excited to have somebody around while their owners are away.
I know you soundtracked that Celine event - what was that experience like? How did it come about?
I was approached for it during the pandemic when I was living rurally, I was pretty depressed and not pursuing a music career at that time. I was considering doing other things just because it's such a brutal industry, I’m really sensitive and maybe not strong enough for it. I deleted Instagram, and it was great. I was just out in nature sorting through my thoughts and a bunch of people in the team had been trying to reach out to me. Eventually, maybe a month later, I re-downloaded Instagram and saw all these messages. I was like, ‘fuck!’, and they asked if I could do a 10-minute edit of ‘UP N DOWN’. But they wanted it within three days, so I did it, and they didn't use it. Then the next show they reached out again and said they wanted to try it, and they thought it would fit. They were like, 'can you just fly out? The creative director doesn't want to send notes back and forth’. So that’s how it happened!
You’ve had quite an interesting past in your travels around the world - could you tell me a bit about that?
I think that home for me growing up was always unstable and turbulent both emotionally and physically or geographically. Maybe that informed the reason I struggled to settle down in one particular place, I associate home with something bad. That's something I've been thinking about lately. I was born in Los Angeles and raised in Venice Beach, my parents moved there from New York for my father's rock ’n' roll t-shirt business. Once my sister and I were school-age and because the neighbourhood back then wasn't very safe, they decided to move back to the East Coast where my mother's family is from, New Jersey. I would say I’m a Jersey girl through and through for sure.
Would you say New Jersey feels most like home for you?
Definitely, yeah. I also lived in London - which is where I really got started because I wanted to escape New Jersey - it can be love-hate, it always is. I think I’ll always have that influence from my father and his family, but at the end of the day, I'm a Jersey girl!
I know you lived a bit of a nomadic life at some points, too - did you go off on the road?
So I moved to LA from London to sign a shitty record deal. Once that fell apart and the pandemic happened, I got the windfall from the Celine show and just used those funds to figure out where to go and what to do. I spent some time in Paris, and then back to New York, and then back to Paris, and then Berlin, and then back to New York. I seem to have an affinity for Paris - it’s also where the couches are! One of my closest friends lives there, so I can just crash.
How did you first get into music, and when did you start producing?
I was going to business school and I guess that side of me was under-stimulated and undernourished and I wasn't aware, but I just felt this hole to explore something creative. I always rejected the arts because my parents were dysfunctional artists, but I heard the music in my head. I didn't know how to play any instruments and I still don't really know anything about music theory - I'm one of those people to just wing it. My friend and I started sharing Ableton trials and looked up tutorials on YouTube to learn together. We started getting fairly proficient in a short period, and Ableton allowed me to create music even though I didn't know how to play an instrument. For the first time, I could compose something I heard in my head just by drawing in MIDI or very slowly putting things together using a MIDI keyboard. That was the beginning of the end - I was done! I was hooked. I started when I was like 21, which is pretty late compared to a lot of other people.
Your style has changed a fair bit since your debut EP, but you seem to have found more electronic ground recently. How would you describe your current style?
Very skits, manic, and crazy - not taking itself seriously at all! I think that this is kind of my moment of not giving a shit and reminding myself not to take things seriously, it translates into my music. There will always be this depth lyrically or melodically here and there, but for the most part, it's kind of tongue-in-cheek. Even the title of the next project, ‘ANG3L NUMB3RS’, is quite sarcastic - putting up that wall and maybe overcompensating with detachment really helps me be brave and put music out. It's like how people just use edginess and irony as a shield because they're scared to be earnest. I think I’m just figuring out how to move forward in a really honest way, and I think things might get a little bit more solemn and heavy after this project. It'll be a surprise.
What's the direction that you're looking to go in right now? Are there any styles of dance music that are inspiring you?
Yeah, for sure. I'm obsessed with Kumo 99 and any dark electronic music. I love French techno, it’s the main reason I started producing - it’s just fucking cool! Especially if you're from New Jersey where it’s all about artists like Skrillex, the bigger the better. The bigger the car the bigger the nails. Hearing French techno when I was in college, I was like, ‘Hell yeah! This is exactly what the doctor ordered’.
Is that a direction you’d like to move in? Heavier, darker music?
Definitely! I think ‘UP N DOWN’ is undeniably a techno tune, but I think the techno world can also be super pretentious. Ironically, the best artists don't take it seriously at all. From my understanding, artists like Gesaffelstein are out here in LA working with rappers and making pop music and shit, so it’s like, do whatever you want with no rules.
'Freak Baby’ came out recently - you said this track acknowledges your “dysfunctional adulthood”. Could you tell me a bit about that?
I had just moved into this temporary sublet in Bushwick last spring and was sending some ideas back and forth with my friend Aaron, whom I've sort of welcomed into my world. My first EP was produced entirely by myself, there were some writer credits from my friend Nick with who I learned to use Ableton. But Aaron does a lot on these new tunes. My philosophy is that most people in this business and even in the audience aren’t going to consider that I produced them, they’re always going to just assume I'm a singer or vocalist, so there's no harm in bringing other people on board. I don't need to be precious. ‘Freak Baby’ just came about really quickly, probably within a week we had the demo almost finalised. It's not a very poetic tune, you know, it's pretty direct. The pre-chorus talks about ‘we don't care how far away we have to go to get away from home’. That's more a reflection of being an adolescent, you find a lot of beauty and romance in pain, but as you become an adult and the stakes get higher and you have to pay rent and bills, it's not cute anymore. I go from this dreamy moment to this serious like, I'm fucking deranged and need to sort my shit out. There’s this acknowledgement, it's very direct, and I wanted to bounce between the two.
Do you think that, as a singer, people tend to overlook the fact that you produce your own music too?
Oh, 100%. No matter what I do, that will always be the case. Even last night, I was hanging out with some friends who had heard my music before we connected in person. We were just chit-chatting and getting to know each other, and they were all like, ‘wow, you produce as well? That's pretty cool’. It's just the way it is, and it’s always been this way. It used to hurt.
What can we expect from ‘ANG3L NUMB3RS’?
I've been listening to a lot of Machine Girl and stuff that exists on the periphery of hyperpop. I know Jimmy Urine is cancelled, but I’ve also been listening to a lot of Mindless Self Indulgence because it’s something I listened to a lot when I was about 12 - also Kumo 99 and that kind of aggressive electronic music. I think Atari Teenage Riot are a big inspiration for this project, it’s trying to bridge the gap between this skits cyberpunk stuff and dream-pop. I think that dichotomy encapsulates what we're all going through right now, we’re teetering between the extreme of everything… 'nothing matters, let's party, let’s not have kids’. Or like, ‘hope is the answer, angel numbers!’. It’s just finding a balance, but everything is manic right now and I think everybody's feeling scared. It’s end times, this is the fifth or sixth great extinction. ‘ANG3L NUMB3RS’ is my acknowledgement of that.
Outside of that, what’s next for you?
I’m always putting playlists together, and I’m always putting mixes together in Ableton, so I’d like to become a strong live mixer and be a part of the scene in the flesh. We’ve been online for such a long time, I think everybody's longing for a stronger sense of community, which might also have to do with the fact that it’s end times and community makes us feel safer. But yeah, just going out in the flesh mixing and DJing. With my detached nature, I can be pretty obsessive with everything I do, and I want to do it well. I don't want to be cheap about it. I want to know my shit and be good at what I'm doing.
Can you tell us about your Impact mix?
Motivated by both a deep love - and repugnance - of NYC’s post-pandemic scene, I still feel like there are some sonic and emotional voids in the city that need plumbing. I idealise the atmosphere of New York City’s ‘80s clubbing golden age. All you need to do is watch footage of the way people moved their bodies at these parties to understand. If I was throwing a house party, this is what you'd hear - a set doused in my own personal taste and bias. As another young person raised on shuffle, this comes with a degree of chaos and inconsistency, like the track selection. With our collectively shortened attention spans, however, I don’t see that as a bad thing (as much as I like going zombie mode and vegging out to the same kick pattern for hours on end).
This mix is actually.. mixed. Intro’d with a playful Sextile remix and punctuated with two emotional and personal heavy-hitters - ‘Adjacent Casualty’ by Kumo99 and ‘I Am Not a Casualty’ by Louisahh and Maelstrom. Keyword: Casualty. I’m not afraid to drop some cringe or profundity or poetry. Maybe a song here and there that isn’t electronic at all. Dancing and clubbing, to me, is sacred catharsis. I want to tailor an atmosphere for people who desire the same release.
Izzy Camina's latest track, 'Celestial Sodomy', landed today. Check it out here
Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter
Sextile - CRASSY MEL (AirBall Electro Mix)
Spike Hellis - Mouth
Sega Bodega - Kepko (Boys Noize Remix)
Léonie Pernet - Les Chants de Maldoror (Para One Remix)
Im Kellar - Im kellar
Where Do You Go (DJ Topgun Remix)
Boy Harsher - Electric (Kris Baha Remix)
David Löhlein - Bad Bitch
Body Beat Ritual - Teethgrinder
Locked Club - It’s My Rave
LSDXOXO - DEATH RATTLE
Giant Swan - Pandaemonium
DRES - Pick6
SWAN MEAT - SUCKLING GROWN
Vladimir Dubyshkin - 1 rural woman
Psycho Boys Club - YSL
Devault and the Bloody Beetroots - Hold On
Pixel Grip - ALPHAPUSSY
Schwefelgelb - Balancier Dich
I Hate Models - Werewolf Disco Club
Randomer - Sleep of Reason
Angel Emoji - darkest night
Basslyn (Extended Mix)
kumo 99 - Adjacent Casualty
Maelstrom & Louisahhh - I AM NOT A CASUALTY