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Damian Lazarus interview - Suck His Deck

Author: Cyclone
Friday, January 20, 2006

The UK DJ, and sometime label man, Damian Lazarus knows the 'next big thing' - and in recent times he himself has been a contender. The Australian favourite belongs to a fresh wave of DJs, along with Ewan Pearson, who are bringing new sensibilities into electronic music culture. As A&R at the credible City Rockers, Lazarus guided Felix Da Housecat as he reinvented himself into an electro star. He's since established the post-electroclash label Crosstown Rebels...

You've brought a new ethos into the UK dance underground. What kinds of directions is dance taking at the moment that you can discern-
"There is definitely a great deal of art in dance music right now. A good dance record used to be assessed on whether it makes people move, the production value, the commerciality of it... Now tracks are judged more on creativity, weirdness and their unique appeal. People are excited more about the surprises - what I like to call 'the hidden voices'."

What sounds are you yourself feeling now- How are you evolving as a DJ-
"You know, I have become a lot more confident with my DJing style. I think over the past two years I laid some foundations for people to expect me to play the unexpected. I love to twist people up as much as possible. Last time I was in Australia, a local dance music 'bigwig' suggested I start making bootlegs of my sound mixed with tracks that people know - fuck that. The people that come to party and hear me play don't want that, they want me to deliver them fucked up music that they've never heard before - and that's exactly what drives me right now."

You preside over Crosstown Rebels. What have you got out at the moment- What can we look forward to in 2006-
"The label is going from strength to strength - we have been very fortunate to discover amazing new talent across the globe. This year our favourite Chilean Pier Bucci made a huge impact, with his debut album 'Familia' becoming one of the best electronic albums of 2005.

Next year we will release the debut album from the incredibly talented DJ Silversurfer from Berlin via Greece. We just signed two very young producers from Poland called 3 Channels, a percussive expert from Mexico called Metrika, new records from Hiem, Frankie Flowerz, and Joalz & Eddie. In the next few months there are remixes coming out from Konrad Black, the Dirt Crew and Dominik Eulberg."

Are you making any moves into production yourself-
"No, I'm still not tempted into changing my lifestyle from travelling the world meeting great party people to sitting in a stinky studio all week with an engineer - go figure! However, I am working on a new mix album concept with the Rebels' label manager (and great DJ) Matthew Styles. It's a double-CD release called 'Get Lost' and will be out in March/April. I am also still negotiating various other mix-CD offers."

You have also issued the 'Rebel Futurism' CDs, which proved cult faves here. Is there another instalment on the way-
"'Get Lost' is next - it has a different flavour. Last summer I made a mix which has also become something of a cult hit, that was called Ket Lost. I think you can imagine where I went with that! It's available at 'Rebel Futurism 3' is in the works but probably won't be ready until late '06."

You are now a regular visitor to these shores. What are your general impressions of the Australian scene - and culture-
"I think the Australian people know where I'm coming from and appreciate the fact that I party as hard as they do. I may not surf but I make up for it in other ways!"