What started as a fake name and small booking at a friend’s birthday party has spiraled into an international DJ career for Claude VonStroke (aka Barclay Crenshaw.) One night in San Francisco after a long night of partying, Barclay and his friends began to make up fake European DJ names. Just kidding around, Barclay came up with “Claude VonStroke.” It ended up sticking after someone at the party booked him to DJ and used the new moniker on the flyer.
Raised in the suburbs Detroit, Barclay Crenshaw fell in love with the beat by listening to popular broadcasts of the Electrifying Mojo’s Midnight Funk Association on local radio. At age 16, after mastering the small 4-track recorder used at his high school, Barclay and good friend Jamie Osborne looked through the phone book and visited Juan Atkin’s fledgling Metroplex recordings. They tried unsuccessfully to convince Atkins to hire them as sound engineers and music producers. Little did they know, Mr. Atkins would soon go on to become the godfather of techno.
After University in New York and a 4 diversion in Hollywood working as an assistant on a series of big budget feature films, Barclay moved back to Detroit and re-discovered his passion for electronic music. He was initially inspired by listening to drum n’ bass mix tapes from the UK. He built a massive live rig of synthesizers and samplers and played live at local Poor Boy underground warehouse parties until he lost all of his music in an electrical outage.
One year later, Barclay re-located to San Francisco and decided to merge his passion for music and film by releasing Intellect, a six hour DVD package, self-directed and produced, covering the worldwide electronic music scene and including interviews with over 35 top producers and legendary DJs such as Derrick May, Swayzak, Derrick Carter, Dubfire, and Theo Parrish. The main goal of the “Intellect” project was to make an informative DVD that could help DJs advance their careers in electronic music. The result was Crenshaw taking lessons from his own DVD by starting a record label called “dirtybird” and a production career under the name Claude VonStroke.
Since 2005, dirtybird has carved out a niche as a premiere American tech funk label and has released over 20 EPs. Claude VonStroke’s very first record, “Deep Throat,” was a major hit of 2005. The success of the single was followed up by “Who’s Afraid of Detroit?,” another international hit championed by Richie Hawtin who called it the “best track of 2006” in DJ magazine. Soon after that Claude released his full-length debut album, “Beware of the Bird” to outstanding reviews, further establishing him as an original talent in the underground. Since then, he has recorded over 25 remixes for a range of commercial and underground artists from Indy rock group “The Rapture” to Detroit techno legend Kevin Saunderson.
In an effort to give something back to the community Claude unveiled a deeper techno label called “mothership” in 2007. A large percentage of the label’s proceeds go to a music school for children in Claude’s hometown of Detroit, Michigan. This label features a more euro flavor featuring groups like Catz ‘n Dogz, Italoboyz Maetrik and Voodeux.
Claude has also headlined almost every major club, festival and basement after-party in the world from Fabric to Panorama Bar to D’Edge. The outdoor dirtybird parties in San Francisco’s scenic Golden Gate Park have also become a legendary summer destination point for both locals and international travelers. A VonStroke DJ set is based on meticulous track selection and outrageous risk taking. He always takes time to find the special ass-wiggling cuts that keep the dance-floor percolating.
In 2009, Claude is very excited to be mixing Fabric 46. He will also return to the studio and release his 2nd artist album.