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Interview

dirtybird "dad" Claude VonStroke on what to expect at his label's first-ever Ibiza residency

By Steven Dermody
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Claude VonStroke is just days away from kicking off his dirtybird empire’s first-ever Ibiza residency—big times, as anyone can attest. Beginning on June 27 and going through September 12, the big bird’s band of merry pranksters (which will include Justin Martin, J.Phlip, Nick Monaco, Eats Everything, and more) will take over Sankeys each Thursday night with their brand of epic bass- and house-infused partying. Fortunately for you, they’ll be sharing their goings on throughout the entire summer season exclusively with Beatport via special mixes and charts from the crew via their Beatport DJs page. In the meanwhile, check out what VonStroke had to say about what to expect on the White Isle this summer.

What excites you about hosting your dirtybird residency at Sankeys this year?

When we started throwing parties in 2003 to 20 people, if you told me we would be hosting a residency on an island in Spain down the road, I would have laughed really hard. It’s still a pinch-yourself moment because we have not had an official residency anywhere outside of San Francisco. We have had an outstanding run at Fabric London but never an official dirtybird residency. Sankeys is the spot because we do best in a nightclub environment. We don’t do as well on massive stages that are 50 meters from the crowd. Everybody on db wants to see the faces and be in touch with the people that come to the events. But the most exciting part of the residency is that we can bring out everyone on dirtybird to Spain. It’s very rare that I get to connect personally with all of the artists who are spread out across the world. I will be able to BBQ and hang with everyone who has done music or remixes for us, which is quite special for me. I feel like the dad of dirtybird.

What are the most essential things to have in place for your residency to be successful?

There’s only one rule, really: It has got to be fun. We will turn off the fucking music and restart the night if it’s not fun in there. Yes, we will have feathers and shirts and CDs, but the music is paramount and fun is equally important. That’s all I care about in this party. The DJs and the crowd have to come together and make a great experience.

In the grand scheme, how important is this residency for dirtybird as a brand?

It’s a bit more important for Europe than for North America where we are based. In Europe, I think Ibiza is kind of a showpiece marquee place where you can make some noise and get some attention, because so many people are coming from all over the world just to party there. So in Europe it’s a big deal for the brand. And like I said, we have no other real residency outside of San Francisco, so maybe it can be the start of something even bigger.

What kind of special guests can we expect? How diverse will you be taking the sound?

We don’t have any guests that have not done remixes or original music for dirtybird. It’s still a huge 26-DJ list, but it’s only our crew. I looked around the island for the last eight years and almost every single party has the same DJs just cycling through them. You know the names but everyone is everyone’s guest and it is all the same. So our tactic is much, much more difficult. We are only relying on ourselves and we will debut at least 15 new artists to the island but we will live and die on our own terms with our own crew. We do not have to book this guy and that guy to make it happen. dirtybird will be solely responsible for dirtybird—fly or flop!

Anyone in your crew that you really want to see step up and break out this summer?

I’ve always thought that J.Phlip could break out, especially in Ibiza. She has a style that will get the house and the bassheads to pay attention both. There are so many people that are going to be surprises to the fans. Just for example, Justin Jay and Ardalan have never even been to Europe and I promise they will destroy it. These guys are all killers and nobody knows them outside of America. I think it’s going to be amazing. There are a lot of artists like that doing sets with us this summer. You will not see these people playing 30 parties everywhere on the island—it will be really special.