Name: Luca Venezia aka Curses
Occupation: DJ, producer, label owner
Current release: Curses has compiled a major compilation to be released on Eskimo on June 4th. Entitled Next Wave Acid Punx and spanning three discs, it follows the development of New Beat, Electro, EBM, New Wave and Dark Disco from their earliest beginnings to their current iterations.
If these thoughts by Curses piqued your interest, visit his website, bandcamp account or Facebook page. You can also to a Next Wave Acid Punx playlist on Soundcloud, which will be constantly updated.
Curses: "I was always in bands since my teenage years, but like many of my friends, put the guitars aside and saved money up for turntables after going to my first rave at around 14. I immediately fell in love with it all: the loud music, the lights, the euphoric experience. At first I didnt understand that the DJs were playing other people’s music, I thought they were creating the music on the spot.
Eventually I became close friends with some of the DJs playing parties like Direct Drive and Konkrete Jungle, and I quickly learned the process. I could only afford to buy records from the ‘bargain bins’, and most of the time these were Latin Freestyle, Italo, and random New Wave singles. That early introduction to these genres still remains with me production wise: the gated snares, the arpeggios. Eventually DJ friends would invite me to open for them. I was immediately drawn to the connection formed between dance floor and DJ.
I've gone through many different aliases, played in many different bands and genres, and this was all a necessary journey in order to find the sound of where I am today. Some projects did super well, but many also failed, and the failed ones helped me find an eventual honest artistic state of mind. It wasn’t until I began making music for myself, and stopped trying to make music for “others” that I began to notice a positive reaction. That's the moment I found my own “voice” I guess …
I also went solo, quit a whole management team that were pushing me to make top 10 hits, which was never something I strived to do. I just want to make music that fills any void inside of me, if it inspires others, that’s a huge added bonus.
In the beginning it’s hard not to compare your personal journey to more successful DJs around you, especially if they’re friends. Learning not to compare, focus on your own personal journey, and having a lot of patience is probably the biggest challenge to overcome. Everyone’s journey is different. You can break big in 1 year or 30. Over time, you realise there’s no need to put an expiration date on the music you make, if you are passionate about it and believe in it.
As a DJ, there is a story to tell with the music you play, and a trust to be built between the dancers and you. Sometimes I find myself preparing a vibe and certain songs for a night, and in the end I play a completely different selection of tunes given the reaction and response of the crowd in the moment.
I love this mystery of walking into a club and not knowing how the night will go, and if what you planned on playing totally takes a detour.
The way I listen and write music as a musician heavily influences the way I DJ. I construct a set or mix the same way I compose or produce. I think about the keys of each song, how the pads in one track will work with the guitar in the next, creating a call and response of instruments or harmonising to make something new. I rarely loop on the CDJs when doing a blend. I like when each composition evolves in synergy, speaking to one another and creating a new song in itself.
Performing live at Convenanza festival in 2019, was like a dream. The location alone is mesmerising (Carcassone France). Me and my bandmate, Dame Bonnet had spent months writing and recording music to be released as a 12” at the festival, with Swedish label, Hoga Nord. So the live show incorporated elements of the mini-LP and previous album works. We performed the new songs live for the first time , surrounded by towering castle walls. It was surreal.
We spent the entire weekend with the Hoga Nord crew, barely any sleep - possessed by the power of the gnostic sonics. This was a moment in time that holds a heavy place in my heart because it was the last Convenanza Andrew Weatherall had organised, before passing away. He was a big supporter for so many of us underground artists, and a pioneer in so many ways.
Ever since the pandemic, I got into running and waking up early. I am also doing design work as well as music, and running Ombra International, it can get hectic at times, so I devote specific days to specific roles, otherwise my head would explode … and it still does sometimes ha.
I don’t see music or design work as a chore or a job, it's just a part of who I am, and the environment around me feeds the creative process. It’s a relationship that if I tried to separate them, I would lose focus.
When you’re a child, the innocence and untainted influence is vibrant. You have no judgement, no blockades, and I try to tap into this innocence as much as possible."