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DAMIAN LAZARUS



Author Lisa Torchio Napoli | Date 17/12/2019

DAMIAN LAZARUS: A character in himself.

 

He is known to wear extravagant clothing pieces while playing his unique music that crates his art. He has a fearless inclination to self-expression and unicity that makes him one of the most fascinating artist at the moment. Here is what you need to know about him.

 

When did you start DJing - and what or who were your early passions and influences? 

I was just 12 when I started buying records and by 14 I had my own Technics and a mixer. I would spend every day after school on the decks teaching myself how to mix. 

I spent any spare time at weekends in record shops and listening to pirate radio stations and by 16 I was playing the warm up slot in a local club. My taste was always quite eclectic; playing acid house, breakbeat and techno but at the same time I was collecting soul, funk and jazz.

 

How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards becoming who you are today?

I was always quite confident and not afraid to put myself in situations above my years or experience. It took me a long time to gather skills and technique as a dj but I was committed and I knew that I loved everything about electronic music.

Having good friends around me helped me really believe in myself and I simply worked hard at it until one day I suddenly realised that I had ‘something'. It then took another few years to really understand my craft and my style and to create something that was both personal to me and very real.

 

How do you feel like your creativity has evolved and strengthened over the years? What has impacted this the most? 

For sure setting up Crosstown Rebels was a key factor in giving myself a platform and discovering other artists that went on to become huge stars helped also

I guess, but there was a time when people saw me as a label guy as opposed to an artist.

Probably because I didn’t start producing my own music for some time. I think the biggest impact came to me during a period when I started playing outdoor spaces as opposed to inside clubs.

This co-incided around a time about 15 years ago that I was experimenting with psychedelics to try and expand my mind and my creative vision. 

 

How would you describe the relationship between your choices / selections within a DJ set and the expectations of the audience? Do you find yourself playing for specific audiences or do you deviate from this idea?

Actually I was always told that one of the golden rules of djing is to “play for the crowd” and of course this is true to an extent but more I find that it is more important to just be yourself and play from the heart.

You are being booked by the promoter because you are you… it took me a long time to become the artist I knew I was capable of being and so I figured that as my music is quite wide and open and that you can never second guess which way I will turn next, then I need to present that also in live situations.

I always wanted to be the kind of artist that people would want to go see, hear and dance to… even if they were not 100% certain what I was going to do, and in many ways I think I’ve achieved that.

 

Tulum is described as an amazing place where art and freedom are combined, Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist? Where does Day Zero fit into this?

Playing by ancient Mayan temples, in jungles with natural Cenote cities running beneath… what could be better? In Tulum you see the universe so clearly at night and once morning arrives and the air is filled with Copal, I have a sense of home, of wonderment, of beauty and I feel connected.

Its hard running around the world 4 nights of every week of the year, it becomes difficult to remind yourself of how incredible nature is and how in the big scheme of things we are simply a minor detail. In Tulum, I am reminded to forget my ego and my problems and to play music for amazing people all being connected together at this unique and special experience that we create, Day Zero.

 

Do you feel like there is a connection between Ibiza and Tulum? What are the main similarities and differences? 

For me the connection is wider than these two places, there is a tribe of people that love partying and will travel to the best possible places on earth to experience that.

These places generally have a spiritual connection, as in Tulum, Burning Man and Ibiza for example; there is a shared sense of wonder and awe at how good certain party situations can actually be and like a drug, we are all craving the next fix, wherever that might be.

 

Your Mixmag stream from last year’s Day Zero was viewed millions of times, how do you plan on matching that performance? 

Its a new dawn and a new day so I will treat it as such and attempt to capture the moment - there is no grand plan.

 

How do you utilize improvisation within your performances?

Of course as a dj you are always working and selecting from a specific palette of music, the trick is to tell your story in a particular way, finding exactly the right music for the right moment and throw in some real surprises and special “bits" that will live on in the memory of those people around you forever.

I tend to pre-decide the exact music I will play as the sun comes up but then I will improvise everything around that. 

 

We’re so self-important. Everybody’s going to save something now. “Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save the planet...where do you stand regarding this matter? How does sustainability fit into the Day Zero ethos?

It is a very important part of Day Zero, particularly because we are creating a festival in a beautiful natural environment where flora, fauna and animals reside.

Our location is quite self contained in the jungle which makes it easier for us to protect and preserve however I do wish that some people were more in tune with our efforts to be respectful and minimise any possible harm to the environment.

I created a Director of Sustainability job title a while ago and we work closely with conservation groups and activists, doing the best we can to make a difference.

We make films about what we do but actually we dont feel we need to shout about it as this is not something we are doing for kudos or for a pat on the back (as some people seem to be).

We simply get on with it, as it is now in the collective consciousness and should come as second nature. We all live on this planet and we all need to do our bit to preserve it for our children and future generations and we, as a collective, making Day Zero and Get Lost events, are doing the best we can.

 

What can we expect from you in 2020?

More of the same but better.

 

Last question, are you Night or Day?

As I only sleep an average of 5 hours and I’m fully charged for most of the time, I’d say I’m pretty suited to both.

 

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ARCHIVE

ND MAG #006 IS OUT: READ THE NIGHT SIDE...

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