You’re from Detroit originally, right? What age did you move to San Francisco?
Claude Vonstroke: I actually went to college, and then moved to LA, and then went back to Detroit, so I probably moved [to San Francisco] 14 years ago.
What were you into, growing up in Detroit?
CV: I didn’t listen to any techno or house. The only stuff I heard was on the radio. Sometimes the DJ there, The Electrifying Mojo, would play Juan Atkins and stuff like that, but I didn’t listen to any of it. I only listened to hip-hop… like, 99%.
So hip-hop was always a constant? Because the sort of house music Dirtybird produces definitely feels influenced by hip-hop.
CV: It has to be influenced by it, because it was almost the only kind of music I listened to from age 12 to 22. But everything is an influence. Other house music is an influence, hip-hop is an influence, drum ‘n’ bass is a big influence. Everything I hear is an influence, it’s hard to pinpoint it. But I agree, we are more… I think we actually sound a bit more American, which just tends to be more hip-hop.
How important was the Detroit sound?
CV: The answer is, I didn’t really care. When I was in Detroit, I was making drum ‘n’ bass and all the people that were doing that… I was friends with some of them, but I didn’t really care. I totally ignored it, didn’t even know it was around really, and then a guy gave me a mixtape way after it had already been going. And I just like… freaked out. I couldn’t believe there were people making that kind of stuff. I’d been into hip-hop for a long time and I just got stuck in a certain style of music. And while I went to school, I didn’t really pay attention, I had other things going on and I got a hip-hop radio show. And then somebody gave me this tape and I was like “What is going on?!”