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The day before Damian Lazarus’s new album “Flourish” dropped in September, we hopped on Zoom to speak with the musician. From the Tuscan countryside, he watched the sun go down, reflecting with us about the past few months. After a vigorous tour, and performing over 150 times last year alone, he decided it was time to take a break. His hectic travel schedule wasn’t allowing him to take stock of what truly mattered—global issues, taking care of himself, and watching his family grow.
At the top of this year, he checked into a medical center in the Swiss Alps to detox. He partook in daily health screenings, operated on a liquid diet, swam, and took time to reflect. He began to see through the haze, and lyrically started writing the album “Flourish” before returning home to Tuscany to continue. The months that followed were tough, with Italy becoming one of the first countries hardest hit by COVID-19.
“The thing I was actually looking forward to was taking stock and resetting. By being in nature, by watching my kids grow up—they’re two and four—and by being at home, I was able to see what I’m happy with and proud of and share it with them. I watched things grow, helped things grow, and just chilled. It made me realize this is the moment to reset and there will be a better future. There has to be,” he said. “That’s when I wrote ‘Into the Sun,’ which started to turn things around for me. Once I realized I had something beautiful and uplifting, yet still with a bit of that edginess and darkness, I looked at some music I was previously making that was really dark and realized how I could brighten the mood a bit.
Taking stock of what is important also allowed Lazarus to reflect on his emphasis of fostering community and propelling sustainable practices. He spoke of his festivals like Day Zero and Get Lost as spaces to “bring a community of like-minded people who like the music together” and acknowledged it as a place for “togetherness.” And although both festivals are physically canceled this year due to the ongoing pandemic, he wants his supporters to know he’s still there for them.
“With the label and the music I release, it’s a reminder to the community that I’m still there looking out for them,” Lazarus added. “If we can’t be partying together every week, I can feed you gifts of music that I’m finding or making to help you feel like you’re still a part of this family—make people feel like they’re involved in something positive and forward-thinking.”
The positive feelings and futurist approach Lazarus imbeds into his events is continuing to strengthen with new vision. At his festivals, he highlights the importance of sustainability by enforcing greener rules—from recycling to offsetting his carbon footprint while flying. Today with his label Crosstown Rebels, he’s gaining momentum and new ideas for an in-house organization called Crosstown Consciousness.
“We want to raise money that we can put into worthy causes, specifically greener travel. If we’re having a party in Mexico and we’re expecting people to fly in from all over the world, they also want to know what they can do to off-set their footprint,” he said.
Lazarus is also in the beginning stages of working with a company called Orca Sound Projects, which uses machinery to transform mixed plastic waste into building materials. “This machine is really exciting because it means we’ve found a solution for when we go to other cities—we can [use it to] grab plastic from landfills, turn it into these blocks, and then use that recycled material to create the festival—staging, art installations, furniture, bars—all from this recycled plastic,” he said.
For those wondering how his new album fits into this green approach, he’d like his fans to know it’s completely eco-friendly, too. “It’s made by a new company in Amsterdam that’s making the vinyl—the greenest vinyl production plant in the world. And my new website is completely green, optimized in a way that uses less energy.”