Stripped-Back Sounds: The Life and Times of Cristina Lazic

Jul 8, 2024

Photo of Michela Iosipov

Michela Iosipov

12 min read

Cristina Lazic, a bright and accomplished DJ and producer, has been on the come up in the industry with her unique take on stripped-back house music. Born in Italy, raised in London, and now based in Milan, Cristina’s journey is as eclectic as her sound. With performances at iconic venues like Hï Ibiza and Koko, and releases on renowned labels such as Crosstown Rebels and Moxy Muzik, Cristina’s mastery continues to grow.

Her love for music was ignited during her teenage years, fueled by dance music and the futuristic Italo disco scene. However, it was her move to London at 18 that solidified her drive for electronic music. The city's minimal scene and clubs like Fabric London became her playground, influencing her ear for sound.

In an unexpected twist, motherhood became the catalyst for Cristina’s professional music career. During maternity leave, she took a DJ course and soon decided to pursue her lifelong dream, which had taken a backseat to a business career. Her enthusiasm and talent quickly led to big-time gigs, including memorable debuts at Hi Ibiza and performances at Exit, Get Lost, Unum, and many more.

Cristina’s latest venture, the “La Zic” project, is a music platform that will include a record label, mentoring program, events, and apparel, focusing on inclusivity and gender equality in the industry. Her dedication to mentoring and helping others is evident, as she aims to empower upcoming artists with both technical and marketing skills through MentorZic.

Balancing multiple roles as a DJ, producer, label owner, and mentor, Cristina credits meticulous planning and time management—skills she honed during her days at Google. Her approach to music is deeply personal, combining grooves and melodies shaped by her tasteful musical background.

How did your upbringing in London and your Italian roots influence your music style?

Living in London definitely shaped my musical taste. I moved to London when I was 18 and grew up raving in East London, following the minimal scene of the 2000s, which strongly influenced me. I remember going to venues like Fabric London to listen to Ricardo Villalobos, Gabriel Ananda, or Laurent Garnier. I have also seen the rise of more recent labels and brands like Fuse London and Solid Grooves, which have been, and still are, among my favorite musical references in the underground scene. Before moving to London, during my teenage years, I fell in love with dance music and the Italo disco sonorities, which definitely helped me get closer to the underground minimal scene when I moved to the UK.

What was the turning point that led you to pursue a career in music?

Curiously enough, it was my maternity leave. Eight years ago, I was on maternity leave, my daughter Sofia was six months old, and I wanted to find a hobby because I had no nannies and was busy all day with milk, diapers, and so on. Needing a hobby, a friend, who by chance is called Mina Lazic and is close to my husband, wrote to me one day and asked: Cristina, would you like to take a DJ course with me? This was intriguing, given that I have always loved electronic music and the world of DJing. I thought this was the right opportunity to start. From there, I decided to continue this path, as music had always been my dream, but I had abandoned it after high school to pursue a typical business career.

Can you share the story behind your first major gig at a renowned club or festival?

I had my debut at Hi Ibiza in the summer of 2022. The way it all started was quite original, as Damian Lazarus approached me to play after I sent him several tracks which he released. He did that by asking me to schedule a call on Zoom, which I found very interesting! At the gig, several of my best friends, and of course my husband, attended. The gigs went super well, and I was very satisfied.

The funny thing is that the day after, we had the end-of-year ballet show of my daughter to attend, which we obviously could not miss. For this reason, we traveled straight from the club to Milan and went straight to the show. It was quite brutal, but this is what being a mother and a DJ implies!

How did you develop your unique take on stripped-back house music?

I have always been passionate about music since I was a kid. I grew up learning how to play the piano with my grandmother, who was a piano teacher. During my teenage years, I was very much influenced by the Britpop/rock wave made up of bands like R.E.M, Oasis, Blur, and Travis. My father also passed on a strong passion for rock music, mostly from the '60s and '70s.

I then moved to London at 18, and this is where electronic music became a strong part of my life. My house music has a combined element of all of these influences: it’s clearly on the minimal/deep front, but it has a melodic aspect coming from the music I have listened to and played when I was younger. Guitar riffs are always present, as a result of the influence from rock music.

What inspired you to start the "La Zic" project, and what can we expect from it in 2024?

La Zic means “the music” (la musique = la zic) in French slang, and it’s spelled exactly like my DJ name, which is the surname of my husband, who is Serbian. When I left Google a year ago, I knew I wanted to start something entrepreneurial. Clearly, a record label would be the right next step in my music career, but I also noticed there was a gap in the industry: artists are mainly focusing on developing technical skills, and then they tend to overlook the marketing side of things and how to promote themselves. This could work in an old paradigm where a few big players (record labels, etc.) would take care of the marketing, but nowadays most artists self-release their music, and I think every artist should know how to brand themselves.

That’s why I also launched MentorZic, which started off as a one-on-one mentoring service to help DJs gain marketing skills, and it’s now getting a more solid structure, becoming an academy for DJs and producers, with a course, workshops, and coaching. In 2024, La Zic will continue to release music with the mission to bring inclusivity and gender equality in minimal (there are not that many female producers!), as well as establishing loads of collaborations to train artists on marketing and branding skills.

How do you balance your roles as a DJ, producer, label owner, and mentor?

I like to plan my days, weeks, and months and reserve slots for any tasks I need to complete. I make strong use of Google Calendar; I guess this is a bit of professional deformation that I have inherited from the Google days, but it really helps to set out a list of things to do and then allocate enough time to get them completed within a certain timeframe. Obviously, I am a mother, so life is a bit chaotic in reality, but having a structure of what I want to achieve and by when is immensely helpful. Goal planning and time management are also skills that I teach my MentorZic students.

Which of your released tracks holds the most personal significance to you, and why?

I think "Mirror" is one of the tracks that has meant the most to me in my career. I co-wrote it with Shar, a female singer whom I met thanks to shesaid.so and who has now become a friend. In the track, we wanted to explore the theme of self-reflection (hence the name “Mirror”) and how women can feel empowered by moving on from uncomfortable situations. I even made a set opener version of it to kick off my sets.

How has the international radio support from stations like BBC Radio 1 and Ibiza Global impacted your career?

Radio is clearly an important factor in the growth of an artist. I was invited to join Crosstown Rebels for a BBC Radio 1 show by Damian Lazarus and have recorded mixes at a variety of radios like Ibiza Global, Sonica, and Pure. I believe that doing radio shows does not show an immediate impact, but if you do several of them over time and communicate them properly, then it can help boost your reputation and also lead to bookings.

For example, one of my mixes on Global was posted on Global’s SoundCloud; some guys in Montreal heard it and fell in love with some of my productions included in the mix. They ended up booking me, and in a few days, I’ll make my way back to Montreal for the third time.

How has your experience with shesaid.so influenced your approach to supporting women and mothers in music?

I have been a friend of Andreea Magdalina for a long time; she is a visionary person whom I respect very much. With Andreea, we collaborated on a variety of topics, from mentoring other women to leading the parenthood committee at shesaid.so. These kinds of activities and events are important—they can build community, make us women feel less lonely, offer support, and also provide a platform for meeting other individuals, like Shar, who has become one of my strongest partners in my tracks, as well as a friend.

Can you describe a particularly memorable moment from one of your performances?

I think that a memorable moment is from a recent gig for my La Zic showcase in Milan. Before the party started, I proudly sent some pictures and videos of the venue to my mother and told her I would have loved for her to be there. A couple of hours later, when the club was full, I randomly saw my mother on the dance floor! She came to support me; I immediately went to find her and brought her to the booth with me. That was really epic.

What do you find most rewarding about mentoring upcoming artists?

I genuinely love seeing other people grow and feel accomplished with what they achieve. This is what I love about mentoring: I love to see people feel empowered, and I also love to create a human connection with them and build new relationships and friendships.

What do you hope listeners take away from your music?

That it’s music made with my soul, combining two elements: the groove and the dream.

Who are your biggest musical influences, and how have they shaped your sound?

Laurent Garnier, Ricardo Villalobos, and Enzo Siragusa are all DJs and producers that have shaped my sound and defined my striving for good quality in music. More underground, usually Romanian artists like Mihai Popoviciu and NTFO, Traumer and Kolter are strong influences in what makes a track groovy and dreamy. More in general, chill-out artists like Morcheeba, songwriters like Franco Battiato, and rock artists like R.E.M, Oasis, and the Britpop wave have all influenced me in the melodic or lyrical aspect of my music.

What upcoming projects or collaborations are you most excited about?

I still can't believe it, but I have had the honor to remix John Digweed! My remix for Santiago by Bedrock, the duo made by John and Nick Muir, is releasing on July 5th—this is definitely very exciting for me!

How do you approach creating a setlist for a live performance?

I look for music on Beatport, Bandcamp, and from the submissions I get via Trackstack. I am also quite obsessive about looking for gems on Soundcloud mixes, reading all the comments until I find that ID. I then tidy the music into folders, import it on Rekordbox, and try to build playlists that will fit the moods of the various gigs. I usually improvise during performances, but having a playlist with music selected to ensure the right mood normally helps me.

What's the most unexpected place you've found inspiration for your music?

I know it may sound odd, but I also got inspired to write music at the office. In between meetings, when I was still working in the office, I often had ideas of melodies that I used to record on my phone. I also got some ideas for potential track titles, which then turned into actual tracks of mine, such as “9 to 5” (referring to working hours), “Plan B” (referring to my plan B of doing music), and “You are on mute” (a title coming from the sentence often heard during remote calls via Google Meet).

If you could perform at any venue or festival in the world, where would it be and why?

Sunwaves was definitely a milestone for me, which I have achieved this year. Now that I have moved back to London, I have the objective of playing at some parties in the UK. My favorite artist is Enzo Siragusa, so I am aiming for a Fuse Open Air slot eventually!

What's a fun fact about you that your fans might not know?

I am absolutely terrified of lightning. I am scared I am going to be struck by lightning, so whenever I hear a storm coming, I tend to go indoors and won’t leave until the thunderstorm is gone.

Which city has the best food in the world?

Rome! Puntarelle, Cacio e Pepe, Carbonara... You name it!

Upcoming events

elrow New York Open Air: Summer Festival - Rowmuda Triangle!

Gray Area event

Cristina Lazic is on the lineup

Blue w. Lauren Lo Sung, Cuartero, Cristina Lazic, Yaya and more

Gray Area event

Cristina Lazic is on the lineup

Paradise Week 6

Amnesia Ibiza

Ibiza, Spain

Jul 24, 202410:30 PM

Cristina Lazic is on the lineup

Black Coffee Week 14

Hï Ibiza

San José, Spain

Aug 17, 202411:30 PM

Cristina Lazic is on the lineup

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