Claude VonStroke and dirtybird Records have contributed a hulluva lot when it comes to the modern American dance music scene. We caught up with chief dirtybird, Claude VonStroke, for a quick chat right before Miami Music Week to talk about his pioneering label, the motivation behind the Hatched compilation and tour, his A&R strategy and even his spirit animal.
Seems like you have a lot on your plate right now, as we descend into Miami Music Week. I hear the Dirtybird crew is taking the infamous BBQ party on the road this year? Can you tell me about that?
10-years ago we started this BBQ party in Golden Gate park and called it “dirtybird.” Over the years we picked up a lot of listeners and started a label and a few of us even started DJ careers. Haha. The Miami BBQ is a celebration of our 10th year grillin' and playing beats outdoors. We have an unbelievable line-up of dirtybird artists as well as a very, very special appearance by one of my fav artists of all time, Phife from A Tribe Called Quest. We will be giving away limited edition dirtybird Stunners (sunglasses) courtesy of our friends at Stumo. And our chief grill master (who has been with us all 10 years) will be there cooking burgers and carne asada. Our good friends at Point Blank Online School in London sponsor the whole thing.
There are label showcases coming up in Detroit and London as well, in addition to the Hatched tour in support of the absolutely fantastic compilation. Please, if you would, describe the idea behind Hatched, and what you hope to 'bring to the party' (figuratively and literally) for the upcoming dates.
The Hatched comp is a smattering of most the artists on the label right now contributing new music and pushing us forward into the future. The parties are all huge dirtybird line-ups, bigger than we have ever been able to do before. We hope to be able to bring our fun attitude and close-knit energy to every city possible.
There are also rumblings of a dirtybird collaboration with Drip.fm, how is this going to work?
It’s already working. You can read all about it here. It's called the birdhouse. You pay a small monthly fee and you get all of our releases way before they come out plus unreleased material, cool back catalog, exclusive versions and DJ mixes, discount tickets, production tip videos, everything! It’s a great value—especially if you like dirtybird it’s definitely the way to go. And also a new concept in direct distribution to the super-fans.
Also excitingly, there is news that you guys are launching a podcast series? Thrilling! Tell me more.
Yeah we are still working on that one! More news later.
“Ghettos and Gardens” is apparently in the works with your Dirtybird brethren, Justin Martin. What can we expect?
You can expect an amazing album from Justin. I absolutely love it. I think Justin is going to have a big, big year. The album doesn't sound like anything else. It is both tough and tender at the same time, fantastic stuff.
Justin Martin "Below The Baseline Mix" Spring 2012
You are releasing a lot of really fresh, innovative music right now from exciting new producers—French Fries and Kill Frenzy, for example—how do you go about staying true to the Dirtybird sound while staying ahead of the curve?
I always tell people you could be a sloth with no fingers and one eyeball and if you send me a hot, hot track I will sign it. I listen to every demo and I try to pick out the best of the best. Everyone on the label had to turn in a demo at one point and that is the backbone of how we do it. Even if you are a superstar I consider your tracks alongside the guy no one knows who sent me stuff through our soundcloud.
Quickly, if you were a sandwich, what kind of sandwich would you be?
What is your spirit animal?
Bird of course.
Anything you wish we asked or poignant part(y)ing words for Magnetic?
Come to the party! We'll see u there.