Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Daily Bump: Shooting the breeze with Claude von Stroke

Claude von Stroke is San Francisco’s leading techno man – certainly a name synonymous with the city’s small, but vibrant contemporary dance music scene, carving out a niche sound that melds minimal, tech house and SF’s affinity for breaks and dirty beats. At Electric Zoo, Stroke delivered just that: a ruthless, bass-in-your-face kind of set that had us dancing up a dust storm. Right before he went on, the master of raw grooves kindly let us grill him about The Whistler, talking to Mozart and (not) forgetting to go home.

What album or EP would you say really put your career in motion?

It was the very first record. It was called Etho and it took a long time – like a year – to [be recognized]. Well this was back when you could actually have a record take a year to get heard and people just started picking up on it, like this little cool indie record. That was the door opener record. And the next record that really broke it was a side The Whistler B-side Who’s Afraid of Detroit? The Whistler was way bigger than Detroit in the beginning. It’s much more of a party record, so it kind of lasted.

How have you evolved as an artist since you first started out?

I don’t know if I’ve evolved that much. I probably wouldn’t make a record quite as frenetic as The Whistler at this point, but maybe I would.

Can you explain what makes Dirtybird different from your Mothership label?

Dirtybird is a really American, San Francisco label. And it’s like bass, funk, dirty beats. Mothership is more of a European sound, its all the way from hard techno to deep house, but doesn’t sound anything like Dirtybird, really.

What is your favorite location to play in San Francisco?

Depends what time of night it is. If its 6 am, I like the End Up. If it’s a regular peak time and its going to be really fun, maybe Mezzanine. I like the Starlight - it looks over the city and it’s kind of like a silly location.

Here’s a hypothetical question – if you were ever to meet Beethoven, how would you describe your sound?

I think he’s deaf, I guess I’d use sign language.

Oh, you are right about that. Okay, Mozart or Vivaldi?

I would literally just be like ‘dude, you’re going to hate this.’ Even though I played the cello for 14 years, there are certain people who I know I can’t even start a conversation with – they’d probably have a mental breakdown if they heard [my music]. Can you imagine playing dubstep for them? They’d just meltdown.

Speaking of dubstep, do you plan to dabble in any kind of dubstep production in the near future?

No, but I like some of it.

What’s it like to be in the Von Stroke music-making zone?

If it’s going well, it’s really good. If it’s going bad, you wouldn’t want to be there.

What’s next on the bill for you this year?

A bunch of more shows, some hip hop stuff – just messing around, probably a couple remixes and new tracks.

When was the last time you forgot to go home?

That never happens. I have two kids, they are 2 and 4.

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