Oct 09, 2012
Claude VonStroke

If you’re looking for booty bass, look no further than Barclay Crenshaw, aka Claude VonStroke. The Dirtybird head honcho opened up to us about Electric Zoo, raising chickens, and his love for hip-hop and R&B.

Claude VonStroke & Eats Everything - Ignorance Is Bliss (Original Mix) [dirtybird]
LessThan3: We’re here at Electric Zoo just after your set, which was quite different from the ones you played in Detroit at Movement. Do you change it up based on the city you play in?
Barclay: Yeah, in Detroit for sure. I just kind of have to gauge if it’s going to be a quasi-commercial set or a really underground set. There are only two kinds of sets for me. If I think I can get away with certain things then I’ll really try for it. But today I just needed to play really upbeat, really fun.
LessThan3: We’ve heard that you request to play Electric Zoo every year. What is it about Zoo that you love?
Barclay: Well it’s the only East coast festival that really carries any weight, which is really weird to me because there are so many people on the East coast! But I think that the East coast is always a little bit behind the West coast in terms of accepting a new thing. It’s gonna be a little while before New Hampshire or Boston has a house music festival. California is just like, “dude I live in California and I’m gonna f*ckin’ party”. I used to be on the East coast, I love the East coast, but it definitely is a little tighter as far as what’s acceptable.
LessThan3: You started your career as a rapper, so what was the one record that wowed you and made you want to get into electronic music?
Barclay: It was probably Alien Girl by Ed Rush & Optical, a drum & bass track. It was like “who is this, oh my god, who is doing this sound that I’ve never heard before?” Because I didn’t really plan on being a house music DJ, I’m trying to bring in everything I love into a house music set. Last night I was in Miami and I just dropped five hip-hop tracks right in the middle of the set. I was playing Big Sean and sh*t. “Ass, ass, ass, ass…”
LessThan3: How do you feel about traditional DJing vs controllerism?
Barclay: I don’t feel anything. No one cares how they’re getting the music at all anymore. I almost feel like I’m wasting my time mixing because all I can do is f*ck up and people are so used to hearing absolute perfection. A club night is a bit loose, but a festival is so robotic. I’m gonna keep on fighting the good fight through vinyl, but I guarantee you that DJing will soon be track selection only. And that’s fine with me because track selection is the most important thing, period.
LessThan3: Do you usually go into a set with a layout of what you’re gonna play?
Barclay: You know, today I really had no idea. With Detroit for example, I’m focused so hard, like two months of preparation. But today I had some old stuff, some new stuff, and I just made jambalaya. I actually noticed recently that I’ve been starting with breaks like Ramadanman, then I go housey, then I go deep, and then I go big. I don’t plan on it, but it always goes like that, and I think it’s how people wanna party. They wanna hear hip-hop fun, then they wanna get in the groove, then they wanna go down, and then they wanna get up.
LessThan3: If you had to fight a horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses, which would you rather fight?
Barclay: I would fight the horse-sized duck, because I could cut that horse-sized duck’s throat. But if I had to fight 100 duck-sized horses, they could just take me down like in that book with the Lilliputians. But wait, here’s the thing…the duck is much more aggressive. So I might take the horses because they don’t like humans and you could trick them into running the other direction. They’re not aggressive, but ducks are, so I’ll actually take the small horses. Speaking of ducks, you know I have chickens at my house, right? Five chickens. Flower, Babbette, Fuzzy, Shaniqua, Spikey. We keep them in a chicken coop and let them wander the hills. I have one thing to say to anyone that’s thinking about buying chickens and thinks it’s really easy and cheap: it’s not easy, and it’s not cheap, so just go to the store and buy your f*ckin’ eggs. But seriously, I raised those chickens from the day they were born.
LessThan3: What’s your perfect slice of pizza?
Barclay: Sometimes I’m really in the mood for a full veggie slice, but my go-to is a pepperoni mushroom thin slice. If you want to get really indulgent, the Chicago 3-inch deep-dish… just be ready to put on 7 pounds.
LessThan3: If the world were ending in LessThan3 minutes, and you had an iPod with every song ever made on it, what would you listen to?
Barclay: This Woman’s Work by Maxwell; that is such a f*ckin’ JAM! That’s one of the only tracks that I can get physical tears listening to. It’s so next-level, it’s beyond comprehension. I’m a huge R&B fan; I think R. Kelly is perhaps the best vocalist in history, but he has a checkered past. I’m a perfect pitch guy and I freak out if someone’s out of pitch; that’s why I could never be a singer, because I am a hater.
LessThan3: Describe your sound in LessThan3 words.
Barclay: Sugar Ass Flow. Hey, that’s a great DJ name…
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