If you still reminisce about those old summer camp days, enjoy live music and all-night raging, then Barclay Crenshaw aka Claude VonStroke’s got you. This past weekend Dirtybird Records and The Do Lab joined forces to throw VonStroke’s most successful party yet. The Dirtybird Campout was an adult summer camp-turned-slumber party-turned-weekend long hangout with Claude, who spent the whole time participating in camp activities and sharing beers with campers.
The nearly sold-out festival was invaded by a loyal thread of longtime fans that have been following Claude VonStroke since the start of his career. “I’ve been following Claude for over six years and I’ve seen him live like seven times…” a camper told me. I came across similar statements from other campers who traveled long distances to Southern California solely to partake in Claude’s inaugural Campout. After a day or two at the Camp it became clear to me that tons of people truly admire the guy. If his funky house dance music didn’t get them, his genuine and heartwarming spirit must have done the job.
I got to spend some time with the Dirtybird boss in a comfy backstage area where he was in high demand for congratulatory hugs over the 10th year anniversary of his label. We talked music, cake and Playboy pictorials.
It’s your label’s 10 year anniversary. Happy Anniversary!
Thank you, it’s also my wedding anniversary in November, ten years also!
You’re married, you have your label, your own music, radio show and now you’re throwing a festival. Do you ever get to sleep?
No, I don’t sleep very well and I have a pinched nerve on my shoulder, so now I really never sleep.
What are you gonna do about it?
I don’t know, I’m gonna take some Excedrin and stay up. That’s been my answer all weekend just party it off until you can’t party anymore.
Tell me more about your music genre.
We do house music from the perspective of people who used to listen to hip-hop, drum and bass when they were growing up… So it’s like house but a little grittier than vocal stuff and commercial stuff.
What type of crowd does music at the Dirtybird attract?
All nice people, everybody is really cool. I don’t want to say that we’re excluding anyone but when it’s 21 and up it’s a little less chaotic.
Do you think the Dirtybird Campout will get huge?
I hope so but I don’t want it to get so huge that it’s not fun anymore. We want it to be the most fun festival in the world.
You think you can make that happen?
I think we’re doing it right now! I hope so.
Make a Cake is one of your most popular songs. What’s your favorite cake? Do you like layers or are you more of a cheesecake guy?
I like German Chocolate, its got that like coconuty frosting you know? Like the orangy-brown frosting with chocolate inside. That’s good, it’s making me hungry.
Is that what inspired you to write that song?
No, I was making that beat and my son just came in and told me he was going to make a cake with my wife. Then I’m like, “We can make a cake papa…” and I just said, “We can make a cake pa pa” in the mic and I just chopped it into a very weird “We can make a cake ba ah ah ah ah” [laughs].
What was your first encounter with Playboy?
I grew up when it was impossible to see nudity, there was no Internet, I think I was at my friend’s Ben Sterling’s house and his dad had a Playboy stash and we would steal them and go look at them and we would be like “Holy shit, look at those boobs” [laughs].
What’s the first song you remember the words too?
It’s going to be classical music… My Dad would play Für Elise all the time, every morning in the piano like, fa ro ni nah nah nah naa.
Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
Yes! I like to dance in the booth with the DJ before me to get my spirit in the right mood, then I organize my music in the right category so If I have an idea I can get to it really fast and sometimes I do a little stretch.
Like a yoga stretch?
Yeah, because I have this pinched nerve on my shoulder, I do all these posture poses that Lisa Sanchez has been giving me. All these poses I’m actually doing right now… Lisa is my physical therapist.
What’s your pop culture blind spot?
Okay, I really am into hip-hop but I don’t follow commercial hip-hop enough to know what’s going on.
What’s your favorite city to play?
I never answer that question because they are all different, they are all beautiful.
If you had to have one last meal what would it be?
I would have a Greek salad and then maybe a lobster… and like some French-cut green beans with garlic butter [laughs] and then like a brownie with some ice cream.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
When we say we’re going to do a bunch of shit and then it doesn’t get executed.
You mean other people?
No like when we say we’re gonna do this, this and this, and everyone is like, “yeah, that’s a great idea” and then we don’t do it. That pisses me off [laughs].
Diana is a web producer for Playboy.com. Follow her @dilovesyou_