Interview: Claude VonStroke

VonStroke: colourful
VonStroke: colourful

After Future Music visited Claude VonStoke's San Francisco studio a few years ago for their regular In The Studio feature, it was about time we have a little catch up. So after watching him on the decks at a recent gig, we grabbed him afterwards for a little chat.

You're still playing as a straight-up, track-to-track DJ, right?
"Yeah, CDs from deck to deck and I don't do any effects either [laughs]. I am looking to do other stuff but it won't be as Claude VonStroke. I noticed there were parts of my set that were getting really bass heavy."

Yeah, we noticed!
"No, that was nothing, that was just techno to me. I have another 90 minutes of really bassy stuff ready. [laughs]. I want to expand on those things that aren't just straight kicks and maybe go a bit more hip hop and work with vocalists. But that's to be decided. I guess it would be using Ableton and a controller with a ton of buttons, who knows…?"

And you're still running Live in the studio?
"Yeah and still using Reason too. I'm looking forward to getting Reason 6 installed. I got FXpansion's Geist recently and some of the new Audio Damage plug-ins which are cool. I got the UAD-2 card too and thought that new Studer tape plug-in was amazing on bass.

"That's one of the few plug-ins in a while where I've thought, 'woah, this is really good'. I've got a lot of plug-ins but I rarely use any."

Have you seen a shift from DJing to live and other technical performances?
"Not that much, but at festivals? For sure. I'm starting to feel bad, just showing up in my t-shirt and DJing [laughs]. Everyone expects you to have some kind of live show now. So I think that's what I'm going to have to do. I can't see myself doing a Claude VonStroke visual presentation [laughs]. Part of me thinks it's stupid to get visuals when DJing because people are meant to be listening to the music. But then you see something like the Amon Tobin show and it's fucking amazing. But, that's like $300k and a year's worth of preparation so it's another level.

"I once did a gig in Korea where the guy before me was trying to get the crowd hyped so he came out in front of the DJ booth, took his shirt off and did that thing where you make your stomach roll. They were gong crazy for it and he was playing at about 150bpm. I came on after him tried to drop the biggest record in my bag and it just sounded so slow. There's actually a video somewhere with me starting my set and some guy in the crowd, behind the video camera just saying, 'this guy just ain't that good' [laughs]. I thought I might just have to go out front and do the belly roll thing." [laughs]

What else have you been up to?
"Well, I took a course on how to make dubstep at Point Blank! It was fucking awesome learning bass production. I took it because it was advanced Ableton course at the same time and you could choose which genre you wanted to do. I wasn't going choose house! The one thing that I learned doing the dubstep course was just to use one, really good sound, then you have enough room to make it super fat."

Claude VonStroke's album, Makeovers is out now on Dirtybird Records.

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