Claude VonStroke created a small underground record label called Dirtybird in 2005 and grew it into a full-fledged events, clothing and music brand over the last 16 years. During this time, he has also managed to release 6 albums and some of the most iconic house music tracks of the last two decades.
Most people know Claude VonStroke for his smiling DJ persona touring every major city,festival, and basement after-party around the world. But Claude has also influenced the very fabric of the dance community, A&Ring an impeccable roster of acts like Walker & Royce, Nala, Justin Martin, Fisher, Shiba San, Catz n Dogz, Steve Darko, Riva Starr, Cour T, Breach, Eats Everything, Shadow Child, and countless others. Today, his Dirtybird label continues to surprise and innovate in the underground dance scene, releasing an enigmatic combination of house, funk, dirty-bass, and electronica.
VonStroke has released four original artist albums, a remix album, and a live album recorded when he closed the famed Movement Festival in his original hometown of Detroit, Michigan. Some other music highlights include working on records with Bootsy Collins, Rihanna, Disclosure and Kevin Saunderson as well as a few #1 & #2 hits on Beatport. His partnership with Green Velvet as “GET REAL” has been one of the most rewarding friendships as Claude originally modeled his career after the quirky enigmatic style of his mentor and friend from Chicago.
In 2015 VonStroke brought his first festival to light called Dirtybird Campout, a unique camping experience based on the games and activities associated with American Summer camp mixed with the best underground house and bass music in the world. He continues to innovate and curate new events such as the Birdhouse Festival in Los Angeles and Chicago and the legendary Dirtybird BBQ day parties all across North America. He participates online as well bringing the Dirtybird LIVE twitch channel to life 7 nights a week, curating new and interesting shows including Dj sets, cooking, yoga and even comedy to the fans.
VonStroke also loves art, most notably pop surrealist artwork that he has commissioned for the last 8 years on Dirtybird for all of the releases. Each year he hires a new artist and has had the pleasure of working with renowned artists such as Jeremy Fish, Dulk, Graham Carter, Dan May, Charlie Immer, Raoul Deleo and Felicia Chiao. Walking through the Dirtybird HQ in Los Angeles is like walking through an art gallery in the Wynwood district of Miami.
A lot of his success can be attributed to a good attitude. Claude does not scowl and look mean while he DJs. He does not pretend to know everything and he truly loves his fans. He is grateful to be curating, creating and performing music for a living and he knows that the reason people go to parties is to shake their booty and have fun.
Change has been a constant theme throughout the successful career of Green Velvet, but as he has crossed genres, explored themes from the comedic to the serious and changed monikers, the common thread running through the music he has made for nearly two decades is its roots in and dedication to the Chicago House sound.
His first transformation came when he left master’s degree studies in chemical engineering at UC-Berkeley to turn a hobby into a career making music, influenced by the sounds he had been exposed to as a science-fiction-loving, video-game-playing kid whose father was a part-time Chicago DJ.
As Cajmere, he released his inaugural ‘Underground Goodies EP’ in 1991 on his Cajual label, keeping true to the early House sound. He quickly followed it up the next year with the smash hit ‘Coffeepot (It’s Time for the Percolator)’.
Not one to rest on his success, he soon changed things up, teaming with vocalist Dajae for ‘Brighter Days’, a more mellow House tune, this one released by Emotive. That pairing would be his last with a female vocalist until his recent partnership with rapper Kid Sister for ‘Everybody Wants’.
The 17 years in between those two projects witnessed an incredible array of electronic music emanating from this prolific artist, as well as a second label under his direction,Relief. Adopting the persona Green Velvet (not to mention a Day-Glo shock wig) for his techno-oriented pieces and DJ appearances, he became the champion of new wave Chicago beats through the ’90s-known best for hits such as ‘Preacher Man’, ‘Flash’ (a No. 1 U.S. dance hit in 1995), and 1997s laugh-inducing ‘Answering Machine’ The decade ended with his first album, ‘Constant Chaos’ in 1999.
The new century brought a compilation album, Green Velvet, during a brief signing with Warner Bros. Records’ short-livedF-111 imprint, and a production album, ‘Whatever’, on Relief. The punk-inspired ‘Whatever’ explored darker themes than his previous work, including racism (‘When?’), drug use (‘Genedefekt’ and ‘La La Land’), alienation (‘Sleepwalking’) and bending to authority (‘Gat’).
‘La La Land’ went on to become by far the biggest selling track of his career. His live act expanded as he began playing a keytar, with two other musicians – Nazuk and Spaceboy – backing him, playing heavily distorted synths.
The last decade also saw Green Velvet become a fan favorite across Europe, playing to huge crowds at festivals in addition to live radio appearances and club gigs. Numerous side projects and remixes under various names also added to his seemingly nonstop musical output.
In 2005, Green Velvet released his third album, ‘Walk In Love’, which stayed true to the House sound, with a few pop and punk-oriented tracks for good measure, including ‘Come Back’ and ‘Pin-Up Girl’ both of which featured a live guitarist.
The ongoing evolution in the music, career and life of the artist born Curtis Alan Jones in Chicago has been and will continue to be fascinating to watch and experience for his many followers.