Born in Milan and raised in London, Cristina started playing the piano when she was six, grew up composing music and is now leading two successful parallel careers, working for Google and also having achieved widespread and international success as a musical artist. Emerging into the spotlight only four years ago, Cristina has performed at iconic clubs and festivals around the world. She also caught the attention of Pioneer DJ Italy, who chose her as an ambassador and example for aspiring female DJs. Her releases can be found on Bondage Music, Creature Records and Rebellion. Part of shesaid.so, the world leading community of women in the music industry, she leads the parenthood committee’s efforts to safeguard the interest of artists with kids. She returns to Rebellion with a stunning three-track EP following her recent release on the Souls Vol.2 VA last year…and here DMCWORLD grab a mighty world exclusive…
Hey Cristina, thanks for taking the time to speak to us today. Where are you speaking from?
Currently in Oman where I am enjoying a week of holidays with my family. But I am returning back to Milan, my hometown, in a few days.
How have the last couple of years been for you with everything that’s gone on?
The last couple of years have been characterised by mixed feelings.
Initially I felt quite lost and frustrated with everything going on, especially because in Italy we had a very tough lockdown and restrictions. I had been working so hard on my music career and at times I felt that everything had suddenly been cancelled. But after an initial period of frustration, I decided to not give up and to transform the lack of travelling and gigs into something more meaningful, by starting deep diving on production. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have produced almost 20 tracks, some of which have already been released, others will be later in the year. I now feel much more complete as an artist and, if I look back, I have to say I am quite satisfied with what I have accomplished.
For some of our readers that may not be as familiar with you, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Of course! First of all, I am Italian but my DJ name actually sounds Serbian as I chose my husband’s surname as my artist name. In Italy women don’t change surnames when marrying, but Serbian women do. I somehow wanted to pay homage to my husband, who supports me in everything I do from a music perspective, even if I didn’t officially change my surname. Hence, the name Cristina Lazic.
Also, I have been playing the piano since when I was very young, in fact my grandma was a piano teacher and I used to spend hours and hours next to her playing, always by ear as I never learnt to read scores. I grew up composing music in my teen years (actually, I have a CD somewhere at my parents’ with three songs I produced and sang – I would be quite ashamed to listen to them now!) and I spent all teen, uni and adult years as a big electronic music fan, going to raves and parties. It’s actually at one of these that I met the man who is now my husband. I finally got into djing during – believe it or not – my maternity, when I finally had time to take my brain off work, but also had to take my mind off from milk and nappies. Music is one of the pillars in my life. I believe music has a very strong power and my mission is to make people dance and be happy via music.
We’re here today to chat about your forthcoming EP on Rebellion titled Burning. It will be your second release on the Crosstown Rebels sub-label, following your recent release on the Souls Vol.2 VA last year. Can you give us some background behind it?
Leap Year was my first release on the Souls Vol.2 release and I was very pleased to see that it had a good response and results in the charts 🙂
“Burning” is my very first EP and I am thankful to Damian Lazarus for believing in me and my music for that! It consists of three tracks: the lead (name) track “Burning”; “Jazzy Feeling” and “Mirror”. The EP will accompany people in a variety of situations – from introspective journeys in moments of reflection, to social gatherings with friends and all the way to the dance floor. All tracks contain a mix of minimal sounds with groovy bass, with female / male catchy vocals. In Mirror I was inspired to include a guitar tone after listening to the great track “Taff” by Leonidas and Traumer; Jazzy Feeling is the result of an effort to combine minimal with funk and jazz music. Finally, with the lead track Burning I wanted to obtain a happy dance floor sound to make people dance, including unexpected elements.
What’s your creative process been like around this and did the numerous lockdowns and general global situation affect that?
I normally get inspired by nature, particularly at the sea or mountains and when I am away from distractions and the noises of the city; that’s where my creativity suddenly flows. I have to admit that, in this respect, the pandemic situation has actually helped, as not only I was able to start focusing on production with the first rigid lockdown in Italy, but also I had the opportunity to often work remotely from the seaside, and this has allowed me to produce a lot.
Can you tell us about your studio setup? What are your most used pieces of equipment?
I have made a little basic studio at home. I normally produce using Ableton Live 11, a Push, a sound card, a keyboard and a variety of digital plugins (usually from Arturia, iZotope and Rob Papen). When necessary I go to a proper studio out of Milan, where I can use more professional equipment like Genelec speakers. I am generally a big fan of midi, I like to create melodies for instruments (I love to include guitar and piano sounds) on my own, rather than using samples.
Who were your biggest musical influences growing up?
I grew up listening to a variety of genres and simply loving music in general, from classical music (I love Ludovico Einaudi), to chill out like Morcheeba, or rock like REM and Dire Straits. My favorite artist was the Italian Franco Battiato, who sadly recently passed away and who was a complete artist who also experimented with electronic music in the 80s. Talking about electronic music, my influences again span, from Laurent Garnier, Paul Kalkbrenner and Ricardo Villalobos, to the Chemical Brothers, the XX, Metronomy, Hot Chip. Now that I have specialized in the genre I prefer – minimal – I am mainly influenced by the sounds of artists like Enzo Siragusa, Archie Hamilton, romanians like NTFO and Mihai Popoviciu.
Thank you so much for talking to us today Cristina. To round off, what does the rest of the year look like for you now everythings going back to normal?
I am very excited to launch my very first EP on March 18th, with a release on Crosstown Rebels’ sublabel Rebellion. It will be followed by my US debut in Miami at Get Lost at the end of March, and then I will have some more releases, vinyl only, remixes and again an EP. Summer will be busy, with many international gigs, from Canada to Serbia, and of course Ibiza – many news to come in this respect. I am also working on my own NFT series, which should be an interesting project and which I look forward to launching soon!
Cristina Lazic – Burning EP. Released 18th March 2022 on Rebellion