When WANARB Met: Claude VonStroke
We had the honour of meeting legendary American house producer Barclay Crenshaw AKA ‘Claude VonStroke’ ahead of his appearance at Gist in Chelmsford, 5th April. The dirtybird label boss talked about his weakness for being a perfectionist, how dubstep taught him a thing or two, and also what track he’d play to distract zombies from eating his brains.
Hi Claude, how are you?
Great thank you, just getting ready for Miami.
Congratulations on reaching 10 years as a label! How does it make you feel to reach such a milestone?
Well it’s actually only seven years as a label. Our BBQ Golden Gate park party is 10 years old but all the same we’ve been doing dirtybird for 10 years, record releases or not. It feels great especially when I see how much new music is coming out from everywhere. I feel lucky that we have survived and made some kind of mark.
After you’ve completed your global spring tour – what do you have planned for Dirtybird in 2012?
A global summer tour of course! Haha but seriously we have Justin Martin’s amazing debut album called Ghettos & Gardens. It is really a masterwork from Justin. I love it.
It’s refreshing that whilst much of the scene (especially here in London) has shifted its focus onto a deeper sound, Dirtybird has stuck to its guns by continuing to release its unique brand of bass heavy, hip hop infused tech house. Did you take a conscious decision not go down the deep house route?
I don’t actually think like that. How it works is I get demos in from famous and non-famous people. I listen to ALL of them. Then I decide what we are releasing purely on what I like. I’m not saying I don’t like deep house but I definitely don’t care what everyone else says is great. In fact I hope everyone plays deep house cuz it’s always better to be an individual. More bookings, more special, etc. etc.
You’re playing alongside Eats Everything at Gist in Chelmsford, Essex. How do you imagine the scene there will compare to that of your hometown of Detroit?
I hate to admit that I don’t know anything about Chelmsford. Maybe I should Google it. Is it supposed to be like Detroit or something? Hopefully it is cuz we are killing it in the D this year!
Much of your personal style leans towards hip hop – is that a route you’d like to pursue or do you think you’ll stick to techno going forward?
I’d like to pursue a lot of different things. Actually getting time to do them in the studio is a different matter entirely. I’m not so fast like some producers. I am somewhat of a perfectionist to a fault just like I know Justin Martin is. It can be kind of a curse working on a hi hat EQ for 3 hours because sometimes it doesn’t mean shit to the track but sometimes it does, so… I always do the extra work but it means I release music like molasses.
We heard you recently undertook a course on dubstep production – how was it, and what did you learn?
I took a few courses in Ableton at Point Blank Online school. One was hip-hop one was dubstep and another was a mixing course. You would be shocked as to how deep some of these DAWs are right now and all the things you think you knew but you didn’t. I just wanted to brush up on my skill-set.
How is it different from producing house music?
The dubstep class in particular taught me a really cool lesson about not using so many sounds and just making sure the sounds you use are all top quality and all EQ’d perfectly together. Not so much layering like in house. More sparse programming, so sound selection is everything.
Can we expect to hear stuff you learnt there in your upcoming releases?
For sure… 100% yes.
What producers should we be keeping an eye on right now?
Killfrenzy keeps sending me these great demos. I think Eprom’s new album is amazing. Justin Martin’s new album is also amazing.
If there was a zombie apocalypse, what track (any genre, any age) would you play to distract them whilst you tried to escape?
The Monster Mash?
If you want to delve a little deeper into the world of Claude VonStroke, then check out his latest release ‘Le Fantome‘ which is a staple part of my DJ diet right now. The 3rd and final instalment of the HATCHED compilation is also out now and well worth a check.
Claude VonStroke & Jaw – Le Fantôme (Preview)
Claude VonStroke is playing at Gist next Thurs 5th April in Chelmsford. We last featured a Gist night when Subb-an played (take a look at our interview here).
Gist: Thursday, April 5, 2012 / 9:00pm until 6:00am
Hooga Regency House, 16 Victoria Road, Chelmsford, CM1 1NZ