It's been almost 10 years since Luca Venezia (a.k.a. Curses) contributed to our podcast series as Drop The Lime. Back then, Venezia was peddling bass-heavy club cuts and warped takes on Chicago house, grime, and heads-down electro as Drop The Lime, Tigerbeat6, and Curses!. His music and DJ sets were infused with alluring grit and a sweat-inducing energy that Venezia honed in the New York underground club circuit. In the years since, Venezia has been a regular fixture on XLR8R's pages via downloads, premieres, a Labels We Love feature, and much more. He also fell in love with playing solely as Curses, so he shelved all the other monikers to focus his efforts on that project.
Now based in Berlin, Venezia's work as Curses incorporates his post-punk and new wave roots into a forward-thinking sound that, although referencing the past, sounds like a breath of fresh air—check his recently released Tutto Nudo EP on Throne Of Blood for case in point. The embodiment of Venezia's current ethos is best found in OMBRA INTL., a new vinyl-only imprint launched by Venezia as a platform for artists—Sutja Gutierrez, Veneno, Mondowski, Perel, Bagarre Perdue, Cannibal Ink, among others—that incorporate psychedelic guitar-based sounds into their electronic productions.
Venezia's return to the XLR8R podcast as Curses acts as somewhat of a mood board for OMBRA INTL., fusing post-punk, dark italo, industrial, and much more across 90 seductive minutes.
When and where was the mix recorded?
Last week in Berlin in my living room
What equipment did you record the mix on?
Most of my studio gear is still back in Brooklyn in storage, so I made do with 1 x Technics turntable, 2 x 850 Pioneer CDJs, and a very shitty Gemini PMX7 mixer.
Tell us about the mix, was there a particular idea behind it?
I used to avoid mixing politics with music—something about it cringed me out, but it's impossible and selfish to avoid whats happening right now, so I use the anger or fear or Trump's actions as a fuel for creativity.
I went digging on YouTube and sampled clips from news reports pertaining to our current political and civil turmoil, not only in America, but worldwide, to help push the progression of the mix from starting slow and psychedelic to a tough and more aggressive tone at the end.
Like the mix, you're new label OMBRA INTL. references post-punk, new wave, and warped synth-pop—what draws you to these styles?
I grew up listening to it all, so there's a comfort in the guitars and synths. I've always been drawn to the sexy dark versus scary dark.
What's the focus for OMBRA INTL. and what's on the horizon this year?
The vinyl EPs feature four different artists, each from a different country, to share their respective take on incorporating guitars with a darker disco or italo/new wave sound.
Upcoming releases this year include new music from Sutja Gutierrez, Perel, Mondowski, Veneno, Seven Knives, and Teniente Castillo/Skelesys to name a few.
You've been on the frontlines of underground electronic music for over a decade now, what excites you about its current state?
Guitars are coming back into electronic music in a big way. You can really hear the psychedelic and wave sounds coming from a new and excited younger generation of artists.
Who are some of the artists operating in this sphere?
Silent Echoes, Sutja Gutierrez, Roe Deers, Perel, Johnson, and then legends like Duncan Gray and Marseille's La Dame Noir party/label are all on fire right now for me
What else do you have coming up this year?
I've got an EP dropping on SC&P with remixes from Inga Mauer and Golden Filter, a collab EP with Roe Deers out on La Belle, and a 4 track original with Wrong Era. A slew of remixes as well, but going to slow things down before the album drops next summer.
1. Subway "Track 05"
2. Fad Gadget "State of the Nation"
3. Tones On Tail "When You’re Smiling"
4. Cabaret Voltaire "Here To Go (Little Dub)"
5. Veneno "Atención Especial" [OMBRA INTL.]
6. Two Mamarrachos "Just Want To Touch You" (Original Mix)
7. Fringe Society "Dear_Rozz_"
8. George Kamm "Durst & Hunger"
9. Duncan Gray "Where Clock Goes"
10. The KVB "Silent Wave"
11. Cabaret Nocturne "Moon Invaders"
12. Bagarre Perdue "The light"
13. DJ KAOS "Punky Skit" (Curses baby edit)
14. Paulor "La Race"
15. Roe Deers & Curses "Fade Away" (Jonathan Kusuma Remix)
16. Sutja Gutierrez "Carousel" (feat. Yula Kasp)
17. Perel "Hildegard" [OMBRA INTL.]
18. Susumu Yokota "Tanbarin"
19. Cardopusher "Dreamjumping"
20. International Music System "Nonline"
21. Tony Carey "Yellow Power"
22. Angela "I Gotta Little Love"
23. LeonXLeon "The Train Tracks" (Al Dente Remix)
24. O.K "Okay!" (International Version)
25. O.K "Okay!" (Re-Mix Media Edit)
26. High Fidelity Three "Never Satisfied" (Curses Edit)
27. NEP "Decadance" (Snuffo's 2017 Reinvent)
28. Wolfstream - Gone (Curses 'Dangerousity Dub')
30. Olsvangèr "The New Pollution" (Curses remix)
31. Curses "Another View" (The Golden Filter ReVision)
32. Johnny Jewel "Windswept"