A lot can happen in 15 years. Few things manage to thrive for a decade and a half, especially in music. But a scrappy, left of center, Bay Area house music label, Dirtybird, has managed to do just that. Claude VonStroke, Dirtybird’s founder, is marking this 15-year milestone the only way he knows how… working. This year, VonStroke will throw two dozen-plus parties, three festivals (including the famous Dirtybird Campout), host his traveling Dirtybird BBQ series in major cities across the US, publish a coffee table book, release a seasonal clothing line, stage art shows, produce a fly on the wall docu series...and kick it all off by releasing a new album, out February 21st.
What began as a free party, turned basement record label, has morphed into a truly thriving community whose familial, fun and welcoming vibe has won over hearts and minds across the world. And while Dirtybird has grown and evolved, VonStroke’s core focus on music remains unwavering. The new album ‘Freaks & Beaks’ is a celebration of quirky innovation and a relentless pursuit of something new and fresh, while hearkening back to the freewheeling spirit that inspired the launch of his label. This is a project that draws upon the inspirations of family, old friends, new fans and proper dancefloors.
Claude will let his flock wet their beaks while they wait in anticipation of the new album with two new singles demonstrating the breadth of the dance music landscape explored on the record. Youngblood touches on the deeper sides of Claude VonStroke, a throwback to the label’s early days, featuring local LA music house talent Wyatt Marshall, while All My People in the House is a dancefloor heater that is sure to unite new and old Dirtybird fans together.
Today, Claude also delivers fans part one of an intimate video series, shot by his sister Emily (an accomplished filmmaker), documenting the creation of ‘Freaks and Beaks’, celebrating this historic milestone and taking a deeper dive into the day to day life of Claude VonStroke on the road.
‘Freaks and Beaks’ is the fourth artist album and sixth full-length project from Claude VonStroke. He approached the album with a new process, including committing to daily creative time, experimenting with a lot of new hardware and having fun creating a huge amount of sketches. He made music on many levels of gear all the way from complex modular synths to simple drum apps on his iPad. Keeping it all DIY, he sampled his own voice and his two children on several tracks as well. He allowed himself to breathe while creating over 130 ideas, which were whittled down to the finished 11 album tracks.
Freaks & Beaks nods at the inspirations that underpin VonStroke’s world, inside jokes between him and Justin Martin (FlubbleBuddy), unused experimental live sessions (Session A), playful noodling on synths (Alpine Arpline), obscure French producers (Frankie Goes To Bollywood), championing new talent (Youngblood), irreverent self-aware humor (Birthday Messages) and genre inspirations that range from ghetto tech and drum n bass to hip-hop and breaks. This is VonStroke’s love letter to the vibrancy and genre diversity that have made Dirtybird such a singular label.
Renowned Bay Area artist Jeremy Fish created all the original artwork for the album. A beautiful box set will be available in limited edition quantities. The box set includes a triple gatefold album vinyl, 12x12 coffee table book marking the 15 year birthday of the label, a sticker pack and 3 poster prints all featuring the Jeremy Fish album artwork.
Claude VonStroke created a small underground record label called Dirtybird in 2005 and grew it into a full-fledged events, clothing and music brand over the last 15 years. During this time, he has also managed to release 4 artist albums and some of the most iconic house music tracks of the last two decades.
Most people know Claude VonStroke for his smiling DJ persona touring every major city, festival, and basement after-party around the world. But Claude has also influenced the very fabric of the dance community, A&Ring an impeccable roster of acts like Justin Martin, Fisher, Shiba San, Catz n Dogz, Riva Starr, Tim Green, Breach, Eats Everything, Walker & Royce, Shadow Child, and countless others. (And even naming a few of these artists.) Today, his Dirtybird label continues to surprise and innovate in the underground dance scene, releasing an enigmatic combination of house, funk, dirty-bass, and electronica.
VonStroke has released four original artist albums, a remix album, and a live album recorded when he closed the famed Movement Festival in his original hometown of Detroit Michigan. Some other music highlights include working on records with Bootsy Collins, Rihanna, Disclosure and Kevin Saunderson as well as a few #1 & #2 hits on Beatport. His partnership with Green Velvet as “GET REAL” has been one of the most rewarding friendships as Claude originally modeled his career off the quirky enigmatic style of his mentor and now good friend from Chicago.
In 2015 VonStroke brought his first festival to light called Dirtybird Campout, a unique boutique festival based on the games and activities associated with American Summer camp mixed with the best underground house and bass music in the world. He continues to innovate and curate new events with 2 additional multi-day festivals mirroring his Birdhouse radio show in Los Angeles and Chicago and his record BBQ event series that has been going since 2003!
VonStroke also loves art, most notably pop surrealist artwork that he has commissioned for the last 7 years on Dirtybird for all of the releases. Each year he hires a new artist and has had the pleasure of working with renowned artists such as Jeremy Fish, Dulk, Graham Carter, Dan May, Charlie Immer, Raoul Deleo and Felicia Chiao. Walking through the Dirtybird HQ in Los Angeles is like walking through an art gallery in the Wynwood district of Miami.
A lot of his success can be attributed to a good attitude. Claude does not scowl and look mean while he DJs. He does not pretend to know everything and he truly loves his fans. He is grateful to be curating, creating and performing music for a living and he knows that the reason people go to parties is to shake their booty and have fun.