Gold, Silver and Curses
An Interview about rock'n'roll
Photo: Chris Mauberqué
Curses will release his debut LP »Romantic Fiction« at the end of October, and the first single is already out. Profet's Chief Ideologue Filip Lindström talks to the American Berlin based producer, performer and DJ about going back his rock'n'roll roots and finding a place in a new city.
Curses had already lived in Berlin once, back in 2005, when he moved there once again four years ago. He was tired of New York City, where he felt too comfortable, if there ever was such a feeling. He felt he knew everything about the Big Apple, he had taken every bite there was to take and was hungry for something else.
When I speak to the American DJ and musician, he is located in Berlin, a city that he says finally is returning to its natural state of rain and gloom after this extreme European summer. I, as always, am in Stockholm and, as always when interviewing someone from the German capital, thinking of how lovely it would be to be there. My one-track fling with Berlin has continued through interviews like »A Tale of Two Cities« with Eric Maltz, »A Walk Down the Sound Path« with Aera, »The Deerleader« with Camea, »The Definition of Berlin« with Marlon Hoffstadt, and never ceases to increase its emotional value. For every interview, I grow more interested, more engaged, more enticed, and less qualified to stop my writing about the city I’m dreaming of. As stated in all titles listed above, I would very much like to halt my scribblings about this place, because it must bore my readers and it very much pains me to keep living in a longing rather than just going to Berlin to quench my extraordinary thirst. Anyhow, I keep writing and keep dreaming and keep interviewing, until I become a washed up pastiche of what used to be myself, and my readers will at least get a slight amusement from observing my mental breakdown and following rehabilitation.
Curses. Photo: Chris Mauberqué
Curses, however, seems perfectly content with living in Berlin. He had had connections to the noise music scene and had seen squat parties around the city when first living there more than ten years ago, and he enjoyed the experience so much he eventually moved back. Him and me both originally come from a rock’n’roll or punk environment, and we can both understand the majestic muscle of the genre and its live performances. Coming from that angle, Curses went into DJing after growing bored with playing in rock bands.
He says he generally gets easily bored with things, seemingly especially music. This makes Curses find new outlets, and maybe makes him more unpredictable in his artistic actions. A predictable artist may be attractive to a certain kind of cultural consumer, but not to me. I like to be surprised, even if the surprise is negatively charged. A performer who can alter the product drastically from time to time can keep me hanging until I no longer have anything to hold onto. I always try to achieve this serene state of productivity with Profet, where the reader will never know the shape of the next published article. It keeps the reader on edge, eager to find out about any upcoming turn. If not for his fans, Curses seems to need this exciting uncertainty for himself.
- DJing sort of felt in my lap, he says during the first minutes of our cross continent video conference.
»Always incorporate rock music«
He doesn’t exactly look like the typical Berlin based DJ, and I should know because I’ve probably interviewed 30% of that clique at this point. A generic Berlin based DJ doesn’t have an extravagant style, but dresses well in black and sports a well-groomed hair-style. Curses is rocking a white tank top, even though he claims the Berlin weather is turning sour, and I can clearly see the old school tattoos on his arms. His hair is combed backwards in a wet-look that could make Paul Simonon cry himself to sleep, and in Curses’ mouth, I swear I can see a gold tooth looking out. He could very well have been Andrew »Dice« Clay’s long lost little brother and sure does have an aura of Americanness to him, but I can see that he speaks the truth when he says he feels at home in Berlin.
- The weirder you are in Berlin, the more accepted you get, he says. In this city, it’s also financially realistic to be creative without compromise.
- Would you say that you are more or less accepted in Berlin than in New York?
- More accepted in Berlin, I would say, Curses says without a moment of doubt.
- Was it harder for you to find like-minded people at home than in Berlin?
- Yes, I’m inspired by the community here. When I moved here, I didn’t listen to Italo disco at the time, but then I was re-exposed and sort of went back to my youth.
So, having read this far in to the article, maybe you wonder exactly what Curses is up to, what kind of music he makes and which minds are like his. Basically, Curses mixes the primal scream of rock’n’roll with the roaring thunder of electronic music, in various forms and outlets. Whatever he does, he says, he will:
- Always incorporate rock music.
Curses debut album »Romantic Fiction«, a fine mix of said rock music and a Fad Gadgety electro noir, has been in the works for two years and he says it was Jennifer Cardini, Dischi Autunno label runner, who told him that whatever he was doing, it could be an album. This started as a retreat from the dance floor, and yet another return to Curses’ youth: Picking up instruments again.
As too many electronic producers have told me, and too many other pop journalists, in too many interviews about electronic music, Curses points out that the creative process is more lonely than for musicians playing in bands. I announce that I also come from a band background, the very thing that brought me into the world of music in the first place, and successively led me to taking up writing and ultimately starting Profet. Regretfully, time has taken its toll on my involvement in the bands I started in my teens, and I find myself missing what Curses just has gone back to.
- I think you’ll get back to it, he says when I spill my heartfelt story, and he also says: Sometimes you have to take breaks from it.
For Curses, a person who himself claims he I easily bored, breaks seems to be needed in order for his interest to not be lost. He is focusing more on his live set once his debut album is released, to recommence his rock’n’roll history with his new experiences always with him.
On November 11, Curses will start a live tour featuring himself and one more musician on stage, a journey that will kick off in Vilnius, Lithuania. The live concept has a clear premise.
- I want to remove the screen, Curses says. This will be my first time without the computer, and I want to make it hands on. I’m searching for a drive, for excitement, and I want every live show to be different.
Curses’ first single off of »Romantic Fiction« is already released, entitled »Gold & Silber«. The track is a collaboration with Perel, a DJ and producer who also has pilgrimed to Berlin, just like Curses himself. The initially kraut-esque beat and close-to-heart-vocals brings my simple mind to German-American friendship, but the song flowers and grows more modern as it goes along. Included in today’s release are also colorful remixes of the song, signed Fango, Chinaski and Antoni Maiovvi.
The full album »Romantic Fiction« will be available on October 26 through Dischi Autunno, for all you out there hungry for electronic music with the underlying edge of a rock’n’roll soul.September 14 2018