Claude VonStroke: Close quarters

With a steady supply of EPs, albums and remix packages recently, Claude VonStroke’s Dirtybird posse has proven that you can have quantity and quality. This month, the label – which started life as a series of outdoor parties – will be taking a working holiday to Australia. With VonStroke, Justin Martin and J Phlip making the trip, we checked in with the main man.

First of all congratulations on Dirtybird coming sixth in XLR8R’s Top 20 Labels, as voted by the public. Through the seven years that the label has been around, what are some of your fondest memories of its journey?

Hand stamping all the first records and getting them out. The first parties that we did in Golden Gate Park. When we did Space Terrace last year with the whole label in Ibiza. Justin Martin’s album that just came out that we waited so long for; that was awesome. I would say in the beginning everything is more shiny and exciting. Then it gets to be like, “Are you really in it for the long haul?”

And are you?

I am. You know, some days it sucks and some days it’s amazing but I still love it.

You have put out records with a variety of artists from all over the world, with your most recent releases being from French DJ/producer French Fries and another from yourself and the UK’s Kry Wolf. How does working with these guys come about? Is it a natural progression or more of a talent scout-style commandeering?

It’s a very natural progression. With the French Fries thing it came about like two years ago I was in Social Club in Paris and I just stayed after everybody left. French Fries and his friends had just started putting out records and I was like, “Wow, this is amazing stuff”.

Kry Wolf were sending in beats and I really liked one of them, but I thought we needed to change around a load of stuff. I started collaborating with them on it and that’s how it came about, really organically. It’s usually pretty organic; it’s usually just me liking music, not to have to go find “this kind of sound”.

With Dirtybird still being a supporter of vinyl releases, what role do you think physical releases play in the scene at the moment, and do you think it’ll change in the future?

It’s hard to say. We still press vinyl but not on every release as we do too many releases to be able to do that, so I don’t know the answer to that. We only do vinyl because we want there to be vinyl. We don’t make any money off of it. In fact we probably lose money to be honest, but I don’t want to stop doing vinyl. We’ll keep doing it until they shut all the vinyl plants, I suppose. I don’t know what role it plays though; I don’t know anyone who goes out with a whole Dirtybird vinyl set.

If there is, would you like to hear from them?

Yeah, that would be amazing!

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