Label profile: Dirty Bird
As the American house label spreads its wings to London this weekend, we tell you everything you need to know about one of the hottest Stateside exports in dance music
Tue Mar 12 2013
Barclay Crenshaw (left) is a very lucky man. Back in 2004 he was a frustrated DJ and producer living in San Francisco who dreamed of ditching his job and starting a label. His girlfriend made him an incredible offer – she’d pay rent and bills for a year while he tried to make the label work. If it didn’t, he’d have to go back to being a depressed and jaded wage slave. Crenshaw slipped fully into his DJ alias, Claude VonStroke, and started the label Dirty Bird. After scene-defining hits like ‘Who’s Afraid of Detroit?’, he now heads a globally followed and outrageously successful dance imprint. Unsurprisingly, he also married his girlfriend.
Take the slowly developing grooves of tech-house, pepper them with the occasional heady rush of electro and the filthy rumble of UK bass music, and you’ve got the core ingredients of a Dirty Bird release. The secret touch however is an ability to avoid being as po-faced and earnest as much of its competition. One listen to the horror sound effects on The Martin Brothers’ ‘Full Moon’ or a glance at the title of Genghis Clan’s ‘Aaaaah Sheeet’ show that Dirty Bird is able to make tongues wag while keeping its own firmly in cheek.
The special relationship
It’s fair to say that America has been in hock to British dance music in recent years. Just look at dubstep – invented in south London, yet so ingrained in America’s mainstream that the White House even used a wub-wubbing soundtrack on a video trailing President Obama’s State of the Union address last month. Thankfully Dirty Bird is helping repay the debt. New-school UK house heroes Julio Bashmore and Eats Everything (left) released some of their first material on the label, plus they’ve recently been championing one of 2013’s breakout stars, British house producer Shadow Child. The love runs both ways, though, with VonStroke asked to record both a prestigious FabricLive mix and a Radio 1 Essential Mix.
- Critics choice
Dirty Bird came together by hosting outdoor parties in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park – accompanied by a barbecue chef known enigmatically as ‘Grillson’. While there won’t be any meat treats at Saturday’s London showcase, there’s sure to be bangers galore. Joining Claude VonStroke in the booth will be Dirty Bird mainstays Justin Martin, J.Phlip (left) and Catz N’Dogs, while Bristolian DJ Eats Everything represents the label’s Transatlantic connection.The Dirty Bird Players is at Village Underground, Sat Mar 16
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Popular nightlife this week Soak up some of the capital's best sounds whilst soaking up some of the capital's best views this summer. As soon as the sun comes out, head up to London's best rooftop venues and enjoy a scorcher of an evening at a height. Dalston Roof Park Crane your neck above Café Oto and you might spot this charming pop-up roof garden, which springs back into action for the season, often hosting events organised by London promoters who love their alternative beats and bass. Warm and cosy, with grow bags and solar panels in view and astroturf under foot, the Roof Park should be in full swing all summer. Netil House This unassuming building near London Fields, home to over 90 artist studios, plays host to some seriously vibrant nightlife. When there's not hundreds of sweaty ravers dancing their socks off in its warehouse space, Netil House's decking-clad rooftop offers superb views of the city. Throw in a bar, some music and the occasional open-air film screening and you've got yourself a superb summer nights venue. Queen of Hoxton A cool bar and club all year round, this Hoxton haunt takes the action onto their huge rooftop when summer lands. You'll be able to soak up anything from daytime silent discos (previous spinners at these headphone affairs have included Ashley Beedle and Jazzie B) to film screenings to workshops – rooftop Tie-Dye, anybody? The Prince of Wales Formerly known as Brixton Clubhouse and then The Lambeth, this
Forget staying indoors: this summer is about alfresco clubbing Popular nightlife this week Art of Dark Third Birthday Party Recently opened Greenwich club Studio 338 hosts some great all-dayers on its vast premises, including the Art of Dark Third Birthday Party on Saturday July 26. Headlined by globe-hopping house selector Cassy, it will see the venue’s car park transformed into an outdoor dance arena. Krankbrother Day and Night Terrace Party Not a fan of getting wild and sweaty with strangers in a car park? Also at Studio 338 is the Krankbrother Day and Night Terrace Party on August 2, which utilises the venue’s enormous terrace and features the summery disco grooves of John Talabot. Troupe Terrace Block Party Sometimes, though, we all just want to be at a New York block party. However, the closest you’ll get without splashing out on the airfare is the Troupe Terrace Block Party on August 2. Starting at noon, it takes place on and around Monier Road and iCan Studios in Hackney Wick, with NYC deep house pro Dennis Ferrer and Chicago beat genius Green Velvet setting the sonic mood. Tuckshop Summer Carnival Hungry for more? Chow down on the sweet audio treats offered at the Tuckshop Summer Carnival at Hackney Wick arts space Shapes. Jazzy, global beats maestro Gilles Peterson headlines this tropical party, featuring hula-hoopers, street food and a beach. Okay, an artificial beach, but you can still sunbathe on it. Slide & Get Diverted: Outside/In
Rave on the waves this summer Popular nightlife this week Hot Tub Cinema New dates and films announced The trouble with regular cinemas is that you just can't get all slippery and wet while you're watching the film without eyebrows being raised and security guards being called. Solving this problem in hip London style is Hot Tub Cinema, the runaway success of a project that screens cult movies on a huge screen while punters kick back in hot tubs, quaffing drinks and generally feeling just like the rap superstar they've always dreamed of being. After a winter sesh that warmed numerous cockles, HTC is back for the summer with a new mission, to take its watery filmic adventures into unused and unexpected London spaces for that extra 'watery-wow' factor. After screening 11 flims in what used to be Shoreditch Tube station back in the day, the HTC crew are rising up from their subterranean lair and going sky-high, landing way up on top of Shoreditch's Rockwell House for eight nights, from Thu Jul 17-Thu Jul 24. This time round, they're going back to the '80s, so give yourself the biggest hairdo you can manage, make some impromptu shoulder pads and dig out those Reebok pumps – before stripping off and dipping into the hot tub to watch your classic flick of choice. Below is the list of films you can enjoy and tickets are available at hottubcinema.com from Fri Jul 4. Thu Jul 17 – Teen Wolf Fri Jul 18 – Airplane! Sat Jul 19 – Ferris Bueller's Day Off Sun J
Popular nightlife this week Hackney Hardware A hardware store-turned cool pop-up bar, you say? How very Hackney indeed. Tucked away in Cambridge Heath, tThis appealing pop-up will be serving cocktails, booze and tasty food until August 3, so head along and grab yourself a rosemary gin and tonic or a Beavertown beer. And feel free to ask for a screw as many times as you like - that joke never gets old. Flamingo Pier This summer-soaked tropical-themed event is hosted on a pontoon boat moored by a Hackney Wick canalside cafe, and features street food, cocktails and guest DJ sets, which you can dance to on deck. It takes place on the first Friday of every month throughout summer, and this weekend's instalment (Fri Jul 4), is a special Los Angeles-themed party. There'll be bespoke cocktails, LA-angled food and a DJ set from deep disco producer Dubka, who's not from LA but is ace anyway, so we're fine with that. Just make sure you don't fall into the canal as you're throwing those shapes. Red Market 2014 Red Market – the outdoor pop-up taking place in the large courtyard area of Shoredtich's Red Gallery – returns for 2014, with a newly redesigned outdoor space. As ever, it's an appealing mix of music (from some great undergound DJs), street food and cocktail bars. The market runs every Wednesday-Saturday until August, with a new DJ line-up each week, giving you plenty of reasons to pay it a visit. Oh, and in case you're worried about the British sum