Tipper creates music for the finest sound systems; bass fueled glitch that demands to be played at high volumes to unleash it’s lethal potential. With influences ranging from drum and bass, to trip hop through downtempo electronica, Tipper has created his own eclectic brand of devastating dance-floor tracks that have been admired for being ‘streaks ahead’ and ‘expertly crafted’ productions, whilst being ‘frightening yet refreshing…if it doesn’t move you check for a pulse.’ Not surprisingly this unique and effective sound is in high demand.
Claude VonStroke does not scowl and look mean while he DJs. He does not pretend to know everything and he will be nice to you and your friends. He is grateful to be doing music for a living and he knows that the reason people go to parties is to have fun. If you want to act cool and not have any fun then please do not book him.
The name “Claude VonStroke” was a random joke that caught on after a series of tracks grabbed the attention of underground dance music in 2005. His very first record, “Deep Throat,” was an unusually quirky affair that caught fire worldwide and he has been blessed with similar success stories ever since. Claude’s real name is Barclay Crenshaw, a guy raised in the suburbs Detroit who wanted to be a filmmaker but always had a knack for music. After several different film careers of varying success and with some help from his friends, VonStroke started the “dirtybird” label at the very late age of 32.
Since 2005, dirtybird has carved out a niche as a premiere American label and has released over 40 EPs. VonStroke has released two artist albums as well as a Fabric mix and over 25 remixes for a wide 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 VonStroke unveiled a new label “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 more euro-flavored techno and house featuring groups like Catz ‘n Dogz, Maetrik and Voodeux.
Tour wise, Claude has headlined almost every major club, festival and basement after-party in the world. 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.
But like we said at the start, Claude VonStroke is only coming to see you if you want to enjoy yourself and get sweaty and nasty. If you want to wear a sweater and frown in the VIP section, he is not the right DJ for you.
Lee’s career started on December 26th 1985 in his fathers pub in the countryside of the South West of England. Never dreaming what laid ahead he started his career playing Birthdays, Weddings and the occasional funeral. Born from a decades passion for music and seeing it as an opportunity to get a girlfriend he spent the first few years playing 7_ records to everyone from age 5 -95. He was soon spotted by a local nightclub who snapped him up as their regular Saturday night DJ. This lead to being invited to other local nightclubs playing as he describes it ” a mix of the best of the worst music from the 80_s”. Lee’s path diverted in 1988 with the discovery of acid house. After attending some of the outdoor raves that were gaining momentum around London’s M25 motorway Lee’s passion for music was turned on it’s head and he felt excited in a way never felt before. “I had to find this music” he said and started to collect the first records which have grown from the one red plastic record box of 1988 to over 35,000 records today. Lee and friends started to organize small club and beach events where he lived but getting to play these big raves proved difficult. Not living in London or knowing anyone involved made Lee just another Dj handing out mix tapes to anyone and everyone whom would listen to them. “I’m not sure what would have happened if I’d been asked to play back then as in 1990 my life really changed direction”.
Lee was spotted by a club owner from Hong Kong in 1990 and left the UK early in 1991 to work as a DJ there. During the first six months it became apparent that Hong Kong’s underground dance music scene was non existent and Lee spent the next few years changing all that. Small Sunday night parties for 250 people grew quickly into a thriving nightclub scene which constantly saw him playing marathon sets on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Overseas DJ’s and club nights started to grace the shores of Hong Kong as it became one of those happening destinations on the global DJ circuit. This continued throughout the 90_s. Lee’s residency at the now defunkt Big Apple and Neptunes nightclubs became so popular he DJ’d six night a week for three years until eventually deciding to leave in 97. The decision was made after playing with Sasha and Craig Richards on numerous occasions and having them offer to launch his career in the UK.
Also during the 90_s Lee ventured to Haadrin, Thailand. Haadrin is now a mecca for clubbers and it’s full moon parties attract 10,000 + people every month. Lee arrived in February 1992 after hearing about it from travelers who passed through Hong Kong. The full moon party at this point consisted of the drum circles around open fires on the beach and a DJ playing tapes in one of the bars. Lee decided to fly back to Hong Kong and come back with records and turntables while the Thai people organized a sound system. Lee stayed for 3 months at a time playing and helping to grow the parties which were held every week leading up to the main party on the beach each month for full moon. “This was always something that was going to happen in Haadrin” states Lee “I was just lucky enough to have been there very early on while the parties grew. I wouldn’t credit myself with being the first person playing dance music in Haadrin. That right goes to a fantastic DJ who went by the name of Backyard Dave but I was definitely one of the first few playing records on the beach there. We didn’t have a proper DJ box, just decks set up on a plank of wood balanced on beer crates with some palm tree leaves above to protect us if it rained! I regularly was electrocuted by the mixer when it got damp” Lee continued to visit the Island every year until 99 and stayed for months to experience the privalidged position of playing sunrise on the beach each full moon and at the Backyard club which he cites as one of the most special places in the world ever to have played at.
On the recommendation of Craig and Sasha Lee returned to the UK but it wasn’t an easy first year. Craig Richards ran a highly successful party in London which he invited Lee to play several times but without contacts or an agent Lee was a relative unknown and it took time to become recognized. Fortunately with strong and consistent appearances at Craigs night and then the launch of the Tyrant night featuring Lee alongside both Sasha and Craig Lee’s career really started taking off. Offers to play other leading UK clubs such as Cream, Golden, Ministry of Sound etc lead to Lee being offered to mix a CD for Hooj Chons mixing the breakbeat tracks on their label. Lee was asked to have the mix done by the next morning so no computer trickery here, just two decks a mixer and the records. He was also asked that year to mix his first solo CD (this time with tracks of his own choice). The compilation went down very well with the magazines. Tyrant was also picking up speed with a regular monthly party in both London and Nottingham. Lee and Craig were left to their own devices on several occasions with Sasha unable to make it and throwing them in the deep end. Would a packed house expecting to see Sasha be disappointed? The answer was clearly no as the crowd kept coming back month after month. In 1999 The first Tyrant compilation was released and won album of the month in every single magazine. This mix has stood the test of time and still sounds as fresh today as it did back then. Sasha decided to bow out of Tyrant after a few years and Lee and Craig continue, to this day, to confound and twist the heads of the people who hear them play .A Tyrant mix was featured on the UK’s Radio One live from the Homelands festival as well as the duo being invited to do an essential mix fro Pete Tong. Lee and Craig as Tyrant held down a monthly night at Fabric in London almost from the day it opened until the end of 2005 when Lee embarked his 365 project.
Lee decided to try and make more sense of his unrelenting travel in 2005 at which point the 365 project was born. It was an idea Lee had had to expand the impact a DJ would have by setting up shop in seven countries/cities for one or two months over 365 days. While in each location he became resident of a club and hosted at least four parties to grow the relationship and understanding between himself and each crowd. To learn more himself as well as expose each crowd to his unique music selection and Djing style. In each place he also set aside time to work alongside local producers and write music. Lee’s residencies were held in New York, Ibiza, Florence, Buenos Aires, Sydney, Denver and Hong Kong. He also kept a journal which was published online for each city by DJmag.com each month describing the unusual and unhinged lifestyle that is his. The project was a great success and after a few months break Lee returned to New York in Fall 2006 and expanded the 365 residency to 4 months. This is an ongoing project which could land in a city near you soon!
He has continued to release widely regarded and much loved underground mix CD’s for companies like Global Underground, Everybody and most recently Balance. He is also a yearly visiter to Miami’s winter music conference where for the last three years he has held his own party where he takes the controls and messes with your mind for seven hours. The party has gone from strength to strength and this year had to be moved to a larger venue due to outgrowing BED. The ‘Barrage’ Pawn shop party was mentioned as one of the parties of the conference.Lee continues to play the major festivals of the world from Notting Hill carnivals famous Sancho Panza stage to Exit festival, Creamfields and Homelands, Coachella, Love Parade, Dance Valley, Ultra, Acafest and in the last few years Burning Man which he cites as the best event he’s ever been to in twenty five years of going out. 2008 will see him visiting the Virgin festival in Toronto for the first time.
Lee was involved in Fire recordings during the nineties but is really a latecomer to producing citing laziness and studio fear as causes. His first solo production was the Lost and Found Ep on Fire which was instantly licensed to James Lavelles Global Underground, Tyrant 2 (although Lee said he felt a bit weird putting one of his own tracks on a compilation), Cass’s Prologue and Sancho Panza’s carnival CD. Not a bad start! As Tyrant they remixed UNKLE and Lee set up Almost Anonymous in 2006 which was “simply a label for releasing tracks made on the 365 tour”. Tracks alongside Dan F, Andy Page and Steve Porter were released through 2007.
Lee’s most recent triple mix CD for Balance was released in Fall 2007 to critical aclaim. Ranking as compilation of the month across many many publications and websites it then went nominated for compilation of the year at the PLUG awards. Lee’s tour to support the CD ran through into 2008 covering most of the world and back.
Projects in 2008 include a new set of parties called ‘GET WEIRD’ which will start out as residencies on the left and right coast in San Francisco and New York. A return to the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert will see him warping minds at various parties as well as this year his own sound system. Lee is also going back in the studio to “take it a bit more seriously this time” alongside new studio guru Tim Green (TG). Expect some wonky and weird music to see the light of day towards the end of 2008.
On a last note Lee has regularly been described as a DJ’s DJ and I asked the ever popular journalistic question “Describe the music you play”? I asked . He said he usually doesn’t have an answer to have an answer but narrowed it down at least. “The records that can’t really be described. Those are the ones that always interest me. Wonky, Wobbly, bassline driven, trippy, melodic, mean, nasty, gentle, deep, spacious, distant and rocking.Interesting not obvious. Those are some of the words that I’d use to describe the records in my box”.
In a now long forgotten world, many generations ago, a bird like shape emerged from wooded darkness, floating and fluttering, drifting and dreaming. Backlit by a bright glow of iridescent light, the undecipherable form wore a dazzling golden mask. Its long beak swooped down like an inverted horn and since then, people have referred to the mythical being simply as Claptone.
Years spending wandering medieval landscapes have informed Claptone’s view of the world, experiencing both magical mystery and muted melancholy he enchanted onlookers with occult instruments and beguiling sounds. Forever surrounded by a sense of intrigue, the world soon cottoned on to the elusive yet enchanting musical powers of this otherworldly beast. The results are that today his shamanistic sonic powers take him all around the world.
Whilst Claptone has continued to roam in his own circles, 2012AD proved to be a year dominated by his infectious ‘Cream’ track. It became an immediate hit, topping new world charts at Beatport and RA, whilst the sonic conjuring of the ‘Night On Fire’ EP also lured all those who heard it, with the result another Top 20 hit. But that’s not all, for the creativity flows freely in our hero, and his ‘Another Night’ also proved to be just as successful on the dancefloor. Deep and woozy, the Claptone sound pairs theatre with tragedy, feel good vibes with acute melancholia and imbues each groove with a Rhodes laced funk, an organic string hook and myriad earthy elements.
Up to the present day, Claptone releases have been birthed on Germany’s influential Exploited label, picking up props from the likes of Pete Tong, DJ Sneak, Soul Clap, DJ Hell, Jesse Rose, A-Trak along the way. Who or whatever Claptone is, it is alive, with a life of its own, evolving and revolving in equal measure, exploring new sounds naturally and forever taking inspiration from long gone and occult worlds.
So far, esteemed and influential dancefloors at clubs in Berlin, London, Paris, Melbourne, Shanghai,New York and many others around the world have fallen under the sonic spell of this secretive alchemist. The future is unpredictable for Claptone, but a new release ‘Wrong’ including the track ‘No Eyes’ with the inimitable JAW from French funsters dOP is on the horizon. Beyond that, your guess is as good as ours…
KEYS N KRATES
Keys N Krates formed in 2008 out of a desire to do something different. They wanted to take the remix/electronic sound out of the studio and onto the stage, creating a new live electronic experience. The Toronto-based trio – comprised of the high-energy Adam Tune on drums, synth-master David Matisse on keys, and internationally award-winning Jr. Flo on turntables – began by locking themselves in a rehearsal room for six months to create and finesse their unique sound and identity.
Starting as a mainly live act doing live re-works of rap and house tunes, the group eventually moved into making their own beats and translating those into their live show. The result? A blend of rap beats, trap and electronic music played live before your very eyes. Keys N Krates collage raw samples and twist them with live instrumentation, creating a truly unique live dance party. With two live off-the-floor mixtapes, two self released eps (“The Blackout” and “Lucid Dreams”) and a slew of remixes under their belt, the outfit is set to release their EP “Solow” on Dim Mak Records in 2013 which will follow the release of their single “Treat Me Right.”
Over the last year, KNK toured with and played alongside artists including; Major Lazer, Pretty Lights, Flying Lotus, Bassnectar and Skrillex to name a few. In 2012 the band continued to make an impact on the festival scene, playing major shows at Wakarusa, Ultra Music Festival, Movement Festival, Osheaga and Sonar in Barcelona.
Ott was doomed to be a teenager in the cultural wasteland that was the mid-1980_s provincial England. After a brief period wandering aimlessly through the hairsprayed deserts of New Romanticism and poodle-rock he found refuge in the warm, inviting sounds of Scientist, King Tubby, LKJ, and Prince Far-I and the effortless grace of European experimentalists Neu! and Kraftwerk.
The end of the 1980_s brought with it a cultural and musical revolution and Ott headed to London to immerse himself in the new energy. Initially unimpressed by the frantic, unmusical clatterings of acid house and “rave” he discovered a new wave of artists who apparently shared his love of organic dub and pristine electronics. Artists such as The Orb, Dub Syndicate, FSOL and African Head Charge. These were people who were unafraid to combine bass-heavy rhythm, abstract soundscape and timeless melody into a huge, ever-shifting sonic universe which reflected perfectly the spirit of hope and positivity which prevailed.
It was at this point that Ott found his first work as an engineer in several studios around North London. Working obsessively, 18 hours a day, seven days a week for the next ten years, Ott developed his engineer skills working with artists such as Brian Eno, The Orb, Youth, African Head Charge, Steve Hillage, and On-U-Sound.
After mastering his studio skills, Ott celebrated the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st by giving it all up and moving to a remote cottage in South West England to be alone with his cats and his studio. Here he embarked on a series of sonic experiments, drawing heavily on the classic dub sounds from Jamaica and hypnotic electronic pulse from Germany which had provided such a refuge during the 1980_s. A period of intense creativity followed, during which a great many tracks were created and then stashed away on tapes.
In the meantime, Ott hatched a plan to remix half a dozen or so classic Hallucinogen trance tracks and release them as dub mixes – slower, fatter and more chillout friendly. In 2002 the album “Hallucinogen in Dub” was released via Twisted Records to universal acclaim. Buoyed by the success of “Hallucinogen in Dub”, the following years to come would see Ott gather together and release his sonic experiments on Twisted Record as the albums “Blumenkraft” and “Skylon”, as well as a whirl of gigs around the world, remixes for Shpongle, Entheogenic, Tripswitch, and collaborative projects like Umberloid (with Chris Barker) and Gargoyles (with Simon Posford). During this time, Ott travelled the word, got married, welcomed his daughter Daisy to the world and recorded his fourth album, which he self released in 2011, entitled ‘Mir’.
In addition to hundreds and hundreds of headline club dates, Ott has performed worldwide at acclaimed festivals such as Wakarusa, Camp Bisco, Rainbow Serpent, Glade, Sonic Bloom, Symbiosis, Lightning in a Bottle, Tree of Life Festival, Big Up Festival, and many many more.
British producer, DJ and engineer Billy Kenny is widely accustomed to the lower, more aggressive frequencies in the amalgamation between UK Garage, House and Techno. His hit track “Work” has reigned the bass heavy side of festivals ever since it’s release in August 2014 and continues to do so while more recent releases on Dirtybird, Sweat It Out and his co-run imprint “This Ain’t Bristol” circulate the globe.
Hailing from Leeds, Billy now resides just across the channel in Germany although his sound still remains more Radio 1 than Berghain. This prolific writer now has to be seen as one of the most influential ambassadors in Germany for the sound he represents, despite the fact that over the last year he’s been touring more than ever across four continents.
He and friends hold the reigns to their flourishing label This Ain’t Bristol, which has turned more than a few well respected heads since it’s launch in late 2014 and continues to pump out high quality releases to their ever-growing audience.
Unlike many producers on the circuit, Billy has perfected his craft behind the decks. His endless edits, live sampling, looping and unexpected choices of weaponry always make his unique set’s one to remember for those listening.
Founded on DTLA rooftops and raised in Venice, CA basements, Bixel Boys experiment with sounds inspired by everything from R&B vocals to deep house to trap percussion; creating a high energy vibe free from common genre labels. Their first original release on Australia’s Sweat It Out Records garnered critical acclaim from such acts as Treasure Fingers, Curses/Drop The Lime, Tittsworth, Clockwork/RL Grime, LA Riots, Bag Raiders, Viceroy, and Goldroom. Acts such as Fedde Le Grande, A-Trak, and Treasure Fingers have not only pushed the record on their respective radio shows but also have been seen dropping the EP’s title track at major dance festivals such as Sensation White and TomorrowWorld.
Though their originals are all high energy festival bangers, their blog friendly remixes have bounced all throughout the blogosphere as well as the top 10 on Hypem with their PYT remix reaching #3, Blurred Lines got as high as #6, and Waterfalls hit #3. Their Bring It On EP dropped on Nervous Records only two and half short months after the ‘Black December’ EP was released with support from MakJ, Congorock, Kastle, Jesse Rose, Fred Falke, Adrian Lux, Jillionaire of Major Lazer, Hot Mouth, Harvard Bass and more. In early 2014 you are going to see the continuation of their ‘Bixtape’ mix series as well as some more originals and remixes and even their first video. #FREELIFE
Launching his music career from his freshman dorm room, the Los Angeles-based 22-year-old producer/DJ, Justin Jay, has already seen success that extends well beyond his years, but he is surely not resting on any laurels as he further refines his expertise as a true artist. As the youngest member of the dirtybird family, Justin has seen support by the likes of Claude VonStroke, Jamie Jones, Disclosure, Tiga, and George Fitzgerald, among many others, while also being recognized as a “Future Star” by trusted tastemakers, such as Pete Tong, and fans alike. At the heart of his music, Justin Jay manifests his soul, funk, and jazz roots in a nostalgic, yet forward-thinking manner that yields his unmistakable brand of house music, which has won him releases on labels such as dirtybird, Culprit, Southern Fried Records, & Pets Recordings. His productions have also put him in the spotlight on club and festival stages across the globe, from LA’s HARD Summer to the dirtybird residency at Sankeys Ibiza, where he held crowds in his grasp, taking fans on a rollercoaster of energy and music ranging from deep house to breakbeat to techno. Justin Jay is set to continue building his career one step at a time, not taking any shortcuts and remaining humble, earning his place as a leader in dance music.