vendredi 30 septembre 2011


Damian Lazarus started his career in music as a journalist for Dazed & Confused, rising to the position of assitant editor. He then took his bulging contacts book to City Rockers, where he was head of A&R. Here he was instrumental in releasing two seminal records that gave rise to electroclash: Felix Da Housecat’s ‘Silver Screen Shower Scene’ and Tiga & Zyntherius’s ‘Sunglasses at Night’. In 2003, he founded his own label, Crosstown Rebels, the mandate being to release non-formulaic, cutting-edge electronic music. This manifesto led to the label growing into the global force of DJ talent we see today: Seth Troxler, Jamie Jones, Deniz Kurtel, and Art Department are all members of the Rebel Agency, the envy of house and techno DJs worldwide. As a DJ, he has mixed pioneering Rebel Futurism, Bugged Out, Sci:Fi:Lo:Fi 2 and Fabric compilations, all of which set the benchmark for electronic music at the time. In 2009 he released his album ‘Smoke The Monster Out’. True to form, it was a unique piece of work, infused with Damian’s devious sense of humour and vivid, childlike imagination: a clear statement in his belief that an artist’s personality should be heard on a record. Mixmag spoke to Damian a week before he set off for the Burning Man festival, Texas...

Are you excited about Burning Man?

Myself, Jamie Jones, Art Department, Deniz Kurtel, Magda, and Heidi are all doing a Crosstown Rebels party. I was there last year too, and I lapped up every second of it. It took me so long to actually go, but once I did I felt like I’d arrived at a place to fulfill my wildest fantasies and beyond. Chances are I’m going to turn into one of my alter egos for the full seven days. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to be Damian Lazarus or not.

Does this tie in with your penchant for fancy dress?

I do like playing dress-up. I think it harks back to when I was a kid and I was cast as the wizard in The Wizard of Oz. But at Burning Man it’s interesting because you’re at one with the elements in the desert: ridiculously hot by day and stupidly cold by night. In between you might even get a sandstorm. I’m thinking a long and flowing desert dress will do the job.

Last year was your first time?

Yes, when I was working at Dazed & Confused I got invited to go and review it for the magazine but I had a family commitment and couldn’t go. I’ve regretted it ever since. It’s an arts festival, not just music. Thousands of artists creating a community, a universe even, but with some order amongst the chaos.

Where do you stand on the US dance music explosion? You recently tweeted about the horrors of caps with ‘dubstep’ on.

The problem with America is that there isn’t the history of rave that we have. As a nation, they didn’t have the underground M25 and warehouse scenes, so they’re coming in from a different angle. The kids in America are coming to it via the commercial dance bands, psy-trance and what they call EDM as opposed to house and techno. It’s a case of slowly and surely showing people where we’ve come from, so it’s not such a culture shock. That’s what I’ve tried to do with the Rebel Rave films: show people what we bring to a party.

Why does it matter if people aren’t into what you’d say is ‘good’ music?

Well, it doesn’t if you’re not interested in hearing fresh new music. In that case you’re not going to come and see us. That’s fine, go see the same old faces and names, but personally I like new exciting music. I’m never worried about drawing the ‘wrong’ crowd, because if they’re wanting to put their hands in the air every two minutes they ain’t going to last long.

Any interesting adventures recently?

I just did Peru and Santa Domingo in twenty-two hours.

How did you cope with that?

I drank a lot of Jägermeister before getting on the plane. The lonely life of a travelling DJ!

We would have thought you’d have an entourage!

I’ve got a dog that travels with me quite a bit, Nikito. He’s half sausage dog and half Chihuahua. He’s fucking cool. I took him to a gig in Mexico the other week. Obviously he had to stay in the hotel. It’s a bit like having a child, actually. I never realised how much energy you have to give to a dog. I like it. I’ve also got four cats. I’ve never really been into dogs, but I saw him in the animal rescue that I volunteer in.

You looked into his eyes and you knew he was the one.

Pretty much. Puppy love.

What have we got to look forward to from the Rebel camp?

Our current roster of Maceo Plex, Jamie Jones and Deniz Kurtel have all had an incredible year, but also we’ve got some new talent coming in. Look out for Amirali. You can hear his first track on ‘Get Lost 4’. Plus we have two guys from Venezuela called Fur Coat and a new act called Mother of Seven.

Where did you find these guys?

I’m on it every day. I’m always being sent new music, talking to friends about new projects; it takes up all my time, but the payoff is I find some great new acts.

The position you’re in, at the fore-front of cutting edge music – do you ever find it stressful to have to be ahead of the game?

Of course. Fortunately, I’m still really driven. If I wasn’t I couldn’t do it, but I’m proud of my label and the people I work with. We’ve built a strong family. We party together, go through issues together. It’s important to me.

You were assistant editor of Dazed & Confused and then left to pursue a career in music. Our very own Gavin Herlihy left Mixmag and is now releasing tunes on Cocoon. In your experience, do most music journalists want to be DJs?
 No, but I think there are a lot of wannabe DJs and musicians who become music critics, and they don’t always see the value in writing creatively about music. There are a few great writers out there, but most people take ‘route one’ when writing an album review or an interview. Personally, I’m about thinking outside the box and poking around in the psyches of DJs. People talk about the lack of personalities in dance music. But I think maybe it’s a case of the journalists not asking the right questions.

How have we done?

You’ve delved. But for example, after reading my tweets you could’ve sent 100 of them to a psychiatrist and seen what he came back with.

Hey, psychiatrists don’t come cheap! But it’s a good idea, we may use it... Imagine an imaginary ink blot. What do you see?

A butterfly.

What does that say about you?

I wish I knew!

mardi 27 septembre 2011



Crosstown Rebels iconic catalogue knows no bounds and without relenting for a moment, the label now bestows the next masterful creation from none other than Mathew Jonson. ‘Dayz’ is a trip down epic electronic pathways; tunnelling deep bass atmospherics and closing with a heavy-duty rework by bass don DBridge.
It is with immense pleasure that Damian Lazarus has bagged Mathew Jonson, one of his all time favourite producers to deliver a full solo release for Rebels after he provided the astounding, genre-busting remix to Hiem´s ‘She’s The One’ back in 2004. A-side ‘Dayz’ is classic Jonson. Meandering, modulated synth lines build into an epic electronic orchestra of warm fuzzy strings and ambient melody all padded with an intricate carpeting of shimmering percussion and molten bleeps. Intricate digressions keep the listener rapt but for all the complexity of ‘Dayz’, Jonson creates a theme that is beautifully simple. It’s impossible not to be swept away on his sonic wave.
B-Side ‘Cold Blooded’ has a stomping bass beat and funk strutting bassline punching through the spacey sequencing and swirling synth strokes. Resounding sub-bass darkens the mood, engulfing the backdrop of rhythmic drumming; this is a real heads down warehouse masterpiece that will hypnotise the crowd.
Drum and bass pioneer DBridge was a mutual choice of remixer for Lazarus and Jonson both being huge drum and bass fans back in the day. Dbridge is now known for his excursions in hip-hop and electronic dubstep and here, the London born producer transforms ‘Cold Blooded’ into a deep and languorous trip into dubby 2-step terrain. The mood is soporific and heavy with the spiralling motif of the melody whistling through the misty atmospherics. Whispered vocals add to the spookiness but the overall sound is full of 90s tripped out nostalgia.
Mathew Jonson needs little introduction. A legend with one of the most distinctive voices in the industry, whose made forays into jazz, house, fusion, techno and all aspects of electronic music, the Canadian born, Berlin based producer epitomises refined musicianship, stylistic innovation and artistry. Co-founding the Wagon Repair label and participating in the Modern Deep Left Quartet and Cobblestone Jazz, Jonson is responsible for some game-changing tracks including ‘Marionette’, ‘Symphony for the Apocalypse’ and most recently, the revered come back ‘Learning To Fly’ on m_nus. Jonson is still proving he’s in a class of his own.

  • Label: Crosstown Rebels
  • Cat no: CRM085
  • Web:
  • Distribution: Above Board Distribution
  • Released: Mon Nov 7th, 2011
  • Link to the tracks

    lundi 26 septembre 2011


    2011 has been a big year for Damian Lazarus' label, with albums from Art Department, Deniz Kurtel and Maceo Plex and the return of the Get Lost mix series, plus the usual gaggle of party-friendly 12-inches. Rebel Rave 2 collects highlights from the past 12 months or so, and presents one new and exclusive track: an Art Department remix of "Paradise" by Jamie Jones. Topping it off is a mix from Droog, the LA trio behind the label Culprit and its related Sunday afternoon party, Culprit Sessions, which has brought plenty of Crosstown Rebels artists to the scenic dance floor on the Standard Hotel Rooftop. They follow suit with a mix of recent label favorites.

    01. Art Department - Without You
    02. Guti & Dubshape - Every Cow Has A Bird
    03. James What - About Love
    04. Russ Yallop - Rock Me
    05. Jamie Jones feat. Ost & Kjex – Summertime (Jones & James Dub)
    06. Fur Coat feat. Argenis Brito – Space Ballad (Totally Enormous Extinct
    Dinosaurs Remix)
    07. Subb-an feat Anomaly Jones – Misleading
    08. The Model feat. My Favorite Robot – Still In My Heart (Ivan Smagghe's Remix)
    09. Pezzner feat Gryffyn - Try It Again
    10. Maceo Plex - Vibe Your Love (Zev Southern Sunrise Rework)
    11. Deniz Kurtel feat. Mykle Anthony - Best Of (Deniz's Freestyle Version)

    01. Inxec vs Droog - Westbound
    02. Jamie Jones - Paradise (Art Dept Remix) EXCLUSIVE
    03. Deniz Kurtel feat. Jada – The L Word (Guy Gerber Countryside Remix)
    04. Solomon – Daddy's Jam
    05. Quenum – Woman Talk About Woman
    06. Russ Yallop - Crossroads (Fur Coat Remix)
    07. Maceo Plex - Can't Leave You
    08. Martin Dawson & Glimpse - No One Belongs Here More Than You
    09. Dan Berkson – Anything For You
    10. Damian Lazarus - Different Now
    11. Art Department feat Soul Clap & Osunlade - We Call Love (DJ Harvey Mix)

    CD3: Mixed by Droog
    01. Deniz Kurtel feat. Leza Boyland - Music Watching Over Me
    02. Art Department feat. Seth Troxler - Living The Life (ABA Therapy Version)
    03. Maceo Plex - Your Style (Maya Jane Coles Remix) / James What - About Love
    04. Riz MC - Radar (Loco In A Box Remix)
    05. Solomun - Daddy's Jam / Fur Coat feat. Argenis Brito - Space Ballad
    06. Russ Yallop - I Can't Wait
    07. Russ Yallop - Crossroads (Fur Coat Remix)
    08. Art Department Feat. Soul Clap & Osunlade - We Call Love (DJ Harvey Remix)
    09. Damian Lazarus - Different Now (Art Department Remix)
    10. Jimmy Maheras - Space Jam (Matt Tolfrey Remix)
    11. Inxec v. Droog - Westbound
    12. Subb-an - Positive Expression (Dub) / Dan Berkson - Anything For You
    13. Deniz Kurtel feat. Mykle Anthony - Best Of (Dixon Remix)
    14. Maceo Plex - Can't Leave You
    15. Quenum - My Baby Face / The Model feat. My Favorite Robot - Still In My
    Heart (Acapella)
    16. Martin Dawson & Glimpse - No One Belongs Here More Than You (Ewan Pearson Remix)

    Crosstown Rebels will release Rebel Rave 2 in November 2011.

    vendredi 23 septembre 2011



    2011 has been the best year so far for arguably the world’s best underground dance label, Crosstown Rebels. Having released incredible artist albums by Maceo Plex, Deniz Kurtel & Art Department and the sublime ‘Get Lost 4’ mixed by Damian Lazarus, they now release Rebel Rave 2 as a compendium to their most prolific year to date. The album showcases highlights from the year over two discs and features a stunning DJ mix on CD3 mixed by high flying LA threepiece collective Droog.
    Rebel Rave returns with another three discs of upfront material from the Crosstown Rebels recent catalogue, in a similar format to the first edition. Featuring some of the most ground-breaking, critically acclaimed and widely loved singles from the Crosstown stable this year; from label stalwarts Jamie Jones, Glimpse, Deniz Kurtel, Dan Berkson and head honcho Damian Lazarus, to a sea of new faces in Russ Yallop, Fur Coat and Subb-an, and outstanding contributions from two of this year biggest artists Maceo Plex and Art Department plus huge releases from Guti & Dubshape, Solomun, James What, Inxec & Droog.
    The collection is a great barometer to Crosstown’s triumphant year. The first two discs are unmixed and span buried B-sides, reedits and remixes from some of this year’s biggest releases, featuring work by some inspirational producers such as DJ Harvey, Guy Gerber, Maya Jane Coles, Dixon, Ewan Pearson, Ivan Smagghe, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Zev (Wolf + Lamb) and many more. Disc three is a superb mix of highlights and fresh material from the imprint sonically sculptured together by LA’s Droog. Hypnotic and alluring, vibrant and exciting, this timeless journey cements a victorious year for both the imprint, and its expanding family of artists.
    Born in 2008 as a prolific film series that follows some of the most charismatic and formidable characters of the underground dance music scene as their career takes them around the globe (, Rebel Rave has become a benchmark for a new coming of age for house and techno music. Put together by global pioneers of the industry, Crosstown Rebels, Rebel Rave is a beacon of kudos, keeping a foot firmly in the underground while carving its own path into the mainstream.
    The first compilation came from Clive Henry and for the second episode we meet Droog, a unique three piece collective from Lazarus’ new home in Los Angeles. Droog are Andrei Osyka, Brett Griffin and Justin Sloe, a dynamic trio of producers, DJs and music lovers that have set about instilling their passion into their beat hungry West Coast environment. Droog are behind the infamous rooftop soirees at LA’s Standard hotel that brought the elite of house and techno to the city for the first time.
    Now regularly showcasing the best talent and with Steve Bug, Magda, Dixon and Soul Clap all big fans of the series, Culprit sessions are undoubtedly the superior event in LA for cutting edge music. In 2009, Droog started their Culprit label, initiated with the debut release from Hot Natured. Since then it has supported the careers of local talent such as Kenneth James Gibson and Lee Foss (before his relocation to London) and brought early releases from Matt Tolfrey & Inxec and Ovum star M A N I K.
    Damian Lazarus established Crosstown Rebels 8 years ago and has created a covert force of nature that continues to dig up new talent and future heroes. Rebel Rave is the label’s flagship calling card and an annual celebration of its achievements to date. Rebel Rave marks the close of 2011 for Crosstown Rebels, while next year promises to be an yet more prolific, with new albums from Jamie Jones, Maceo Plex, Art Department & Deniz Kurtel, as well as debut albums from Fur Coat, Amirali and many other exciting new projects.

  • Label: Crosstown Rebels
  • Cat no: CRMCD016
  • Web:
  • Distribution: Above Board Distribution
  • Released: Mon Nov 28th, 2011
  • dimanche 11 septembre 2011


    Crosstown Rebels turn up the heat with Luca Bacchetti’s sensational ‘Tango’, a record setting dancefloors ablaze with its raw passion and drive, presented here with an inspired ‘Voodoo Remix’ from Venezuelan producer Eduardo Castillo.
    Luca Bacchetti is without doubt one of the best-known Italian DJ/producers on the global scene. His productions are a window to his soul and his extensive musical background has informed an ambitious and inventive style. With quality output on key labels Ovum, Wagon Repair, Hideout, and now Crosstown Rebels, the emphasis is always on creativity and pushing the envelope. ‘Tango’ comes at a crucial phase of personal and artistic development. It highlights a longing for the element of surprise in music and the need to convey that essential ingredient, passion.
    As an Italian, Luca has always felt a particular closeness with South America and the passionate disposition embedded in the culture is part of that bond. It´s the connection between Victor Hugo Morales, Juan Gelman, Diego Armando Maradona, and the Tango: passion, imagination, elegance, emotion, energy. These qualities are also the essence of a Bacchetti production.
    As Luca puts it, "Over the last year I was getting bored with a lot of what I was hearing, the blandness was making me uncomfortable so I began to feel the need to break away, travel, and find a way to look inside and reach back to my roots, to something passionate. The music scene is like the thermometer of society at large and the Tango in particular has always fascinated me with its sensuality and energy".
    The original ‘Tango’ is indeed a sensual yet playful ride. Textured with propulsive rhythms, a teasing b-line, haunting melodies, trembling keys and traditional percussive flair, ‘Tango’ is lighting up dancefloors at the hands of label boss Damian Lazarus and is sure to captivate all with its Latin-inspired grooves and sexy, driving kick. LA based Eduardo Castillo delivers an ingenious interpretation in the aptly named ‘Voodoo Remix’ at first stripping down the groove then fanning the flames with emotive strings, the snake-charming effect of his own authentic voice echoing throughout. Seduction incarnate and a worthy contender for Crosstown track of the year.

  • Label: Crosstown Rebels
  • Cat no: CRM084
  • Web:
  • Distribution: Above Board Distribution
  • Released: Mon Oct 24th, 2011
  • Link to the tracks

    jeudi 1 septembre 2011



    Next up on Crosstown Rebels offshoot label RebelLION is London-based producer Tim Green, showcasing his range with an EP crossing disco with deep house grooves.
    A-side ‘Cherry’ is Tim’s own twist on the disco sound paired with a deeper vibe and pitched-down tempo. The rhythmic cowbells, infectious R&B vocal stylings and swinging groove are pure summer funkiness.
    On the flip, ‘Swamp Girl’ is a quirky houser, with popping synths, old school vocal bits and a cheeky bounce. The bubbling bassline underpins the dirty groove and spacey FX and off-kilter drums provide the twists. Both tracks have been getting love from the Rebel camp, featuring in the sets of Damian Lazarus, Jamie Jones and Seth Troxler.
    Tim Green is a producer who aims to try something different each time he enters the studio, avoiding the confines of one style and producing a catalogue of massive house records as a result. With new releases on world class labels Cocoon, Get Physical and RebelLION in 2011 alone as well as remixes for Friendly Fires and M.A.N.D.Y, Tim is also highly in demand as a DJ, circling the globe as a regular at Watergate Berlin, Womb Tokyo, Rex Club Paris and of course home turf, fabric.
    Following in the footsteps of its grown up cousin Crosstown Rebels, RebelLION continues to back a diverse range of electronic artists of the highest calibre from around the globe.

    Link to the tracks


    Ask anyone who the best independent electronic UK label is and those with eyes and ears will pick Crosstown Rebels.
    London-born Damian Lazarus has always been an instrumental member of the dance music community – he was responsible for bringing electro-clash to a wider audience when he signed its reigning anthems, Felix Da Housecat’s Silver Screen Shower Scene and Tiga and Zyntherius’s Sunglasses at Night, in the early noughties.
    But it is with this later imprint that Lazarus has captured the ears and hearts of underground electronic music fans around the world. Since he relocated to Los Angeles in 2009, Crosstown Rebels has become an unstoppable futuristic dance force, with ice-cool house-driven acts like Jamie Jones, the Visionquest collective, Art Department and Deniz Kurtel.
    This month they’re doing their best to set it all ablaze as they head for the Nevada desert, to Burning Man, next week. But not before they throw another of their legendary Get Lost parties at The Music Box in Hollywood on Saturday. And, of course, there’s a new Lazpod to prepare you for it all...

    Hi Damian. What are you doing at Burning Man this year?
    Last year, the first time we went, we had some friends that were getting married in the desert who had organised a camp for everyone. But this time I decided in my ultimate wisdom that we should build our own camp. I’ve got 80 friends from all over the world joining us and helping to build it. We were inspired by the movie ‘Liquid Sky’, which is a very bizarre 1980s New York-set fashion movie: it has some amazing outfits and incredible dance moves and we’re recreating those and the set. We’re also doing a ‘Liquid Sky’ versus the Robot Heart party – Robot Heart are from San Francisco and they have a $1.5m soundsystem on the back of a truck. That’s going to be with me, Jamie Jones, Deniz Kurtel live, Art Department and the full Crosstown Rebels crew.

    It sounds like quite an undertaking...
    It really is. This has been 365 days in the making. We started getting it together as soon as we got back from Burning Man last year. I also started to formulate the next Lazpod, which came out this week: it’s my ode to the desert. There were a few people that were going to come with us this year, actually, like Richie Hawtin and Ali Dubfire, but they both bottled it! A week in the desert isn’t for everyone, it’s like living with and being at the mercy of the elements, and you have to be really prepared.

    It doesn’t seem like many discerning electronic artists have played there in the past…
     First of all, it’s an arts festival, not like a music festival. Musically, the place never seemed to be that bothered about pushing music. It’s only a few of us party people, those who like to experience something different, that have been going. I think Lee Burridge was going out there a lot and he was really instrumental in getting me to try it out. And we’re now starting to bring our crews and put parties on. Hot Natured, Wolf + Lamb, Visionquest – we’re all doing something this year at Burning Man.

    Are you doing anything special in your camp?
    We’ll have art installations, a soundsystem, a free cocktail bar, a hammock forest area, a golden pyramid in which this guy, Dr. Whiskers, is going to hold an advice surgery and Mr C is doing morning meditation classes. I know it sounds really hippy but you’ll have to see how it’s being presented: it’s all really futuristic shit.

    And Get Lost is the warm-up. How has that party become so legendary?
    I started Get Lost six years ago in Miami – I wanted to have our own party for the Winter Music Conference to represent the sound of Crosstown Rebels when we were just a young, fledgling label and it has grown to become part of the staple diet of the underground parties at WMC. The original idea of Get Lost was very heady, very trippy – it came after a summer of, err, experimentation. So for this one, we’ve got a new venue, The Music Box, which is the old Henry Fonda theatre in Hollywood. I’ve been working with three different artists for it: the third person is creating a custom-made DJ booth for us to use. He made me something before with monsters in cables and weird taxidermy coming out of the DJ booth and smoke machines behind it. It’s just the attention to detail that makes this party really special.

    You’ve said in interviews that Crosstown Rebels sets the agenda for the future of dance music. What does that look like right now?
    It’s exciting. I’m about to introduce three or four brand new acts, artists that people have never heard before, that I’ve signed. So while we’ve still got our key artists on board making music – there’s going to be a new Jamie Jones album next year, something from Deniz Kurtel and Art Department together and there’s a new Maceo Plex album coming out – I’ve got these brand new artists with albums about to drop too.

    What does it take to become a family member?
    You have to have a good smile!