Celebrating 10 years of his Crosstown Rebels collective this year, London-born DJ/producer Damian Lazarus has discovered and launched the careers of artists like Seth Troxler, Art Department, and Maceo Plex. Known for mixing experimental beats and topping them with his own vocals -- as on his album, Smoke the Monster Out -- and playing parties that end up with sitting ovations, his career is continuously forward-thinking. We corresponded with Damian over email about 10 years of Crosstown Rebels, his podcast "Lazpod," and where he'll be getting a drink in S.F. He headlines Public Works with Art Department this Thursday, March 14, for Rebel Rave.
How has your process of discovering new music changed throughout your career?
In the past I had a P.O. Box address and would go to collect my post daily; inside I'd find test pressings, white labels, and CD demos from people all around the world. That was 10 years ago -- these days I am sent something in the region of 30-50 demos and promos every day into my mailbox. While I attempt to listen to everything, sometimes this is just not possible. But wherever I am, wherever I go, I keep my eyes and ears open for something fresh and exciting.
How does an artist capture your attention and get signed to the Crosstown Rebels crew?
You need a degree in being a good person and masters in creating amazing music.
What are you hoping to accomplish on this tour celebrating 10 years of Crosstown Rebels?
I'm hoping to accomplish a series of incredible parties celebrating all that is best in electronic music -- partying with a global army of ravers.
Can you us tell about the third release in the Rebel Rave compilation series?
Every year we try and sum up the best moments of that year's label output. We release a lot of music, and while we have a very strong following for most of our releases, there is some music that slips through people's nets or gets overlooked. The Rebel Rave compilation series is a great opportunity for everyone to catch up with everything and keep a momento of some of the best music of the year. The third CD is always mixed by one of our up-and-coming artists, [those] destined for big things, and their brief is to select and mix some of their personal favorite Crosstown moments from the entire catalog.
You also do your own podcast where you share a more personal side with fans. What's your favorite part about doing "Lazpod"?
Being free to select any piece of music I desire and to do it knowing that there is a huge fanbase who are excited by these experiments in sound.
What's the most rebellious thing you've ever done for your career?
I took over the decks on the terrace at Space, Ibiza, without being asked when I was pretty young.
If you could put together a track with your favorite artists, who is someone your fans would be surprised to see included?
Animal from The Muppets would be on drums.
With all the traveling you do, what's one place you never tire of visiting but could never settle down in?
New York; love going there, couldn't live there -- too dirty, noisy, and too much fun.
Where can we catch you hanging in San Francisco?
Seeing the seals at Pier 39, having a drink at Bourbon and Branch, and smashing it at Public Works.