Amid all of this summer's techno and barbecue fests, Claude VonStroke — the mastermind behind San Francisco-based, Detroit-loving record label Dirtybird — came up with the ingenious idea to combine the two into one two-day festival of delicious beats and meats.
VonStroke spoke with Metro Times about his record label, his own work, and the "Double D" two-day barbecue festival on Belle Isle, which takes place this Saturday, Aug. 27 and Sunday, Aug. 28.
Metro Times: First of all, where did your musical moniker originate?
Claude VonStroke: It was a joke. We were making up European minimal techno names about 14 years ago. But no one else's stuck! We were just making fun of everything that was super serious at that time. It was like minimal was king in the house sphere and everyone had funny names. It was a total joke.
People I was with remembered the name and were putting it on fliers. Then everyone started saying it. So when I made my first record about three weeks later, I decided to put that on the record, instead of my real name.
MT: Did you move from Detroit to California to start your label, Dirtybird?
VonStroke: I just wanted to move to California. And after a few years, I started Dirtybird. I live in LA, and our label is in San Francisco. I met a few guys into similar music, and there was a little house music scene. And we were all on the same page of hating popular, glossy, over-produced music. So we were trying to make a more gritty, Detroit, bumpy, sound.
MT: So what's the deal with the barbecue fest?
VonStroke: We've done a barbecue fest for free in Golden Gate Park even before the label started. We started traveling around a few years ago, and change the cities up every year. We're doing Detroit because we got Belle Isle. In Seattle, we're playing under the Space Needle. In San Francisco, we're on Treasure Island. The venues really dictated where we would play; we wanted cool places to play. The last city choice was a fan vote, and Miami won.
This year, we've changed up the barbecue fest to make it a little more entertaining. There are games and a "best of show" competition for funniest outfit. There will be barbecue from Slows. We're going for a county fair-type vibe, with house/techno, even though that sounds really weird.
MT: Any local talent, or is it strictly Dirtybird artists?
VonStroke: There's one local artist each day. Everyone else is on Dirtybird. But we wanted to get some locals in there, as well. I'll be playing two sets; the first day is all new stuff, while the second day is an overview of the history of Dirtybird — every track that's a marker for the label. It should be a fan favorite, like a greatest hits set. I just wanted to play two totally different things.
MT: What's the story behind your track "Who's Afraid of Detroit"?
VonStroke: I made it when I moved into downtown Detroit from the suburbs. Everyone I talked to from the burbs was afraid of doing downtown. That was around 2005.
The Dirtybird BBQ Detroit "Double D" takes place on Belle Isle, this Saturday, Aug. 27 and Sunday, Aug. 28; Day 1 performers are as follows: Claude VonStroke (New Music Set), J.Phlip, Christian Martin vs Worthy, Will Clarke, and Golf Clap; Day 2 performers are as follows: Claude VonStroke (History of Dirtybird Set), Justin Martin, Kill Frenzy, Ardalan, and Dateless; for updates check dirtybird.com/bbq; Doors at 9:30 p.m.; One-day passes are $35, two-day passes are $65, with variations for meal options.