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22349492826_c9d25f39c0_oCrenshaw: Yes! A lot of outboard synths. I probably have six or seven synths, and I’ve been using them a lot—more than usual. When it’s that half-time sound, it’s not totally dependent on being perfect. In house, it can be a little bit off, but when you get down to like 80 BPM, there’s a little bit of leeway in there and you can just be like wuh-wah-wuh-wah. You can just play it live more.

DJ Times: Are you using the same gear for your house stuff?
Crenshaw: No. On the Barclay Crenshaw project, I went into Red Bull Studios for two weeks and recorded all live musicians. That was the base of the project. Not all the songs are using that material, but I’d say half have real live players as the samples. There’s no samples; I never sample.

DJ Times: Is this all going to exist in addition to Claude VonStroke and Dirtybird?
Crenshaw: Yes, but I’m not going to do double touring [laughs].

DJ Times: How has Dirtybird’s sound evolved, changed, and adapted over 10 years?
Crenshaw: I think that we’ve DJed so many gigs that we understand better what works in the nightclub, which I don’t necessarily think makes the tracks better. They’re just more DJable. Sometimes I miss those weirder ones. I’m actually looking for weirder ones again.

DJ Times: Is that why you have the new Dirtybird sub-label?
Crenshaw: That’s because what started to happen is I have myself, Justin [Martin], Ardalan—there’s like three to four people who always turn in a record or two a year. We only do like 11 records [each year]. If everyone just turns in the records they usually do, then we’re done. I can’t do Dateless, I can’t do Ciszak, I can’t introduce anyone. It’s more like a “here’s a new person.” We’re going to work them in and see how they do.

DJ Times: The roster of the label itself has expanded and changed over the decade. You’ve added J.Phlip, Will Clarke, Shiba San, and more. What are you looking for when you’re bringing someone into the fold?
Crenshaw: You’d be surprised at all the people who came in and didn’t really hang around: Julio Bashmore, Breach, Riva Starr, Tim Green, Eats Everything. We started all those guys!

DJ Times: Could they just not hang with the crew?
Crenshaw: I actually think they were very smart because [Dirtybird] is very American. And you just have to go out on your own if you want to get to a certain level.

DJ Times: Are you ever afraid of Dirtybird ever getting “too big”?
Crenshaw: That’s a great question. Yes, but I don’t think we’re really there. I don’t think so because when I see a single DJ have like 30,000 people watch them, we’re not even really close to that. We’ve got 10 guys and we’re maybe playing to 6,000 people.

DJ Times: Are you still thinking of capping the Dirtybird Campout?
Crenshaw: Yeah. We did raise it up a little bit this year, but that’s because last year we basically just broke even. You have to make something! I don’t think Campout would be as fun if it was a 20,000-person festival. It would be more of a company.

DJ Times: You and the label have never been bigger. Where do you go from here with that? Is it keep on keeping on or do you have your eyes set on other things?
Crenshaw: Well, I’m definitely going to make a bunch of Claude VonStroke music for next year—whether that’s going to be an album, I don’t know yet. We’re bad planners [laughs]! I hope that everyone turns in great music, and they always do. I’m just winging it! For me personally, I really hope my other project works and I kind of like do them in tandem a little bit.

Claude VonStroke: 3 Key Dirtybird Releases

With more than 10 years in the rearview mirror, Dirtybird has amassed a treasure trove of booty-shaking anthems in its collection. While all live up to the strict standards of the Dirtybird Players, a few somehow manage to shine even brighter than the rest. We tasked Claude VonStroke with naming the three releases he views as the label’s most important.

Claude VonStroke – “Deep Throat” (2005): “[This] was the first record that let us know that we would be able to stay open, and it was the first record that anybody called me on the phone and said, ‘I heard this guy is playing this over in Europe.’ That was the first time I knew anything had worked. “

Justin Martin – “Don’t Go” (2012): “When Justin Martin finished his first album [Ghettos & Gardens], this was a big record for us. It took Justin a long time to come out with that, but when he did I feel like it legitimized him in the roster as a big name.”

Get Real – Mind Yo Bizness/Snuffaluffagus EP (2016): “Just because it’s not typical that I work with anybody, and it’s a little bit out of my comfort zone. [Green Velvet is] pretty much the only person that I looked up to when I was starting because I only listened to hip-hop, so the only the only dance music person that I was like, ‘Holy shit,’ was Green Velvet/Cajmere.”

– C.C.

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