Interview: James Curd

Chicago born producer James Curd has put out previous releases which have came on a number of house music’s leading imprints, including Circus Recordings, Get Physical Music, and Nervous Records.

His latest outing finds him return to Shir Khan’s Berlin-based Exploited label, where names like Joyce Muniz, Kotelett, and Christian Nielsen have released in the past.

The now Australia-based Curd brings his debut studio album, the 14-track “Taken All This Time” LP to Exploited, we spoke to him about the new project, how his relationship with Exploited has developed, and how he compares Australia to his home city.

Hey James, I hope you’re well, tell our readers what you have been up to recently?

Hey Hey! I’ve been gearing up for a Mel Gibson feature film I’m scoring. I’ve been DJing at a rock bar called Cry Baby that is super fun. I’ve reconnected with my old Greenskeepers buddy Mark and created a new project called Modern Living. I have some new music coming out on Desert Hearts, Farris Wheel, and Circus next year! Hopefully I’ll be back to DJing overseas a bunch more.

You’re about to release your new LP ’Taken All This Time’ on Shir Khan’s Exploited imprint, walk us through the release in your own words?

Exploited is a label that has really supported me as an artist. They let me be creative and gave me a platform to release a wide variety of music. This album is a bunch of my favorite releases on Exploited along with 4 new songs. Cody Hudson did all of the artwork. I’m really proud of the finished product in the way it looks and sounds. I hope people can enjoy it.

It’s certainly not the first time you’ve worked with Exploited, what’s your opinion on how they operate as a label?

The best part is the creative freedom. People always push me to work with major labels but I just prefer to work with friends. People who have believed in me from the beginning and let me release the music I want to. It’s been almost 10 years since my first release on Exploited and it’s been a great partnership!

And what is your favourite track from the Exploited catalogue?

Exploited has so many great songs from Claptone, Joyce Muniz, Adana Twins and more. My favourite has to be by my buddy Osunlade with his remix of “High Tower”.

We have also seen you release music on Greenskeepers Music, Circus Recordings, and Get Physical, what do you look for in a label when considering them for a release?

For me it’s all about a label believing in my music. I’m all over the map. I make so much music. I do film scores, I make music for Grand Theft Auto, I have the Favored Nations band project, and I make club tracks. I love working with friends and I love working with labels that are happy to take chances and not chase what is popular at the moment.

And which labels might we expect to see you on in the near future?

I have some new music coming for Exploited, Desert Hearts, Circus, Farris Wheel and more!

You’re a Chicago native, but now live in Australia, that’s quite the journey?

I really miss Chicago. I actually just got off facetime with Derrick Carter 10 minutes ago. I still feel like Chicago is home. I still feel like a visitor in Australia. But the truth is Australia is so nice. The healthcare, schools, gun control, weather, traffic, minimum wage, and community are really nice. I miss the culture, food and friends back home but the daily grind is way better here. I built a studio behind my house and I can pop out and work on music so easily. Chicago is still there and the world is still there. I just have to jump on a plane for a few extra hours but this is actually an amazing homebase.

The Chicago club scene is infamous for being deeply rooted in the history of house music, how have you found the scene down under?

It’s not good but that’s ok. It’s like getting RC Cola when you ordered a Coke. Chicago born and bred a culture. I grew up DJing during that 2nd wave in the 90’s. Australia tried to invent a club culture by watching YouTube. I love Australia. I just do not have a musical connection here. I had more gigs in Australia when I was coming from Chicago. Now that I’ve moved here I’m iced out. It’s a small town mentality and my resume works more against me. Thankfully I did not move here for the house scene. Hopefully they will evolve and I can be more involved in the future. I love their spirit and they are trying their best.

Thanks a lot for answering our questions, is there anything else you want to mention before we go?

Sure enough when Dad found out I’d been running around behind his back. He was madder than I ever seen him. His punishment for deceiving him: He made me take extra music lessons every day after school, and wait there ‘till he came to pick me up. He said “if the piano didn’t keep me off the streets, maybe the clarinet would.”

James Curd – Taken All This Time LP is out September 24th on Exploited.