Damian Lazarus Talks Crosstown Rebels, Get Lost, and the EDM Underground
This Friday, Wynwood electronic dance music emporium the Electric Pickle will be celebrating three years of nonstop boogie. And they'll be doing it in style and in typical fashion by booking two stars of the international house and techno scene, UK DJ-producer and One Records boss Adam Shelton and the eminent Damian Lazarus, head honcho of the world-renowned Crosstown Rebels label.
Booking Damian Lazarus for a Pickle anniversary party makes perfect sense, and not just because Crosstown Rebels is the biggest underground EDM label in the world -- number one on Resident Advisor's prestigious poll last year. It's also because Lazarus has been instrumental in making the Pickle the international EDM mecca that it is. His annual Get Lost party during WMC week has helped make the Pickle world-famous, and hardly a month out of the year goes by without a Crosstown artist gracing the club's decks.
Crossfade caught up with Damian Lazarus ahead of Friday's celebration to chat about his A&R style, the meaning of underground, and Get Lost 2012.
Crossfade: You started out as a music journalist. What, if anything, did that experience impart to you as a musician and music businessman? Did it equip you with any special insights or savvy once you entered the game yourself?
Damian Lazarus: As a music journalist I felt it was my role to uncover new emerging artists and expose these new talents to our readers -- whether it was for Dazed & Confused, Straight No Chaser or Trace magazines. I always tried to ask questions that were not obvious, that had depth and would enlighten readers to the personality behind the music, as opposed to simply how they came to make their sounds. This technique has helped me a great deal in the way I run Crosstown Rebels -- getting to know the characters in depth before committing to working with them, for example. I also got to meet and work with many different labels, both major and independent. And being involved in the behind-the-scenes machinery of building new artists' careers was a priceless experience.
Was the transition from DJ to producer challenging for you? How did you approach that first studio project?
Electric Pickle Three-Year Anniversary Party with Damian Lazarus and Adamn Shelton. Friday, February 17. Electric Pickle, 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The show starts at 10 p.m. Call 305-456-5613 or visit electricpicklemiami.com.
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