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THE HOT SEAT: CLAUDE VONSTROKE

Barclay Crenshaw aka Claude VonStroke is one of the States' favourite house and techno DJs...

What were your early thoughts on Ibiza?
During my first trip I played the totally wrong set at DC10 because I had no idea what the club even stood for. They found me on MySpace and asked me to play, and as their logo was a big clown head I figured I’d play all the crazy-sounding Dirtybird shit. I totally screwed it up and thought I would never be back again!”

Do you still enjoy coming here as much as you ever did?
I definitely love it more now than I did back then. It just takes a few magical island experiences to really fall in love with Ibiza, and I’ve been lucky enough to have some of those. It’s so easy to come in and fly out and never really do anything, but you have to take some days off and go to some other parties and really get inside the island to understand why it’s so great.”

How do you look back on your 2013 residency at Sankeys? What did you learn from the experience?
“I’m the type of person that tries a lot of ideas. Doing a party for 18 weeks with 90% American DJs and a family at home was so incredibly difficult. If it had just been a Claude VonStroke night it would have been a lot easier.

The politics of working all my best friends into the event and making sure everyone was happy really broke me down a bit, to be honest. You also need a shit ton more money than you think you will need to promote the parties.”

Dirtybird has a pretty clear identity, but there are also other tracks that are labeled as having the Dirtybird ‘sound’. Where do you stand on this?
“Yeah, lots of labels have borrowed from our sound over the years. I’m not talking about sampling; I’m talking about taking an influence and remaking it into something you love.

One thing I’ve learned is that everything has an ebb and flow, and I have to be able to deal with the times when everyone thinks we have fallen off our game as well as the times when everyone is kissing our ass. We have been through both waves more than once. I just sign the music I like, that’s it.”

We hear that America is going crazy for Claude VonStroke and Dirtybird right now...
“I can’t lie — we are really killing it over there right now. Everyone moved to Berlin and London during the Bush administration and left Dirtybird and Relief and Ovum and maybe a scant few others as the sole beacons of house music in America.

We set up massive roots and infrastructure here, and then house music became huge again almost overnight. We were just way more ready for it than everyone else so we found ourselves in a very rare and amazing position. [Relief and Cajual boss] Green Velvet and I laugh about how lucky we are right now!”

What are your hopes and dreams for this Ibiza season?
“I just want to play the best I can play. That might sound corny but sometimes when I am on the road the shows just start to melt into each other. I want all my Ibiza dates to be special — I'm not going to take any of them for granted this year. I’m playing four times here this summer, so I want to deliver something someone will remember when they go back home. I want to deliver happiness!”

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