WXJM: First off, as fan and a DJ myself it’s super cool to have this opportunity to talk to you. You’re one of the main reasons I got into this style of music and started DJing in the first place.
Claude VonStroke: thank u so much. Its a very nice feeling to know that i have influenced someone in a positive way.
WXJM: How would you describe your sound/style to someone that’s never heard you before?
CVS: beverly hills coyote + ghetto strip club + Detroit philharmonic + brooklyn hip-hop + bristol drum n bass —- all mixed up into house music..
WXJM: How would you describe your experience growing up in Detroit? Did growing up around such a major center of music influence you at an early age?
CVS: yes but not really in the way everyone assumes. i was inspired mostly by the radio, by early hip-hop and funk music and a very eclectic mix of things. also by the symphony orchestra and the music my parents love.
WXJM: What got you into DJing/producing? Was it a particular artist, friend, etc.?
CVS: I was always into it but i never had a mentor. You could say i ended up mentoring myself by making a documentary about famous Djs and going out and getting the info i wanted to get on my own – interviewing Djs and house producers to find out what they were doing.
WXJM: I remember seeing an interview you did about a year ago. In it you stated that you didn’t sample when making music. What’s your reasoning for not doing so?
CVS: i from other music. But the main reason was that i saw how much easier it was to not sample, so many less headaches if you have a hit track that you own and you made all yourself. I also feel like its much more creative, harder to do and more rewarding to know you didnt steal anything.
WXJM: How did your Ibiza residency work out? Was it everything you guys were hoping for? Do you have any favorite stories or moments from the experience?
CVS: The season was like everything in life. We had to work really hard in oder to play really hard. We loved the opportunity and the parties were amazing. I dont know if i could ever travel to Spain for 13 weeks again until my kids are older but it was so great to do it and see everyone out there from this little American label. We had some really good fun in Ibiza.
WXJM: Your new record varies a lot stylistically and by genre. What were the primary influences for you in making it?
CVS: I want to make music and not be tied down to anything. I also know my fans dont want to hear 10 drum n bass tunes so i took everything into consideration and came up with what i think is an album full of cool ideas and tracks that i had fun making.
WXJM: The artwork of the album is really unique, too. Who was behind that whole process and how did the idea of having architectural photos of Detroit/the midwest as animals come about?
CVS: This was my idea but i didnt execute the actual art myself. I sent a ton of buildings i love over to Matt Goldman and told him the idea that i wanted to make something cool out of them…just like in music i use alot of sounds to construct a brand new entity – i wanted Matt to use all the buildings to create different animals. Fortunately, he did an amazing job and came up with these really cool animal images using the architecture.
WXJM: I saw you are bringing label mate J Phlip along with you for your upcoming tour. How did your relationship with her come to pass? What can we expect from the tour in general?
CVS: Jessica’s style and my style go together really well. Sometimes when i play with the other people from dirtybird its kind of like a battle to see who has the bigger tracks but with Jessica, she has her own sound that is really refined and a bit more advanced. Its no offense to anyone else of course, her sound just fits with mine the best to make a really great party. Its not that easy to play an amazing opening set. Thankfully she is really talented and she understands how to make the show flow really really well. Im so happy she is on this tour. Pretty soon she will be the headliner and so im really grateful to have this chance to tour with her before she gets to that next level.
WXJM: When you DJ do you like to stick to a particular sound/BPM or do you vary it up regularly?
CVS: It depends on the night. Sometimes i break out and play drum n bass or some modern dubstep vibes, but sometimes i just like to rock it all night around 124 bpm. it really depends on what the crowd is feeling with me. I really try to never play the same set.
WXJM: What can we expect from Dirtybird in the near future? Also, what was the reasoning behind the label name?
CVS: A bunch of great remixes from my album will come out as well as our big compilation at the start of next year. Just now we have a really cool EP by ZDS as well. The label name just came from a childhood drawing i used to do of a bird. i drew it in church to try and get my little brother to laugh.
WXJM: Is there anyone in the current scene who has impressed you lately?
CVS: Cajmere just finished his album and i loved it and then i heard he’s almost already done with a Green Velvet album as well!! 2 albums in one year for our genre is incredibly impressive, especially when they are good!!
WXJM: Do you have any words of wisdom for performing or general advice for aspiring club dj’s? “
CVS: dont copy other people and deliver the highest quality possible. If you dont have any money dont start a label – put some tracks out on other labels and wait until you have a name to try that part of it. but overall, believe in yourself and create a support network of friends that all believe in your sound.
Interview by: Ross Figlerski