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From movies to music, Claude VonStroke explains his multiple identities

Claude @VonStroke brings the booty-bass to @STORYmiami this Saturday #UndergroundSTORY

Claude VonStroke, Barclay Crenshaw and Barry Drift are all musicians. One is a vocalist, two are producers and all three are the same person.

Claude VonStroke, born Barclay Crenshaw, is a creative beast. He's a DJ, producer and record label owner who, over the last eleven years, has heavily influenced west coast's house music alongside a roster of big names such as J. Phlip, Christian Martin Shiba San and Justin Martin, all on his dynamic Dirtybird Records

But it wasn't always a life of jet-setting from nightclubs to festivals for this 44-year-old music producer, who will play at Story nightclub in Miami Beach on Saturday, May 14.

Before gaining momentum in music, Claude VonStroke made ends meet working in the film industry, serving as a production assistant in Los Angeles, duplicating DVDs or scouting locations.

"The best job was working in the stock room at Paramount Pictures," he says over the phone before a show in Columbus, Ohio, "because they just gave me a little [golf] cart and I rode it around and delivered things to people all day and just saw all these stars and it was nice out. It was just chillin'."

When he decided to make music full-time and establish Dirtybird Records, his wife gave him a year to realize his dream. The label rose to popularity with its hip-hop-house infusion, booty-bouncing basslines and irresistibly funky beats.

It's not just the music that sets Dirtybird apart from other imprints in the scene, but a combination of the modest company from collaborators and fans alike.

"We talk to the fans [and] ... take their suggestions all the time," VonStroke says. "On our new website we even have a whole submission thing where they can submit anything – not just demos, like artwork, video ideas, anything you want, portfolios. … And it's just kind of morphed into this family. And everyone who has stuck around has kept a very humble, low-key attitude."

VonStroke say Dirtybird's music festival, Dirtybird Campout, may be the only one where 75 percent of the artists are in the crowd hanging out the whole time. Last year at the festival's inaugural year, some 4,000 campers journeyed to Southern California for a weekend of music and camp games like tug-of-war, archery and even a talent show.

This year will be a little bigger, VonStroke says, though capacity will be capped around 6,300.

"Campout was one of the best experiments we ever did," he says. "We didn't know if anyone would play camp games or really get into it ... It was a huge risk but everybody did everything and it was amazing. There are going to be even more games [this year] and more stupid stuff to do. It's going to be super fun."

Dirtybird Campout will return to Silverado, CA in October.

Until then, Claude VonStroke is keeping busy touring and making music. He recently released an EP called "The Rain Break," whose single shares the same name. The song combines two 80s classics with a Dirtybird twist and vocals by VonStroke.

"I actually have a code name when I do the vocals: Barry Drift," he says laughing. "I thought it was funny. It sounded like a lounge singer."

VonStroke's more well-known alias, emerged as a joke that never went away, he says. "We were all in San Francisco and we were kind of just poking fun at these super serious European techno DJs and … everybody thought of a fake name but (starts laughing) for some reason mine stuck for 10 years."

Over those 10 or so years, VonStroke has played shows from California to Croatia, so many that he's lost track, though he's playing five this week.

He has some "exciting Miami news that will come out this week," but his lips were pressed on the secret. Hopefully Claude VonStroke will reveal it with a side of dirty beats when plays at Story on Saturday.

Claude VonStroke will play 11 p.m. Saturday, May 14, at Story nightclub, 136 Collins Ave., in Miami Beach. Tickets cost $34.01. Call 305-479-4426 or go to StoryMiami.com.

TJMedina@SouthFlorida.com / @MedinasMedia

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