Drop the Lime on Mixing '50s Rock with Dance Music, and Making a Deal with the Devil
With a penchant for odd combinations like heavy basslines and harmonica drops, Luca Venezia, aka Drop the Lime, has created a style of music that's best described as rockabilly dance. Founder of the Trouble and Bass label, home to artists such as Star Eyes and AC Slater, Venezia's distinctive flair and affinity for combining '50s influences with current bass-driven sounds has lead to praise and releases from Ministry of Sound and FabricLive. With last summer's hit "Sex Sax" still blaring in our ears, he returns this year with the country-influenced rockabilly dance single "Hot as Hell," and the long-awaited album, Enter the Night, due out this fall. Jive like a crunk hillbilly when Venezia performs this Friday at Som; before that, we spoke with him about his '50s influences, where his stage name comes from, and making a deal with the Devil about his hair. Also, we're giving away a pair of tickets to the show.
Robin Bharaj Rockabillybass.
How did the moniker Drop the Lime come about?
It's from my Sicilian background. My grandfather used to ride this motorcycle in Sicily, which he had brought over from the States. He was a little crazy and painted it lime green, and when he used to ride, we would say, "ride the lime," or "drop the lime." So I just started getting that nickname because I would tell everyone about that story. And my grandfather really got me into rockabilly and music.
Your look and stage presence is somewhat reminiscent of Elvis. Would you say he's had an influence on you?
I'd say I have more of a Gene Vincent influence and Johnny Burnette, the underdogs of that era. Elvis just happened to be more popular, but someone like Gene Vincent was real raw and had more of a punk feel. However, I'm definitely into Elvis' stage presence.
In your music videos, especially "Hot as Hell," you seem like some sort of superhero that owns the town. Is Drop the Lime a man about town?
Sure, why not?
With famous hair that somehow always stays in place.
It's a gift. It doesn't move. I made a deal with the Devil about my hair.
Running Trouble and Bass, touring, and producing must be difficult. What's one of the more important things you've learned thus far?
It's important to build up a strong team and have a family vibe. I've always thought of it as some kind of gang where everyone helps out one other. It's also important to create a really strong international base. I've got crewmember The Captain, who manages the label and holds down the events when I'm away. Getting a really strong team behind you is the best way to keep an events running.
With the label also came the party. The Trouble and Bass club parties have been known to be sweaty and a bit insane. Did they stem from visions of your ideal party atmosphere?
Yeah, definitely, and it will have been five years come September. Star Eyes and I started throwing events that New York was lacking. It was missing events that combined club genres, because most club nights would do only a house, only hip-hop, or only dubstep night, and we wanted to play all of that at once. The party created a vibe where people know what to expect, but also get the unexpected, which is exciting.
You incorporate so many different genres into your music, like doo-wop and ghettotech. But the general description is '50s rock 'n' roll with club bass. Would you say that's accurate?
Yes, that's the sound I've been working on for a long time. Combining those genres is combining the two sounds that I love, which is '50s rock 'n' roll and dance music. It was always something I've loved and really wanted to do, so it happened naturally.
When are you planning on releasing Enter the Night? Are you working on material for it now?
It will be released in the fall, but right now, I'm focusing on the live shows. The album is done, though. For now we're doing a few key cities, but we're doing a full tour in the fall.
Speaking of live shows, in a recent interview you were quoted as saying, "Fuck Ableton." Is that true?
That's complete bullshit. I use it to do my live shows, and they misquoted me. Someone is just taking a cheap shot and create a stir. There's no way I would be able to do my live shows without it. I like Ableton! Everyone, let's be clear on this.
Enter the Night is a complete album, a change from the various EPs and singles you've released in the past. Was it only natural to want to make something more extensive?
Yeah. I mean, with the singles and EPs, it only made sense to make a complete album. I can take my influences from blues, Western music, soul, and just make an experience from the music. An album is something you can be a little more diverse with.
With so much bass in your life, what's something people would be surprised you're into?
Classical music! I love listening to Erik Satie or Tom Waits, even ambient music like Stars of the Lid. Those things are very far from what people think I'd listen to.