City Slang: Getting spooky with Claude VonStroke
Barclay Crenshaw, aka Claude VonStroke, is a house and techno producer originally from Detroit but based out of San Francisco for the last 15 years. However, he’s going to be back in town for Halloween to play a show at the Royal Oak Music Theatre.
When the MT caught up with the boss of Dirtybird Records, he was more than a little distracted as he was preparing his tour itinerary and booking flights. We verbally wrestled for a while and, after eventually, eventually, compiled some reasonable quotes.
How is (new album) Urban Animal different to 2010’s Bird Brain?
It’s different because it has some different styles on it. I’m trying to do some other stuff besides house music, and I feel like I’m always evolving. I can’t really say how it’s evolved, but my production technique has changed. A lot of things have changed in the way I make music. It sounds better.
How does San Fran impact your music, vs. the influence of Detroit?
It probably has a lot of influence, but I would be able to tell you exactly what it was. The daily thing where you go outside and it’s rainy vs. sunny – I’m sure that influences everyone. It’s just hard to put a finger on how it influences you.
When and why did you move out there?
I moved to San Fran 15 years ago. I had to get out of Detroit. I actually went because of a girl who didn’t end up going. She was Canadian and she didn’t get her work visa but she talked about it so much and hyped me up so much that we ended up breaking up but I still went out to San Francisco.
Is there anything you miss about Detroit?
My parents live there. I do miss the vibe of Downtown. It’s very different to every other city. I always get a little pang of ‘oh, why did I leave here?’ whenever I go back, but that’s because I’m usually going back in May or June. I never feel that when I go back in November. I like the people, because I still have a lot of friends there. I have a really good connection when I go back.
What can we expect from the Halloween show?
I think it’s going to be really great. I’ve played Halloween a couple of times in Detroit before. Somehow I have to figure out how to beat my crazy garden gnome costume that I had last time. It was a pretty epic costume, but I’ll try to get something even better. It’s kinda like the generation has flipped over in the market place in the city. It’s a younger group going out, and they’re a little bit more crazy and funny than they used to be. I’m not saying that it wasn’t amazing before, but I did feel like there was a little bit of a lull in parties three or four years ago and now it’s picked up again.
Are you a Halloween fan?
I am a Halloween fan. The very first Halloween is super-scary. The Shining is really good too.
What’s next for you, after this show?
We’re on a tour that has 25 shows over two months. Then I’ll go to Australia, and then Europe, and then I’ll take a small break.