painting the town a vision of new york’s future finds a home on a bustling corner in soho. by alice vincent
MILLER’S PRELIMINARY SKETCHES FOR
ALTHOUGH NEW YORK City’s SoHo neighbourhood boasts cast-iron architecture from the 19th century, there’s another decorative signature that typifies the area’s buildings: street art. No surface is safe from the spray can, making it all the more fitting that Andy J. Miller’s vibrant, illustrated vision of New York’s future now calls the side of a SoHo apartment building home. “I feel like I’m connected to New York,” says the Indiana-based artist, who created a mural for NYLON and Smart car on the corner of Lafayette and Jersey Streets. The trippy, pastel montage features the sort of things you see regularly around lower Manhattan—girls in sunglasses, boys skateboarding, apartment buildings sprouting flowers (OK, that last one might be wishful thinking). Instead of the omnipresent yellow taxicab, Miller inserted a much more idyllic ride into his piece: the Smart car. “Smart cars are used by all sorts of people,” says Miller. “I love to draw things that are familiar to me. So when my research allows me to delve deeper into subjects I’m already interested in, it’s kind of like a personal work.” But while he enjoys drawing what he knows, Miller found it especially inspiring to focus on the future of the city. Which we can appreciate, except for the fact that it means, inevitably, his piece will eventually be covered up by spray-painted tags, graffitied stencils, and wheat-pasted posters. No matter, there are always other walls.
IN A SPIN
DAMIAN LAZARUS BRINGS HIS DANCE PARTY STATESIDE. BY ALICE VINCENT. PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOHN MAXWELL IV
lazarus selects his top five crosstown rebels releases.
R E B EL RAVE C O MP IL ATION
“This three-CD release is a great place to start feeling out the Crosstown Rebels sound. It features some of the best moments of the last few years plus some amazing new tracks and a killer DJ mix by DC 10 resident and fellow Rebel, Clive Henry.”
A N D R E KRAML “ S AF A R I”
“I was on a beach in Barcelona when I first heard this record; the jungle sounds and elephant cries spoke loudly to me and I just had to have this track for my label–it went on to become a classic dancefloor hit.”
DAMIAN LAZARUS WANTS to rescue dance floors from the “relentless, cheesy dance music that is forcefed to people Stateside.” The London-born DJ, producer, and founder of the record label Crosstown Rebels relocated to Los Angeles two years ago, bringing his brand of intelligent, underground house music along with him. And although he says he “never expects miracles,” something pretty miraculous does indeed appear to be happening. America’s electronic music scene may still be largely subterranean, but according to Lazarus, crowds are “lapping up” Crosstown Rebels’ releases, such as Toronto duo Art Department’s alt-house summer hit “Without You,” which he describes as “the club record of the year in underground circles.” To celebrate their seventh anniversary, Crosstown Rebels have just released label compendium Rebel Rave. “It’s a really good document of the past seven years and it doesn’t [even] tell half the story,” says Lazarus from his home in Echo Park, California. “But more importantly, it hints at something really special to come in the next seven years.” Lazurus’s involvement in the dance music industry over the last decade is nothing short of paradigmshifting. He got his first set of decks at 14, and began DJing clubs as a teen. The birth of his daughter put him on a brief hiatus, but by 21 he was working as a music journalist at Dazed & Confused. Lazarus changed the face of house music as the head of A&R at record label City Rockers, where he signed some of the quintessential acts of the aughts such as Felix Da Housecat, and ushered in the electroclash genre with Tiga & Zyntherius’s hit “Sunglasses at Night” before going on to found Crosstown Rebels in 2003. As a DJ, Lazarus is famous for playing bizarre yet beautiful sets (think Rufus Wainwright and Arthur Russell
D E NI Z KURTE L “ Y EA H ” alongside 4/4 house and techno beats) in some of the world’s most illustrious clubs, and his prowess was recently celebrated with the holy grail of dance compilations, Fabric, the 54th edition of which he mixed, following his own debut album, the critically acclaimed Smoke The Monster Out, released in October. “Anything that offers a new, innovative direction for underground music and I’m there,” says Lazarus, who documents his adventures on the Rebel Rave TV shows–short online documentaries of the antics that occur behind, in front of, and away from the decks. For those artists signed to it, Crosstown Rebels–a small company of four core employees–is more than a label. Jonny White of Art Department describes it as “a family of like-minded artists that is truly, first and foremost, about pushing new, exciting music and ideas.” Aside from producing the sound of tomorrow, Crosstown Rebels’ new recruits must meet Lazarus’s “simple” specifications—most importantly, whether he would want to “hang out with someone at an after-party or not,” he says. “If I’m signing an artist to my label, I want them to be part of my life. The only way I’m really going to enjoy [their music] is if I really feel something for these people.” In showcasing his label’s latest recruits, including Jamie Jones and Seth Troxler (Troxler describes Crosstown Rebels as “a place that let me be me with no boundaries”), Lazarus is hoping to enlist more sympatico souls. “We like to stay up late and party hard, so it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it kind of goes along with what we do,” Lazarus says. “Are we really rebels? Come to our parties and see if we are; see if you feel like joining in.”
“A new name in techno music, Deniz Kurtel is a young woman with a massive future. The music she makes is organic, intelligent, trippy, and sensual, and her debut album, coming out in 2011, will blow people’s minds.”
J A MI E JONE S “ S U M ME RTIM E”
“Jamie is one of the Rebels’ pin-up boys—everyone wants to hang out with him. This was his biggest hit to date and earned him DJ Magazine’s Best Producer and Best Dance Single of 2009 accolades.”
A R T D E PART MENT “WITHOUT YOU” “Undeniably infectious, this debut single took on a life of its own this summer. The melancholy voice of Kenny Glasgow singing, “I just can’t make it without you,” struck a chord across the world, and has set these guys up to be international electronic superstars.”