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Damian Lazarus Goes Deep About His New Album, Brings in Jamie Jones to Remix "Vermillion"

"I am hoping it will be heard across many galaxies and alternative realities by both the living and the dead."

Damian Lazarus is dance music's leading shaman. Through his Crosstown Rebels label, a never-ending tidepool for immersive, psychedelic techno, as well as a busy schedule of mystical, picturesque sunrise-lifting events like Get Lost (his 24 hour party marathon that just hit Miami for its 10th session) and Day Zero, which often rings in the New Year in Mexico—he brings the trippy to techno better than anyone.

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Now Lazarus is gearing up for his most immersive, out-there projects yet, the release of an album entitled A Message From The Other Side, under the name Damian Lazarus & The Ancient Moons. It was recorded with a heap of special artists from around the globe, including a powerful helping hand from James Ford (of Simian Mobile Disco), and now, finally, performed live with an entire worldly outfit. The album's lead single, "Vermillion" was already pegged an Essential New Tune by Pete Tong, and aptly displays the album's directive—to blast listeners' mind to a new dimension.

Damian Lazarus is dance music's leading shaman. Through his Crosstown Rebels label, a never-ending tidepool for immersive, psychedelic techno, as well as a busy schedule of mystical, picturesque sunrise-lifting events like Get Lost (his 24 hour party marathon that just hit Miami for its 10th session) and Day Zero, which often rings in the New Year in Mexico—he brings the trippy to techno better than anyone.

Now Lazarus is gearing up for his most immersive, out-there projects yet, the release of an album entitled A Message From The Other Side, under the name Damian Lazarus & The Ancient Moons. It was recorded with a heap of special artists from around the globe, including a powerful helping hand from James Ford (of Simian Mobile Disco), and now, finally, performed live with an entire worldly outfit. The album's lead single, "Vermillion" was already pegged an Essential New Tune by Pete Tong, and aptly displays the album's directive—to blast listeners' mind to a new dimension.

Now, to give the massive track a bit more of an afterglow, Jamie Jones has lent his own envisioning of the tune, one full of rapid, brain-swirling tones that only further its intoxicating vibe. While you listen to the remix exclusively above, check out some more about what Lazarus had to say about the album, which drops May 18.


A Message From The Other Side

THUMP: When did the idea for the band and album first come to you and who was the first person you discussed it with?
Damian Lazarus: During the recording of the album, I was using a modular synth to make and effect sounds and turned to James Ford who suggested I could use such a machine like this on stage with a band. It's a scary proposition because the modular can be a little erratic and have a mind of its own, but I love challenges.

You've used your own vocals in your tracks before, but this is obviously something much more immersive. Did you fear it could be a train wreck?
Like I said I enjoy challenges and am not known for taking the easy route with anything. I am the first to admit that I do not have the best singing voice but I feel that when it's your own music, the most honest and true you can be is to put your own voice in it. With the album, I put my voice firmly in the background, but it's there doing its thing.

You're a master of taking listeners on journeys. How is this one different than what you've been doing for your entire career?
This is the natural progression for me. I feel like all the planets have aligned to help me put this new project together, so in a way, there has been some kind of cosmic trajectory in the making of Message from the Other Side.

The album seems to have inspirations pulled from all over the world, which makes sense seeing you've DJ'd everywhere. Can you describe some of the places that had influence on the project?
There are musicians featured on the album from places like Egypt, Pakistan and Nigeria—I feel quite blessed to have the opportunity to travel to so many beautiful places around the world and I have been very lucky to collaborate with so many amazing artists. Traveling the world as a DJ can be very inspiring if you have the time to look around on your trips outside of the usual airport-hotel-club-hotel-airport combination.

I recorded quite a lot of the album in a place called Casa del Arbol (House of the Trees), just north of Mexico City, which is a very spiritual and special retreat, as well as the Yucatan Symphony Orchestra in Merida. Mexico has always held a special place in my heart and I am continually drawn there.

Image courtesy of Hellodf.com

How do many of the captivating events you do every year play into the ethos of the LP? It really seems made for the divinity of the sunrise...
Exactly. I took some time to consider where I have got to in my life, what have I become and how. I realized that I feel most comfortable and artistic when DJing outside in the open air, under the stars, to the backdrop of a rising moon or setting sun. I wanted to write an album that encapsulated these moments, that brought together night and day, dark and light, and the connections between us humans and the spirits.

What type of pleasures have you got so far from performing with band versus DJing?
We've have only performed three shows so far but I am absolutely loving it. In Zulu, Rob and Ben I have found three perfect musicians and the energy we are creating as The Ancient Moons is super powerful. After years of traveling the world alone with just my records, USB sticks and a pair of headphones, I now have a superb team of seven or eight people, shit loads of gear and an opportunity to share the stage with these guys and create magic together.

How did the onstage outfits come together? They're amazing.
Actually they are the creations of my girlfriend, Elisa Ciolli, who has been working on a collection for Crosstown Rebels. We discussed the look of the Ancient Moons and after much research and global fabric shopping, she came up with a number of costumes that we will be wearing on stage. The two of us love to dress up when we go out so making our own stuff is a natural extension. I should add that my favorite shoe designer, Bruno Bordese, and I collaborated on the shoes.

Is there a narrative of sorts running through the album that appears when listened straight through?
I hope that people will take the time to listen to the album from beginning to end, it sounds pretty lame but it really is something of a psychedelic "journey". I don't want to give too much away but there are so many interesting and exciting moments on the album and often these moments are very subtle and requires deep concentration, or at least an hour of relaxation.

Is the album title a reference to such psychedelic experiences? Or talking to the dead? Or both!
This is an album to experience in whatever dimension you may be in. I am hoping it will be heard across many galaxies and alternative realities by both the living and the dead.

Damian Lazarus is on Facebook

Message From The Other Side:
1. House Of The Hidden Places
2. Adventures Of The Ancient Moons
3. Vermillion
4. Amber Palace
5. Lovers' Eyes (Mohe Pi Ki Najriya)
6. Inner Core
7. Message From The Other Side
8. Trouble At The Seance (Edit)
9. We Will Return
10. Sacred Dance Of The Demon
11. Eyes Won't Let Me Hide
12. Create The Age
13. Tangled Web
14. Vermillion (Reprise)

Now, to give the massive track a bit more of an afterglow, Jamie Jones has lent his own envisioning of the tune, one full of rapid, brain-swirling tones that only further its intoxicating vibe. While you listen to the remix exclusively above, check out some more about what Lazarus had to say about the album, which drops May 18.

A Message From The Other Side

THUMP: When did the idea for the band and album first come to you and who was the first person you discussed it with?
Damian Lazarus: During the recording of the album, I was using a modular synth to make and effect sounds and turned to James Ford who suggested I could use such a machine like this on stage with a band. It's a scary proposition because the modular can be a little erratic and have a mind of its own, but I love challenges.

You've used your own vocals in your tracks before, but this is obviously something much more immersive. Did you fear it could be a train wreck?
Like I said I enjoy challenges and am not known for taking the easy route with anything. I am the first to admit that I do not have the best singing voice but I feel that when it's your own music, the most honest and true you can be is to put your own voice in it. With the album, I put my voice firmly in the background, but it's there doing its thing.

Advertisement

You're a master of taking listeners on journeys. How is this one different than what you've been doing for your entire career?
This is the natural progression for me. I feel like all the planets have aligned to help me put this new project together, so in a way, there has been some kind of cosmic trajectory in the making of Message from the Other Side.

The album seems to have inspirations pulled from all over the world, which makes sense seeing you've DJ'd everywhere. Can you describe some of the places that had influence on the project?
There are musicians featured on the album from places like Egypt, Pakistan and Nigeria—I feel quite blessed to have the opportunity to travel to so many beautiful places around the world and I have been very lucky to collaborate with so many amazing artists. Traveling the world as a DJ can be very inspiring if you have the time to look around on your trips outside of the usual airport-hotel-club-hotel-airport combination.

I recorded quite a lot of the album in a place called Casa del Arbol (House of the Trees), just north of Mexico City, which is a very spiritual and special retreat, as well as the Yucatan Symphony Orchestra in Merida. Mexico has always held a special place in my heart and I am continually drawn there.

Image courtesy of Hellodf.com

How do many of the captivating events you do every year play into the ethos of the LP? It really seems made for the divinity of the sunrise…
Exactly. I took some time to consider where I have got to in my life, what have I become and how. I realized that I feel most comfortable and artistic when DJing outside in the open air, under the stars, to the backdrop of a rising moon or setting sun. I wanted to write an album that encapsulated these moments, that brought together night and day, dark and light, and the connections between us humans and the spirits.

Advertisement

What type of pleasures have you got so far from performing with band versus DJing?
We've have only performed three shows so far but I am absolutely loving it. In Zulu, Rob and Ben I have found three perfect musicians and the energy we are creating as The Ancient Moons is super powerful. After years of traveling the world alone with just my records, USB sticks and a pair of headphones, I now have a superb team of seven or eight people, shit loads of gear and an opportunity to share the stage with these guys and create magic together.

How did the onstage outfits come together? They're amazing.
Actually they are the creations of my girlfriend, Elisa Ciolli, who has been working on a collection for Crosstown Rebels. We discussed the look of the Ancient Moons and after much research and global fabric shopping, she came up with a number of costumes that we will be wearing on stage. The two of us love to dress up when we go out so making our own stuff is a natural extension. I should add that my favorite shoe designer, Bruno Bordese, and I collaborated on the shoes.

Is there a narrative of sorts running through the album that appears when listened straight through?
I hope that people will take the time to listen to the album from beginning to end, it sounds pretty lame but it really is something of a psychedelic "journey". I don't want to give too much away but there are so many interesting and exciting moments on the album and often these moments are very subtle and requires deep concentration, or at least an hour of relaxation.

Is the album title a reference to such psychedelic experiences? Or talking to the dead? Or both!
This is an album to experience in whatever dimension you may be in. I am hoping it will be heard across many galaxies and alternative realities by both the living and the dead.

Damian Lazarus is on Facebook

Message From The Other Side:
1. House Of The Hidden Places
2. Adventures Of The Ancient Moons
3. Vermillion
4. Amber Palace
5. Lovers' Eyes (Mohe Pi Ki Najriya)
6. Inner Core
7. Message From The Other Side
8. Trouble At The Seance (Edit)
9. We Will Return
10. Sacred Dance Of The Demon
11. Eyes Won't Let Me Hide
12. Create The Age
13. Tangled Web
14. Vermillion (Reprise)