As opposed to the conforms of society, there’s something enticing and interesting about the word “dirty” – dirty martinis, dirty talk, jeans that have the remnants of the day (or week, depending on your laundry habit), streets that are less than pristine, dive bars with aromas from decades of human interaction, joy and pain. This applies to dance music as well. When you hear the word “dirty” you immediately think of that carnal beat, the human heart pace that can raise the dead and get even the gloomiest funeral directors or Mormon doorknockers in the mood to move.
Damian Lazarus has built his devilish reputation for dirty beats over the years, stretching his sound from London to Singapore, Berlin to Mexico, the infamous Ibiza to the U.S., and in other spots around the globe. Starting with his Bugged Out party in Manchester back in the day, circa 1994, he quickly became a force to be reckoned with, and as his career bloomed he brought many with him into the scene including well known names like Felix Da Housecat and Miss Kitten.
The move to create his own label was a natural progression for Lazarus, and thus he launched City Rockers, putting himself in charge of A&R to continue his search for the diamonds in the rough. Since then he’s signed Felix and released a club favorite “Silver Screen,” Coloursound and Tiga singles, along with compiling his highly acclaimed Futurism 1 and 2 compilations.
At this year’s Winter Music Conference he wowed the sweaty patrons, and right in time for summer keeps the vibe going with another Bugged Out series release, Suck My Deck. It’s always good to warm out and stretch before you start doing the high kicks on the dancefloor. So with respect to safety, Lazarus slowly cranks the heat with a nod to electro via Ricardo Villalobos’ remix of Thomas Dolby’s “One of our Submarines.” You can picture in your mind the twinkling lights from the deck of the Starship Enterprise as “99 & A Half” makes its way from the speakers, then it’s time to get down and dirty when “Into Your Life” turns up the heat even more. But is the last track “Don’t Save Us > From The Flames” that had me hitting the repeat button as the glossy, provacative vocals sway with the sexy, pulsating rhythms.
What Lazarus looks for in emerging producers and DJs is obviously tied tightly to his own passions: electro funk, dirty beats, innovative techno with soul, and that irresistible hook. A look at the future with a hand held tight to the past while amassing a rebellious attack on the tunes of the present. In this state of mediocrity within the mainstream, it is the underground artists like Lazarus that remind us that the beauty that lies within the human mind and spirit is not extinct.