Down the Production Hole with Claude VonStroke

Words by: Lisa Loco
Posted: 25/1/10 14:18

Down the Production Hole with Claude Von StrokeYes, it's the new series, aimed at producers, wannabe producers, or those just interested in how choons are made, where we ask leaders in the field: what the f**k do you know? And: can you share the love?

First out to open his box is San Francisco-based DJ/producer and remixer Barclay Crenshaw, aka Claude VonStroke. A creator of such standout hits as ‘Deep Throat', ‘The Whistler' and ‘Who's Afraid of Detroit'. A founder of the dirtybird and mothership labels, and a father to two artist albums, Beware of the Bird and Bird Brain, who is well known to adopt attention-grabbing sounds/productions techniques. Currently immersed in his Bird Brain world tour, with upcoming gigs including Basics in Leeds and T Bar in London, here the imaginative merry prankster tells us how he likes to ‘Moog it' as a music maker in the studio, and shares some interesting perceptions about assimilation within the scene.

So find out more now, as we go deep Down the Production Hole with CVS...

First, can you tell us something about your frames of reference/what you think makes for a high quality electronic sound recording?
Any sound or sequence of sounds that makes you feel like moving or affects your emotional state when you hear it, all the way from paint bucket street drummer to Gaiser. Electronic to me just means that it is actually recorded and not live. As soon as you record any sound it is inherently ‘electronic' so there are no limitations or quality measurements except for the movement and emotion brought about by the recording.

What's your current music production set-up like?
I have a small room (that sounds like shit but I am too lazy to move everything) with some keyboards, some pedal-style effects, a mic, a patch bay, a DJ set-up and a loaded computer.

What is/are your most essential tool/s of the trade within that set-up?
Reason and Ableton. The Mic. The Moog. And not much else is essential.

Can you reveal a secret about your production technique/s?
Yes, I am an idea whore. I don't try out one bassline. I try out 50, hence the heavy use of Reason - which has the fastest/easiest sequencer. The results of my tracks are not usually what I intended at the start. I like to make a big gnarly mess and then make a track by subtraction of elements. I also like to make things that stick out quite drastically, things the audience can remember quite clearly. Whether it be a voice or a sound effect, I always try to have something in there you can remember. My overall tactic is to sound extremely simple whilst being extremely complex.

Do you have a general top tip for budding producers?
Copy, copy, copy, until you understand how to make a track sound good. Then come up with your own idea using those skills. And don't release any of the copy, copy, copy shit! That's just for you... your training. You'll know when to stop copying when you say to yourself: ‘I'm not going to copy that bit cause this other idea of mine is a much better one.'

Finally, what's your take on the future of electronic music production?
People will produce with more and more frequency and get less and less famous until everything is separated into tiny niche markets of personalised music. My friend told me in college that someday people would make tracks without doing any work themselves... they would just use the building blocks of other people's work. That day has come faster than I ever imagined. The only really good producers will be those who make their own new building blocks. But no one will care about these people because they will choose the McDonald's instead of the homemade Enchiladas. Depressing, eh? Well it will not get that terrible but it will be harder to stick out and, even if you do manage stick out successfully, you will be copied and regurgitated almost instantly. It's all about the data. We can already consume the data much faster than we can make it. You have been assimilated, motherfucker! Ha

Claude VonStroke

Next Gig
Sunday 31st January
Claude Von Stroke (Dirtybird)
Nat Self (Zombie Disco Squad)
8pm - 2am
T Bar
22 Houndsditch EC3A 7DB

Lastest Release
18-01-10 - Claude VonStroke - Big n Round Remixes
30-12-09 - Claude VonStroke - Vocal Chords Remixes
25-10-09 - Justin Martin & Claude VonStroke - Beat That Bird Remixes
19-10-09 - Claude VonStroke – Bird Brain LP
10-10-09 - Claude VonStroke - Bird Brain EP

Playing now:  The Greasy Beat (ft. Bootsy Collins) from Bird Brain LP
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