As a DJ and producer, as well as an A&R person and label operator, Damian Lazarus has been situated at the forefront of contemporary house and techno since the early 2000s.
Perhaps most notably, he's the founder and operator of Crosstown Rebels, a label based in his native London that has released enduring 12" singles by the likes of Deniz Kurtel, Jamie Jones, and Art Department (despite being dealt some serious distribution blows). Lazarus has applied his talent-spotting skills to a DJ career highlighted by far-flung residencies, self-started parties and festivals such as Get Lost and Day Zero, and over a dozen commercially released mixes. He has an abundance of his own 12" releases, plus three full-length projects that have defied expectations: Smoke the Monster Out (2009), Message from the Other Side (2015), and Heart of Sky (2018).
Early in the 2000s, Damian Lazarus was head of A&R for the City Rockers label and was behind the U.K. release of such notable singles as Felix da Housecat and Miss Kittin's "Silver Screen Shower Scene" and Tiga & Zyntherius' "Sunglasses at Night." He selected and mixed both volumes of the label's 2002-issued Futurism compilations, which exemplified the era's electro-indebted house and techno. In 2004, Lazarus set up Crosstown Rebels, a like-minded node that released dozens of 12" singles within a small time frame, as well as the long-running Get Lost, a party turned festival held first in Miami. Lazarus put together CR mixes like Rebel Futurism Session One and Session Two, as well as Crosstown Rebels, Vol. 1, discs released through 2006. He also mixed for other labels, including Soma, for whom he assembled the second volume in the Sci-Fi-Lo-Fi series; the disc is one of his most varied sets, incorporating old-school techno, classicist house, dubstep, and even '80s synth funk. Shortly thereafter, he fully stepped out as a producer with releases on Get Physical. His first full-length, Smoke the Monster Out, was issued in 2009.
Lazarus never placed DJing or event conception to the side. He began the 2010s by spinning the 54th volume in the Fabric mix series and a fourth volume promoting Get Lost. In 2012, he started another tradition with the Day Zero party series, thrown first in the jungles of Tulum, Mexico. Around the middle of the decade, he returned to production with a global and stylistically flexible collective he dubbed the Ancient Moons. Working with Simian's James Ford as co-producer, Lazarus and the Ancient Moons made their full-length debut in 2015 with the cosmic Message from the Other Side. Three years later, Lazarus helmed a second Ancient Moons album, Heart of Sky, a change of direction that drew from the rare-groove jazz and R&B that Lazarus soaked up through pirate radio and all-dayers three decades earlier. At the end of the decade, Lazarus reissued Smoke the Monster Out and moved Day Zero from Mexico to Israel. ~ Andy Kellman, Rovi