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

0

Comments

Add +

The history

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.

The sound

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.

The party

  • 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

  1. Village Underground 54 Holywell Lane, EC2A 3PQ
  2. Until Sun Mar 17
More info

Read the latest clubbing interviews

Ministry of Sound celebrates New York club Paradise Garage

Ahead of an upcoming club night paying tribute to NYC nightspot Paradise Garage, we ask the DJs involved why the club still matters over 30 years later It was only open for ten years, but the Paradise Garage and resident DJ Larry Levan are now the stuff of nightlife legend. From 1977 until 1987, Levan’s pioneering disco edits and wild sets blew minds, while the club was an underground disco haven for New York City’s gay and minority communities, as well as countless dedicated clubbers.London clubbing institution Ministry of Sound was inspired by the Garage, and is hosting a tribute to the venue and Levan, who died in 1992. The event, called A Night in Paradise, boasts a once-in-a-lifetime line-up of Garage alumni and newer DJs, and aims to raise £20,000 for two HIV charities, Terrence Higgins Trust and New York-based Gay Men’s Health Crisis. We asked six top DJs from the roster (which also includes Joey Llanos, Kenny Carpenter and soul singer Jocelyn Brown performing her own songs live) what the Paradise Garage legacy means to them. We’ve also collected together a selection of original photos and flyers from the glory days of Paradise Garage, below. A Night in Paradise live in London Popular nightlife this week Read more nightlife features Ministry of Sound celebrates Paradise Garage We speak to the DJs involved at a tribute night to the seminal NYC club New Year’s Eve parties and club nights in London See in 2015 with by partying hard at one of London’s best NYE

Basement Jaxx interview: ‘Lady Gaga felt like the end of pop music’

The club-conquering duo are back with a new album, but where’s Felix Buxton’s head at?

Hot Since 82's Taken party

Fancy being blindfolded, bundled on to a bus and led to a mystery location for a party? Now's your chance...

MNEK

The hot-topic, golden-voiced singer-songwriter is throwing a party for his first London headline show and it's going to be dirty and gritty

Read more clubbing features

Users say

2 comments

Listen to our top ten Dirty Bird tracks

Read more clubbing features

London's best pop-ups

Looking for pop-up perfection? Find your perfect temporary party this summer

Underground club nights in London

Looking for a good party? Take Paul Weller's advice and go underground

Rooftop parties in London

Soak up some of the capital's best sounds whilst soaking up some of the capital's best views this summer

Outdoor parties in London

Forget staying indoors and getting sweaty: this summer is about alfresco clubbing

See all Time Out clubbing features