Stathis Lazarides has the musical ethos and mentality of an artist who finds it impossible to compromise with trends and to specify genres when in the studio or in the DJ booth. Music has been his foremost priority for 20 years and the concept of sitting down to compose in his studio without a specific plan, mainly working on impulse, is for him the building block of underground music.
Stathis has started his journey into the amazing world of dance music at the tender age of 17. The setting was a small pub in his native country, Greece, but the impact to his life was massive. After spending some time DJing on various Greek Islands and enjoying a residency at the legendary Kinky Bambolina club in Thessaloniki, he moved to London to study sound engineering and gets his first taste of an illegal rave in the middle of a field in Bedfordshire.
After successfully finishing his studies, he started his own record labels, Funktastique records and Bailado Music, and enjoyed a string of releases, favored by some truly renowned DJ and radio stations.
Around the same time, Stathis began his residency at the world famous, club Cavo Paradiso, where he has been the resident DJ since 2000, and had regular appearances at Ministry Of Sound, Turnmills and Egg. He has also been noticed by labels like Azuli, Steve Lawler’s Harlem and Sandy Rivera’s Blackwiz label.
Stathis has also been the driving musical force behind the Rhythmatic moniker, a party that has gatecrashed onto the London scene two years ago and has a impressive roster of guest appearances such as Gregor Tresher, Spencer Parker, Kreon, Lemos, Kabale Und Liebe, Fabio Giannelli to name a few. Stathis has regarded his residency at Rhythmatic as important as the one at Cavo Paradiso and the future holds exciting new projects for the party not only in London but also on the international scene.
It is impossible to define his musical style in a few concise words. Deep evolution, Funky sentiments, Dirty intentions, Atmospheric, non pretentious, quality underground music, Or a reflection to his emotions. His style obviously has a good presence of house and techno surrounded by a range of elements. But imagine what would happen if several people were asked to describe a very large and complex object that they can’t see, but can only feel. In this case the object seems to be music!
Speaking with Stathis Lazarides, it’s obvious that he has an old school DJ’s story of how he came to the scene and his experiences…
You first stepped into the underground scene starting at the age of 17 DJing in a pub back in Greece. But were there any instances or influences before that, which brought you closer to the underground scene or was DJing in that pub and working your way into the scene complete accident?
I lived my teenage years in a small rural village and I wasn’t even aware of the meaning of the word underground back then. Urban society was a world away and my influences were what the radio was playing plus a local record store. I started buying music at the age of 12 with the pocket money I was getting from my summer job as a petrol station attendant but my interest in vinyl started even earlier as my brother was older than me and he was getting music from Germany. We had a neighbour who was driving his lorry to Germany once a month so he was bringing all sorts of things including German electro pop records. I then started a short lived pirate radio station and got my first gig at the local pub at 17. I was playing everything from electro pop to reggae, funk, soul, disco, rock, even Greek music… My fateful meeting with house music happened in 1993 when I visited a gay club in Athens called Factory. By that time, I had already left home after finishing my studies and my army service and was working in a bar in Piraeus, the port town in Athens. I remember coming out from the place in the morning and thinking this is my life path, it was such a revelation!
Back when you first started DJing, how was the underground scene in Greece?
It was exciting, just as it was in all the other big cities around the world when House music started to take over our lives! It was a purist heaven really, no gimmicks, no confetti or lasers, no media hype and no marketing… Plus most of the times we didn’t even know who was DJing. What was powering the whole thing was the anticipation for the weekend to see all those like-minded people and experience a musical revolution together. I remember my residency at a club in Thessaloniki called ‘Kinky Bambolina’ – yes I know it sounds like a prostitutes name, so what! We had 800 people on a Tuesday night with just the residents playing. It was really all about a basement, a red light and a feeling. Happy days!
What made you move to London to study Sound Engineering and did the experience live up to your expectations?
My decision to move to England was taken after I spend 6 months here with my girlfriend in the winter of 1994, were I met a rave crew from Luton called Exodus.They showed me for the first time the machines they were using to make electronic music and this was revelation number 2! It was easy to decide to come here permanently and I started working in a factory in Slough in order to save money to study at SAE. I remember the first time I went record shopping in Soho, I came out at Oxford Street tube station, turned towards Soho and was then led to the shops by the sub bass I could hear coming from different directions, it was as if I just landed in promised land.
Studying at SAE was one of the best decisions I have ever taken in my life, it was the best kick-start in production I could have wished for.
Once you had finished your studies you started up your own record labels; Funktastique Records and Bailado Music. Although you enjoyed a string of releases that gained support from Sasha, James Zabiela, Seb Fontaine, Steve Lawler, John Digweed, BBC Radio 1 and Kiss FM, how easy or difficult was it to run your own labels and achieve that kind of success?
I decided to release most of my early productions myself as I wasn’t a fan of waiting answers from record labels. Most people back then were doing the same thing, it was easy to do a P&D (Press and Distribution) deal, all you had to provide to the distributor was the music! Although promotion played a part on the success of your projects, it was easier even without promotion to sign a track on a good label after it got noticed because you pressed 300 copies and distributed them around London. There were probably 100 record shops, possibly even more, so the industry knew if a track would cut it or not. I miss the good old ‘just vinyl’ days to be honest with you, there was such a buzz around London on Saturday mornings, thousands were out shopping records, people even knew delivery times so they could be there first.
You became resident DJ at Cavo Paradiso, in Mykonos. How did that come about and how would you describe the vibe at the club?
The promoter from the Kinky Bambolina club in Thessaloniki introduced me to Cavo Paradiso in the winter of 1998/99. They were interested to book Erick Morillo and I had a contact with him through Tim Deluxe, so I made the deal, flew over with Erick, did my first gig and they offered me a permanent position as a resident DJ and artist booker, plus I was responsible of looking after the artists. Next year will be the club’s 20 year anniversary and my 15th consecutive season there, what can I say, it’s my home from home. The vibe cannot be described, you have to be there to experience it. I don’t think there are many clubs in the world located by the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea plus I am sure there are only a handful of clubs that can have a 40 back 2 back show schedule with the biggest names of the industry. Cavo Paradiso should be on people’s “things I have to do before I die” list.
Since then you have become resident at one of London fastest growing underground nights, Rhythmatic. A night which has played host to many outstanding DJs. What’s the principle behind the night?
The principle of our party couldn’t be any simpler: punter satisfaction!
There is no better feeling than receiving comments of appreciation and gratitude from people that trusted their Saturday night out to you. I mean, of course other things come into the equation such as breaking musical boundaries, reaching a togetherness on the dance-floor and so forth but if you zoom out and see the bigger picture, the party is the people, without them there can be no revolution!
Having played at numerous clubs and parties, which club would you say has been your favourite to play in and which party has been the craziest for you?
The first time I played at the Ministry was memorable for sure. I also love playing in Italy. I remember back in 2006 playing alongside Carl Cox in front of 5000 crazy Neapolitans at the famous Angels Of Love party. Rhythmatic events are always very special to me and the craziest of them all was at Cavo Paradiso in 2001; It was myself and John Digweed, I played from midnight to 4am and then John did the longest ever career set from 4am to 4pm. We went for a kebab afterwords and John passed out halfway though his on the way to the hotel. I think the word epic was invented for situations like this.
You have also played with some of the scene’s greatest DJs, which DJs are top of the list for you personally and has there been a DJ that really impressed you unexpectedly?
If I had to single out one DJ then I have to say Louie Vega, he influenced me so much on my early years in House music, so much that I named my son after him. The person that has impressed me the most recently is fellow Rhythmatic Archie Hamilton. I knew nothing about him before I was introduced to him by my partners and I was pleasantly surprised by his DJ sets. He has a matureness that is difficult to see in young DJs these days and I am sure he has a bright future in front of him.
As a DJ, what has been the most important tool or instrument for you?
Technics SL 1210 direct drive turntable system….Period!!!!
What do you have planned for the near future?
Lots of time in the studio with Archie Hamilton and Alex Celler, great Rhythmatic parties coming up and also looking forward to start writing about the scene and the politics of it all!
Cavo Paradiso hits London with a class line-up to kick off the season…
Cavo Paradiso, the afterparty only venue turned world-renowned club is largely known for a gloriously diverse seasonal event schedule, with everyone from Sander Van Doorn to Ricardo Vilallobos playing to the masses that visit the beautiful island of Mykonos every year. But, the true ethos of Cavo Paradiso is a more humble affair where its makers and creators revel in an underground sound and atmosphere, one that fits and has fitted in London perfectly for the past three years.
Cavo Paradiso return for their yearly city stint in the big London smoke. Last year’s came with a treasured four hour back-to-back UK exclusive set by Matthias Tanzmann & Davide Squillace in celebration of Cavo Paradiso’s prestigious album compilation series which is now in its eleventh year. The 2011 episode has been lovingly created by Circo Loco legend and underground pioneer, Davide Squillace and is due for global release in July.
This year the club brand returns to its favourite city with a collection of artists that speak volumes of the clubs musical philosophy, made possible by one of London’s home-grown & shining promotions, Rhythmatic. Their always trustworthy line-up has seen the Rhythmatic parties superbly sound-tracked by some of the world’s greatest spin wizards such as Marco Carola, Carl Cox, Damian Schwartz, Luna City Express, System Of Survival, Glimpse & more.
A carefully thought out and tailored line-up with Rhadoo, Petre Inspirescu, Grecian musical mastermind Alex Celler and 13 year Cavo Paradiso resident, Stathis Lazarides, is being brought to London to showcase a more intimate and relaxed Cavo Paradiso vibe alongside a way to open the season’s doors, celebrate a new age of Cavo Paradiso in London and of course, not to break tradition…
11 Jun @ Parklife, Manchester, England
12 Jun @ Visionquest, City Fox, Zurich, Switzerland
17 Jun @ Sonar, Barcelona, Spain
24 Jun @ Kompakt, Boothaus, Cologne, Germany
25 Jun @ Awakenings Festival, Amsterdam, Netherlands
01 Jul @ Fresh Weekend, Galicia, Spain
03 Jul @ Hideout Festival, Pag Island, Croatia
07 Jul @ Balaton Festival, Hungary
09 Jul @ Cocoon In the Park, Leeds, England
16 Jul @ Mulletover, Lovebox, London, England
22 Jul @ Tomorrowland, Boom, Belgium
23 Jul @ Il Muretto, Venice, Italy
24 Jul @ Visionquest, Fiesta Privada
29 Jul @ Audio River, Plock, Poland
30 Jul @ Guendalina, Bari, Italy
02 Aug @ Cavo Paradiso, Mykonos, Greece
03 Aug @ Visionquest, DC10, Ibiza, Spain
06 Aug @ Welcom To The Future
10 Aug @ Bloop Pool Party, Villamboura, Spain
11 Aug @ Space, Ibiza, Spain
13 Aug @ Circo Loco, Extrema, Genk, Belgium
14 Aug @ Baracca, Valencia, Spain
19 Aug @ Wonderllow, Lowlands, Biddinghuizen, Netherlands
20 Aug @ Circo Loco, Riccione, Italy
22 Aug @ DC10, Ibiza, Spain
23 Aug @ Marabu, Catania, Italy
It took a trip to London for Davide to finally discover electronic music. Wooed by the mood and sound of the British scene, he returned to Naples flush with energy, excitement and a knowing that this new calling would consume him. Davide immersed himself in this world in every conceivable way. In 1999 he began studying at the Naples’ school of sound engineering, tinkering with his first productions, promoting techno events, and finally performing.
His first releases on Primate Records, Design Music and Conform were a cadence of his arrival and showcased the young artist’s steadfast style. Having honed his craft at home, in 2004 Davide left Naples for Barcelona unwavering in his resolve. Now, while touring around the continent, he began to release in earnest what would become a massive body of work, and at a dizzying pace. His productions have graced the catalogs of some of the finest labels including Ovum, Sci+Tec, Morris Audio, Resopal Schallware, Supernature, CMYK, Adagio, Viva, Nervous, Saved, Shake, Rillis; the list goes on… Which is not even to speak of his curating and releasing on his own labels – Sketch, Minisketch, Vir, 500, Titbit and most recently the bold Hideout Records.
03 Jun @ Move, Florence, Italy
04 Jun @ Recreatiegebied Gaasperplas Zuid, Amsterdam, Netherlands
11 Jun @ Amnesia, Ibiza, Spain
12 Jun @ Supermarket, Zurich, Switerland
13 Jun @ DC10, Ibiza, Spain
16 Jun @ Raum, Barcelona, Spain
20 Jun @ DC10, Ibiza, Spain
24 Jun @ La Riviera, Madrid, Spain
25 Jun @ Distillery, Leipzig, Germany
27 Jun @ DC10, Ibiza, Spain
02 Jul @ Fresh Weekend Festival, Cerceda, Spain
04 Jul @ DC10, Ibiza, Spain
08 Jul @ Watergate, Berlin, Germany
09 Jul @ Exit Festival, Novi Sad, Serbia
11 Jul @ DC10, Ibiza, Spain
13 Jul @ La Ferme, Colmar, France
15 Jul @ Cocoon Club, Frankfurt, Germany
16 Jul @ Tribe Festival, Sao Paulo, Brazil
18 Jul @ SuCasa, Ulm, Germany
20 Jul @ DC10, Ibiza, Spain
22 Jul @ Krysha Mira Club, Moscow, Russia
23 Jul @ Loft Club, Ludwigshafen, Germany
24 Jul @ Kiesgrube, Neuss, Germany
29 Jul @ Hammamet, Tunisia
30 Jul @ Spartacus, Aix en Provence, France
01 Aug @ DC10, Ibiza, Spain
02 Aug @ Ambra, San Teodoro, Italy
05 Aug @ Monkeys, Dusseldorf, Germany
06 Aug @ Dance Valley, Amsterdam, Netherlands
07 Aug @ Cavo Paradiso, Mykonos, Greece
10 Aug @ DC10, Ibiza, Spain
13 Aug @ Estrema Festival, Brussels, Belgium
14 Aug @ Tunnel Electrocity, Wroclaw, Poland
15 Aug @ DC10, Ibiza, Spain
20 Aug @ Rainbow Pub, Birmingham, England
21 Aug @ Woodstock, Amsterdam, Netherlands
26 Aug @ Electro Beach Festival, Benidorm, Spain
27 Aug @ Groove Garden, Malta
29 Aug @ DC10, Ibiza, Spain