Claude VonStroke on Internet-Era Music: "There's Only Beatport or iTunes Albums"
City life is wild. After zigzagging through clogged streets, you spend all day crouched over some desk until your nerves are so frazzled you end up spitting hot coffee in the poor cleaning lady's face. Unless, of course, you're the cleaning lady.
Face it -- you're an animal. You need a release or you'll lose your damn mind. That's why Claude VonStroke exists. It's also why he just dropped the ten-track sonic escape Urban Animal, an ode to this violent, stressful, crazy city life.
We here at Crossfade recently spoke with Claude, just as he was hitting the road in support of these new sounds, on his way to give Miami's asphalt jungle cats the release they need with a rare live set at Grand Central on Thursday, October 17.
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Crossfade: Congrats on the new album. How long were you working on it?
Claude VonStroke: This one took me about six months, maybe eight.
From the beginning of the year, after Holy Ship?
Yeah, pretty much after Holy Ship. I didn't have any tracks to play from it on Holy Ship, so yeah.
It's a nice record -- slick, really tight work. You made it with the listener in mind. I'm not a DJ, so when I listen to an album, I appreciate that the songs have beginnings and ends, and move. A lot of producers sound like they make songs for DJs to mix in and out of. Why did you approach Urban Animal in this way? Did you do that consciously?
Just like the second album, [2009's Bird Brain], I wanted it to be more than a dance-music DJ tool. There are tracks on there that you can DJ, but I purposely tried to have some stuff that is not really made for DJs, just songs that were interesting to me. I feel like when you do an album, you can do stuff that doesn't have to be for the club, which is awesome. I'd like to not only do dance music tracks if I can.
Exactly. Why put out an album unless you're going to take it to these other places and use it for what it could be?
I think there's two kinds of albums. There's a Beatport album, which is basically just a bunch of tracks for DJs, and then, like, an actual album, which is where you're trying to stretch out a little bit, and I'll call that an iTunes album. There's no other kinds of albums. There's only Beatport albums or iTunes albums.
That's kind of post-apocalyptic for music. Any other iTunes dance albums you like?
I really like that SBTRKT album a lot. They're all the same albums that everybody likes. I like the James Blake album. I like albums that are really pretty, that have the melodies. I like the Justin Martin album, the albums that have melodies. You get put in a soundscape, and you get in the head of the producer.
I like that you used the term soundscape. I read how Urban Animals is a statement about people who live their lives in cities, and instead of having nature retreats, they go to these concrete-jungle dance floors for their release. Could you expand on that concept?
Almost like the Jekyll and Hyde lifestyle that I live, where I make pancakes for my five and seven year old, and then ten hours later, I'm in the middle of the darkest dungeon nightclub with a bunch of crazy ravers, who also come from maybe desk jobs that they're not loving and are having their release moment. It's just kind of different. People that go to parties usually want to let go of something and it's usually because they're living in the city. Cities can be oppressive, but they're also awesome because of the nightlife.
Claude VonStroke's Urban Animal Tour. With J. Phlip. Thursday, October 17. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The party starts at 10 p.m. and tickets cost $15 plus fees via ticketfly.com. Ages 18 and up. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmiami.com.
Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.
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