February 14, 2011

Claude Von Stroke

Interview by Nick Stevenson. Originally published in Mixmag in November 2009.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I have this documented in a picture book I made when I was a kid. I wanted to own either a toy factory or a cookie factory. We took pictures of me with a top hat and a cane and a bunch of cookies and toys. When I retired I wanted to be a hillbilly with ?a huge beard and a farm.

What’s the worst club you’ve ever been to?
I’m from Cleveland and Detroit so I know what it’s like when people bad-mouth your city, but I’ve had some bad luck in Birmingham [UK] – three times in three different clubs. I’m finally ready to go back and see if I can make it right there. It’s got to be a coincidence.

What’s been your worst job?

I had just graduated from University and moved to LA to try and break into the film biz. My first job was selling fake perfume out of the trunk of my car.

What are you obsessed with?
Finishing everything I start.

And what do you hate right now?
Kanye West and Jamie Fox’s auto-tune tracks. Fake-ass fools!

When and where were you happiest?
When we were positive our second kid was a boy and she came out a ?girl. I must admit I cried. We got one of each. Amazing!

What’s the best record ever made?
My favourite dance track is Cajmere ‘The Percolator’, but I don’t believe there is a ‘best record ever made’.

What’s the coolest thing in your house?
I have a robot that prints commercial full colour CDs. Everyone loves watching the robot arm go to work picking up CDs and putting them in bins when they are done.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever had?
To summarise Derrick Carter: “I worked the door, I worked security, I worked the bar, I did my own parties, I showed up every night just in case someone else didn’t. You gotta work hard, and then when you ‘make it’, you work even harder.”

Who’s your all-time hero and why?
Rick Rubin. He started Def Jam out of his college dorm room producing Run DMC, LL Cool J, Public Enemy and The Beastie Boys. His parents told him he was crazy until he sent them a copy of his first label royalty check for $600,000. Later on, he jumped genres and produced Chili Peppers, Slayer and even went as far out as the Dixie Chicks. And he has a huge beard.

What do you collect – apart from records?
Nothing, and if I don’t use something for six months it’s going on eBay or to goodwill.

Who was your first love and what happened?
I bit her in the sandbox and she cried.

What were you doing at 2pm last Sunday afternoon?
Having a BBQ at my house with all the Dirtybird crew and my family.

What’s your answer to everything?
Work harder.

On a scale of one to 10, how good are you in the sack?
On the main event I’m no porn star but my fingers are quite nimble and I’m not afraid to use my tongue. Let’s say eight.

What’s your most prized possession that you’ve still got from when you were a kid?
Like I said, I don’t really keep anything around. But I have a few oil paintings by my grandfather in my house. He was a real artist.

Have you ever had a homosexual experience?
Besides admitting Brad Pitt is hot, no.

What was your last treat for yourself?
Some new T-shirts from Upper Playground.

What do you spend your money on?
My kids.

What’s your drug of choice?
Ganja, but I barely smoke it any more.

What can’t you live without?
I couldn’t make a living without the internet.

Do you have a recurring dream?
Nope, but I certainly have a lot of crazy non-recurring dreams.

What would you change about yourself if you could?
I’d get a bit more healthy.

What’s the worst item of clothing you’ve ever worn?
A tan and white pirate vest type thing with matching pants a girlfriend bought me in the 90s. I wore it to work and halfway through the day I saw myself in the mirror and couldn’t believe what a boy band-looking twat I was.

If you had a Tardis, what time would you go back to?
1984, to produce hip hop beats.

What’s your lamest claim to fame?
My remix of ‘Put Your Hands Up For Detroit’.

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