The Story Behind The Dirtybird BBQ – As Told By Claude VonStroke

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The Story Behind The Dirtybird BBQ – As Told By Claude VonStroke

The San Francisco based Dirtybird label have been spearheading a tech-house renaissance that hasn’t relied solely on a constant flow of satisfying music and instead, fostered a family of creatives that started with an urban legend of dance music… the first ever Dirtybird BBQ.

Who better to ask than the brains and head chef behind the now successful label, Claude VonStroke – who post announcing a remix album of his critical 2013 release ‘Urban Animals’ paints a vivid story of how it all began.

So tell us, whats the the story behind the inaugural Dirtybird BBQ?

‘We all met up in different ways but, we were all championing this new sound in San Francisco that no one really wanted to hear yet. Taking a lead from an older crew called Sunset and an even older crew called Moontribe, Christian Martin just decided he would buy a sound system to use outdoors. Did he have any money? no. But he did have a credit card. Yes, the American way!

We started showing up to Golden Gate park on Sunday mornings, it was extremely involved and took tons of work. Someone had to guard the park from 9am to make sure no families or other giant BBQ people were setting up shop there for the day. Chris and I had to go rent a large van and then drive it to our friend Addy’s house south of the city because he was the only one with a garage big enough to store the sound system. We would load up and then take it to the park. Right around then our man Chris Wilson (Grillson) would just show up out of nowhere and start prepping the grill. He showed up every time in the beginning with his own food and his own BBQ coals and everything. its just one of those magical things that happens like Field of Dreams we started doing this party and he just showed up and started grilling with us.

By about noon to 1pm we would have all the tables, the tent over the booth, the turntables (yes, we only had turntables then!) and all the sound system set up. By then the grill would be going well too. Literally then we would just start Djing and hoping people would come. The first Dj was always open format and then it morphed more and more into the dirtybird sound as the day progressed. For the first few times we did this party it was really badly attended. We joke that the very first one was just us and whatever girls we were dating at the time and that’s it. This was about the middle of 2002 or 2003.

About 3 years later we had stillf never given up. Justin had established himself as a hot local DJ and the label had launched. Some of my records started coming out as well and the word was spreading around town. We had an amazing party going there in Golden Gate Park by then. Many many people had fun and enjoyed themselves at our BBQs, and Grillson is still showing up to all of them even today!!’

What’s the most important ingredient to a good bbq?

The people and the weather are always the most important. Of course you need the food and the booze and the DJs but the happiness comes from hanging out with your friends outside.

The meal and the music part of it is almost just the icing on a great day outside in the sunshine with all your buddies.

What does the Dirtybird BBQ compilation represent for the label?

Every year we release a compilation showcasing the old guard and the new talent coming up the ranks. Every year the compilation also takes on a personality of its own as I pick the songs out during the year – a theme starts to take shape.

In a way I think our first comp “Hatched” really broke a lot of that UK garage/house hybrid stuff that is basically mainstream pop radio now. 2 years later I feel like we are miles and miles away from that sound and we have gone back to a more core Dirtybird vibe with raunchy funk and jackin beats. The compilation represents a milestone every year as to what direction we are headed for that year but really good music is good music and there are no real rules to that.

So there you have it, grab your decks, head to the park, scare off the mums and kids and have yourself the best day of your life!

Even more giddying news is word that Claude VonStroke has expressed a strong interest in bringing the Dirtybord BBQ to Australia which only seems like a natural progression to head to the land of BBQs!

The new Dirtybird BBQ compilation is ‘eleven great tunes I have been collecting for over 6 months’ available on iTunes now with one of the tracks Shiba San ‘Okay’ hitting number one on Beatport’s House chart!


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