Crosstown Rebels, Day Zero, Get Lost, Wild Is Love, his own DJ and production career, the discovery of a wealth of influential talents... all of these achievements, and more, make Damian Lazarus (or ‘The Wizard’ as he’s known to many) not only one of the most respected exponents of the contemporary house and techno scene, but also one of its key tastemakers and pathfinders.
As a DJ, his mastery is unsurpassed. A true storyteller, Damian often holds court at those special times of the day when only his kind of DJ sets are required. Moments that demand a soundtrack that not only fits the mood, but elevates the atmosphere and takes the audience to a whole other level of experience. Besides playing at the world’s best clubbing institutions, Damian also specialises in performing beyond the confines of the walls of a club. He is an expert in performing his magic in extraordinary outdoor locations; jungles, beaches, deserts, mountains and amongst archeological ruins. Just a quick glance at his spellbinding Day Zero festival will tell you what Damian’s ethos is when it comes to creating special moments. Add to that the seminal Get Lost and Rebel Rave events, two more scene defining parties that epitomise his approach to hosting unique shows. This is now intertwined with a mission to make his life, his labels and his parties as environmentally responsible and conscious as possible.
Damian’s visionary abilities are no more apparent than in the curation of music and his discovery of artists via his seminal labels, Crosstown Rebels and Rebellion. Crosstown has been responsible for launching the careers of some of our scene’s best known names; Jamie Jones, Maceo Plex, Art Department, to name a few. His A&R skills are second-to- none and his dedication to seeking out unique talents is unsurpassed. It is this commitment to the outer edges of the dancefloor that has welcomed a constant resurgence of his sound and of his global support. In 2023, Crosstown Rebels celebrates 20 years young. A major milestone that will be marked by a book, short film, a compilation, and, of course, a world tour of the clubs, cities and places that have inspired and shaped the label.
As anyone who has watched Lazarus DJ or listened to his Lazpod shows can attest, his inspirations are deep and varied, criss crossing show tunes, drum n bass, jazz, electro, soul, house, techno and everything in-between. 2020’s solo album ‘Flourish’ (Crosstown Rebels / Higher Ground) reflects his immersion in a multitude of scenes over the years, from his early days in London's drum n bass movement, to his role as a figurehead in the electroclash scene, and of course the significant impact his Crosstown Rebels label has had on contemporary underground house and techno.
‘Flourish’ is far from a box of functional DJ tools, in the same way as Damian’s debut album ‘Smoke The Monster Out’ or the more worldly outings in his brace of albums with the Ancient Moons collective (featuring Moses Sumney and a plethora of other performers and vocalists). Lazarus plays with nuances of texture, tempo and style to create a rich and deep album that takes us on an odyssey that is at times both dark and uplifting. A similar approach that he takes with his "Re-Shapes" (remixes) of other artists (his remix of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs one of the standouts of Miami Music Week 2022). In addition, collaborations have always been explored, including a link up with Diplo and Jungle in summer 2021 for the unmissable ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ (Higher Ground / Because), and more recently with Gorgon City (featuring the debut of vocalist Leia Contois) and ‘Start Over’ (April 2022, Crosstown Rebels).
Last year, Damian released his soundtrack to the acclaimed documentary ‘Beijing Spring’. Focusing on a group of artists called the Stars (founded by Ma Desheng and Huang Rui, and including Ai Weiwei and others), this documentary film chronicles the struggle for free speech and free artistic expression, in the People’s Republic of China during a brief period of political reform during the late 1970s, known as the Beijing Spring. The result is a dense, fascinating album, and also served as the first release on the new Crosstown Rebels sister label Secret Teachings.
Meanwhile Ibiza remains the pillar of the summer. A new residency began at Hï in summer ’22 and will continue in ‘23, joining his good friend Black Coffee for one of the biggest parties on the island, and bringing his own ‘ancient temple from the future’ to dominate the Club Room. From playing live with the techno ring sextet Instrumental at Café del Mar in 1999, via Manumission’s raucous Back Room, to sneaking onto the decks uninvited on the terrace at Space in 2001 (ironically where he’s now theoretically a resident), it’s at CircoLoco where Damian has carved his name into Ibicencan clubland folklore, his legendary DJ sets in the Main Room closed the CircoLoco seasons for a decade.
Throughout his solid and unremitting career, Damian Lazarus has worked tirelessly to maintain a constant flow of creativity and innovation within the electronic music sphere. Never losing focus, he continues on his mystical pathway to greatness, unleashing his positive spirit on the masses at every opportunity. Open your mind, embrace the magic, and get ready for the next bewitching chapter...