Damian Lazarus, purveyor of strange dance tunes, tells Time Out about death-defying stunts
What’s all this ‘Lazarus’ business? Have you risen from the dead? There were some complications during my mother’s pregnancy and, as I was delivered into the world, the umbilical cord wrapped tightly around my neck. I didn’t breathe for two entire minutes – apparently it was something of a miracle that I survived. Since then there have been a few near-death experiences in my life, so we will just have to wait and see what happens next.
Yikes – let’s move on, then. What was the last great tune you heard? I’m going to opt for the truth here rather than trying to be overly cool… in the car yesterday, as I was driving from Los Angeles’ LAX airport, I heard a track by Andy Gibb from The Bee Gees called ‘I Just Want To Be Your Everything’ and I must confess it had me in a happy sweat, with one arm raised out the window. Tune!
Do you often have to defend your taste in music? I like such a wide range of music that this does happen every now and then. The Lazpod podcast shows I make [www.lazpod.com] are a great way for me to really experiment and play music that people don’t necessarily associate with me. And every now and then some narrow-minded individual will suggest I stick to playing techno and not ‘all this weird nonsense’. I tend not to respond, but it does annoy me nevertheless.
Be honest now – how badly does this stuff get to you? I do actually dream about DJing and often these dreams are not pleasant. I dreamed recently that I was playing at a huge warehouse rave and I turned up with completely the wrong box of records. On realising my mistake, I tried to run home from the party, but got caught up in some violent clashes outside the venue and narrowly missed being run over by a car that was speeding towards me on fire. Maybe if I just went and used my laptop to play music this kind of thing wouldn’t happen?
So do you ever think about doing something less stressful? Not sure I ever have, really. I love it too much. Just last week I was actually reminded why: DJing at an after-hours party with a room full of friends and appreciative music lovers, playing twisted, weird techno tunes alongside funk and soul tracks and somehow making it work together. People were clapping, cheering and dancing, and all of us were feeling good about life for a few precious hours. Why would you want to give that up?
Tell us about your latest production. My current single is ‘Neverending’, the last track I wrote and completed for my debut album. I wrote it while at a significant moment in my life when things were looking pretty weird and I am very happy that it came out as good as it did. I’ve been working on other tracks since then, but it is all a long way off from being complete.
Let’s step away from DJing – what about, say, food? What’s the strangest meal you’ve eaten? I felt extremely adventurous during a Japanese tour last month when I decided to join my dinner companions in eating live sushi. I’m generally pretty squeamish and this isn’t usually my thing, but I must say I did get a kick out munching on a wriggling octopus tentacle. I followed this by drinking habu saki, which is saki fermented over a period of time inside a large jar containing a cobra snake. I guess I’ll remember that one for a while.
What was the last time you cried with happiness? Hmmm, actually I like a good cry but I can’t remember the last time. The worst one is when you find yourself watching some ridiculous romcom on a plane because there’s nothing else on and you accidentally let a little tear fall for no apparent reason. I hate that. It makes me feel awful that some Hollywood jerk has managed to suck me in to their rubbish. Or maybe it’s just cabin fever. Who knows?
Finally, we heard that you’re given to death-defying stunts… I guess you saw the video [www.tinyurl.com] I made the other week when I launched myself off a very high balcony? Ah, things to do in LA when it rains…
It's always good to see the Bee Gees mentioned in any article, but Lazarus should know that Andy Gibb wasn't a Bee Gee. He was their younger brother, and while they wrote and sang backup on many of his songs, he was a solo artist and not a member of his brothers' group.