Luca Venezia spent most of the last ten years exploding bass bins as dubstep evangelist Drop The Lime. As head of the seminal Trouble & Bass label in New York, Venezia released countless ferocious, sub heavy beasts. Then, just as dubstep started to break the mainstream, he turned his back on it. Ever contrary, Venezia turned Drop the Lime into a rockabilly electro fusion outfit, singing and playing live.
Now, done with that incarnation, he’s revived his oldest moniker – Curses – and gone back to the golden age house sounds that first inspired him. Having penned the emotional, nostalgic house track “So Good” earlier this year, Venezia is back, signed to dance giant Ultra, and ready with a string of beautiful, heartfelt techno.
How did the revival of Curses come about?
“I started going to lots of after-hours parties happening in Brooklyn, and people would be like, oh Drop the Lime! Do you wanna get on the decks? And I’d get on and realize the vibe was very different from me playing bangers or rockabilly, everyone’s in this kind of warehouse, deep house, techno vibe, so I started playing more of that sound, and I realized, fuck, this reminds me of what I was doing with Institubes - with Para One & Surkin - as Curses, so I started calling myself Curses, and I got a real love for it again.
This started last year, I started meeting new people, younger kids in New York, kids like DKDs and Total Sickness, who were doing these events, and we really clicked and started playing everywhere together. The New York scene is crazy right now.”
Considering you were mixing bass with electro years back, are you ever tempted to return to that sound just to make a quick buck from the EDM scene?
“I’ve always been drawn to fight against whatever’s mainstream. My underground mentality means I’m always wanting what’s new and what’s different, a little more obscure. I get bored with what’s popular – so the answer is no, probably not – I’m not going to make a trance dubstep anthem!”
So you’re drawn to the obscure and the underground. Ultra Records. That’s pretty underground right there...
“Hahaha, well, I do stuff with Ultra, but I also do stuff with Marble, with Trouble and Bass, and I’ve got ties with dirtybird. Ultra is definitely a different vibe to Drop the Lime, but with Curses it made a lot of sense. They’re putting out things by acts like Hot Since 82 - they’re doing a lot of deeper and more leftfield house things now. I think they’re looking for a more underground house sound, I think everyone is, we’re getting so washed out. Everything sounds the same, the same build up, same break down.”
You’ve been calling your new sound Gotham House, what’s the deal with that?
“A bunch of us, like me and DKDS, we’ve been calling it that because we’re from New York. It’s the after-hour vibe, it's darker, and it’s incorporating lots of sounds from earlier industrial music, like Front 242 and Nitzer Ebb drum sounds, and mixing it with a UK, Manchester, acid house sound.”
“So Good” really reminds me of 808 State, and their track “Pacific State.”
“God, that’s a classic, the string sounds, the pad sounds, 'Pacific State' is one of my favorite dance tunes, that sax in there, it's classic. It’s got attitude but it’s still sexy. Yeah, 'So Good' was heavily influenced by it.”
Have you gone back to analog kit to get the vibe right?
“A lot. All my bass sounds are on a Moog Little Fatty, and I get a lot of my drum sounds from a Tempest and a 909. I just jam and pick the best bits to make songs out of. It's different to having all the sounds there, you have these happy accidents that you never would have thought of.”
And you’ve been DJing a lot right?
“I’ve been touring North America and Asia – that was pretty wild. I’m also getting booked in Vegas. I think they stick me on as a curveball against all the other guys.”
How have you gone down in Vegas? They can be pretty tough on DJs...
“Vegas is fine. I get lucky playing in this place which is cool, they want good music. In some clubs out there they’ve been kicking a lot of legends off the decks. I mean, they kicked off Miguel Migs recently, which is just crazy to me. I don’t get it. I’m sure my day will come and I’ll get kicked off the decks, and you know what, I’ll love that. I’ll find it awesome, I’ll shout and celebrate.”
What have you got coming up?
“I’ve just had a single called 'Watch and Do' drop, and I’ve got another called 'Deliver,' then I’m gonna be doing a collab with Robin S – 'Show Me Love' Robin S- and I’m also doing something with Cedric from Azari & III, so Curses is taking the wheel now.”