Tor Miller and openers The Prams played a great Friday night set at Schubas on November 16. Touring in support of his sophomore album Surviving the Suburbs, Miller was just taking off on a nationwide tour when he hit Chicago. Check out some of the highlights below:
Big Freedia, a New Orleans bounce artist full of high-energy, positive vibes, and Tank and the Bangas, a five-piece group known for channeling the entire scope of the New Orleans music scene, co-headlined Concord Music Hall on Friday night and brought some southern heat up to Chicago. Check out some highlights of the two below:
“Let the rhythm take control! Let the music move you!” Anthony Green, lead singer of rock band Circa Survive, shouts into the writhing crowd. His hair drips sweat onto blushing fangirls as he holds the microphone out to let fans sing along. There is no doubt about it: Green is a crowd favorite. From the moment he takes the stage, the energy in Chicago’s Riviera Theatre reaches even to the white-haired and wrinkled woman singing along from the balcony.
But this blustery November evening begins with a slower and more melodic tune than the headliner’s old school emo jams. Queen of Jeans, an almost entirely female outfit excepting the drummer, starts the night out with a six-song set filled with slow, doleful riffs and the ethereal vocals of lead singer Miriam Devora. Her rich voice is reminiscent of “dream pop” singers such as Lana Del Rey and Florence and the Machine, and as her frizzy, waist length brown hair sways to the vintage-style rhythms of the guitars, it’s hard not to be mesmerized. For their finale, they end with their own eerie but soulful take on R&B singer Aaliyah’s song “Are You That Somebody?” as the low, blue lighting and melodious riffs take the audience through an enchanted forest of harmonies.
“Hey, the guys said to tell you to be careful for the next set since there is supposed to be a lot of activity at the front.” The scruffy security guard leans in to warn me and a fellow photographer about how “heavy” the next set will be. As a frequenter of death metal shows, I find this hard to believe.
“As compared to what?” I ask.
“The last set.” Well, compared to the hippie dream girls of Queen of Jeans, just about anything would be heavier.
Little did I know, fans of the post-hardcore and sometimes spoken word band La Dispute rival even the most devoted of death metal audiences. From the first song to the last, crowd surfers test security’s limits, and I cradle my camera close as lead singer Jordan Dreyer practically flies over my head into the crowd. I have only ever seen a lead singer with that much energy since I attended a While She Sleeps concert, and Dreyer hardly ever stands still. Typical of post-hardcore bands, his vocals are fairly indistinguishable, but La Dispute’s sound can best be described as a very strange bastard child of Twenty-One Pilots (alt-pop) and Counterparts (hardcore punk). However, Dreyer’s energy is a sharp contrast to the rest of the band who stands in the shadows as they play the notes they have to. The bassist even has his back turned to the crowd for most of the show, and the set fizzles out with an incredibly short and unmemorable last song and a rather exhausted looking Dreyer.
Both openers fly by with relatively short sets, and despite some amazing music and incredible energy neither can compare to the sheer presence that Circa Survive brings to the stage. A great concert should leave fans in the pit with sore vocal cords and covered in sweat, and Circa Survive undoubtedly delivers.
Anyone who listens to old school emo bands like The Used and Taking Back Sunday knows that Circa Survive’s first album Blue Sky Noise brings back all of the middle school feels. Even though the band prioritized their newest albums, once the opening riffs of “Strange Terrain” start to play the audience can hardly be contained. This song is my third and last one in the press pit, and I spend most of it protecting my head and face from crowd surfers’ feet and Anthony Green’s deadly microphone, (which he lassoes out into the crowd at least twice). Even as I get uncomfortably too close to Green’s torso as he sprints over to where I’m shooting and leans out into the crowd, I can’t help but sing along with an enormous smile.
For the slower songs, minimalist and vintage-looking lightbulbs illuminate the band, and for the more upbeat rock ballads, trippy lights spiral away on a backdrop. Throughout it all, Green’s unusually high-pitched voice reverberates across the theatre, and for once you can actually distinctly hear the bass player. Most importantly, there is love. The spray painted word adorns one of the amps, Green spends more time in the crowd holding the hands of fans than actually on stage, and the voices of hundreds of black-clothed outcasts sing in unison: “Only light can get through…”
Approximately seven months ago, San Francisco-based garage and psychedelic rocker Ty Segall played a show at the Vic Theater that easily remains a contender for the most chaotic, electrifying show I’ve ever seen. When it was announced that he was playing a Thalia Hall show, I knew I had to relive the experience. In all of my eager anticipation, I glossed over a few key details. First, it was a solo, acoustic show. It was also an “in the round” show, meaning the artist plays on a slightly elevated platform surrounded on all sides by audience. I had no idea when I signed up that Ty Segall–the frantic, cacophonous shredder–would pack up his electric guitar, send home his band, and set up in the middle of the audience while equipped with only a highly decorated acoustic guitar, a mic, and a glass of red wine weighing down his setlist. Has he gone soft?
In truth, no, because he has had a soft, tender side for a while. Segall has an extensive body of mostly acoustic ballads sprinkled into his latest works, alongside his 2013 album, the psychedelic folk, predominantly acoustic Sleeper. These songs, with a couple exceptions, rarely make it into his live shows, which is unfortunate considering they’re some of his most affecting, beautiful songs and a perfect balance to his more raucous numbers. With the chance to hear some of Segall’s less played cuts, I approached this Friday night show with renewed enthusiasm.
But first, William Tyler. Hailing from Nashville, the show’s opener outdid Segall in minimalism—while he occasionally spoke through the mic, all of his songs were instrumentals played on just his acoustic guitar. His songs, each using a different unconventional tuning, were dynamic; continuously meandering and changing form, swelling and diminishing throughout their often six- to eight-minute running times. A fingerpicker in the vein of American primitive guitarists like John Fahey, all ten fingers were at work at most times, composing odd, intriguing chord shapes or dexterously alternating between strings. While many opening acts have a difficult time maintaining their audience’s attention, even with a full band, William Tyler, his head constantly engaged in an impassioned bob, was the center of attention. Conversation occasionally picked up between songs but the crowd, for the most part, remained hushed, apart from a pair of backward-baseball cap-donning Segall bros who never missed an opportunity to bellow their approval at Tyler’s most intimate and emotive moments—“Fuck it up Willy!” I knew there was something missing when I listened to Modern Country, Tyler’s latest album, but these guys showed me what it was.
And then Ty came on, matter-of-factly plopping down his wine glass paperweight and launching into “Crazy,” a song from the aforementioned Sleeper. His set list included a number of rarely played, originally acoustic songs, but also stripped down versions of some of his usually fuzzed out rockers and a series of covers taken from his new covers album Hot Fudge. There are a couple notable differences between electric and acoustic Ty, the most pronounced being the emphasis on his voice in the acoustic setting. At the Vic, his voice at most times was just one contributing factor to the all-consuming wall of noise; here, without all of the instrumental distraction, his dynamic range was on full display. Songs like “Warm Hands (Freedom Returned),” a 10+ minute, proggy epic off of his most recent self-titled album featured a throaty, unhinged growl; his natural, reedy Lennon-esque voice; and a demented yelp peppered in here and there. He also engaged more with the audience, taking full advantage of the “in the round” format and moving his mic to face different parts of the crowd. At one point he dove into an impromptu Q&A with one of the bros about his dog, the subject of his track “Fanny Dog.” Apparently, Fanny is a dachshund.
There is one similarity between the two settings, whether it’s an amplified full band show or a stripped-down acoustic set: a Ty Segall show is neither tame nor predictable. Songs still devolved into spazzy technical freakouts, Ty Segall still battered the strings of his guitar with such ferocity that it’s a surprise they survived the show intact, and bodies still moved, albeit with less intense contact than in his full band shows. Though it was a shame that as a solo performer he wasn’t able to recreate some of the intricate and beautiful full band arrangements of his acoustic songs, he did as much as one can conceivably do with the limiting format, resulting in an entertaining show that rarely felt like a diluted version of his act.
“Incredibly millennial” probably sums up the experience of going to a LANY concert. Unlike most things you read, I mean that in a completely flattering way. Paul Klein and LANY put on a show that really just reveled in that sweet spot of simple frank lyrics and dreamy synth-pop beats.
Despite the Riv being packed to the very back of the balcony, the uproar that occurred as Klein took to the stage and started singing “Thick and Thin” off of the band’s new album Malibu Nights came as a surprise to me. While I didn’t go into the concert expecting their slow reflective tunes to transform into the much more infectious upbeat pop songs, LANY definitely changed my mind. From the Coors sipping dad to my left and the unashamedly loud preteens behind me, everyone seemed to abandon their inhibitions as they sang along to older songs like “yeah, babe, no way” or new singles like “I Don’t Wanna Love You Anymore,” both of which hit that perfect pop-song-kind-of-heartbreak.
But what really made the night stand out was the stage set up. Split into two levels, the band played on the top elevated half as Klein pranced and swooned around on the lower level. He occasionally climbed up on to a clear stand to play the keyboard for a little theatricality – and it worked. Both halves were backlit by huge LCD screens. As the backdrop changed with each song and set the mood, I also felt like I was living through an extension of this unique technological age of relationships that we’ve all become used to – or rather struggle with. Coupled with synth beats and electronic melodies, Klein’s lyrics place you right in the middle of a relatable modern saga.
I’d recommend checking out LANY just because they’re the kind of band where slower, more repetitive songs that seem to lack a certain oomph become so much better after hearing them live. “Hericane” stood out as a favorite and the communal swaying that happened while everyone belted out “our home’s a wreck, look at this mess” was well worth the trip downtown.
What’s evident is that Paul Klein is equally as charismatic as he is heartbroken. An hour before coming on stage he tweeted “I want us” and while I am wondering who hurt him so profoundly, if it’s going to find its way into these honest indie pop songs, I’m here for it. The night ended with a rousing version of “ILYSB” and I couldn’t recommend going to see Paul Klein sing candidly about love and loss more.
In another lifetime, Paul Janeway was probably a nerd. His warm, round face is hidden behind thick glasses and topped with a fluff of orange hair. But he was born in the Deep South, growing up with a rich musical tradition and a slow changing culture that seeps into bloodlines and passes from one generation to the next. Janeway was born with the blues. With a voice that could easily belong to Otis Redding instead, Janeway channels the pure, unrefined passion that elevates music from a sensual to a spiritual level—a truly soulful sound that would not feel out of place at church on a Sunday morning.
The now eight-piece group officially formed in 2012 in Birmingham, Alabama, and consists of guitarist Browan Lollar, bassist Jesse Phillips, Andrew Lee on drums, Al Gamble on piano and organ, Allen Branstetter on trumpet, Amari Ansari on saxophone, and Chad Fisher on trombone. Since their formation, the band has released an album every other year. This year we were blessed with their third release, Young Sick Camellia, which, as its title alludes to, examines Janeway’s complicated relationship with culture and family in the south (hint: the camellia is the state flower of Alabama). A self-proclaimed “blue dot in a sea of red,” according to the band’s website, Janeway has done an excellent job of bringing the South out of the South. By adding dance-worthy elements of funk and R&B into their soul base and questioning tradition with their lyrics, St. Paul and the Broken Bones proves to be more than just a relic and pushes thoughtful and original content out of the confines of the South and into the rest of the world.
If you’re more entranced by Janeway’s booming voice than by the words he’s singing, you need only to see him onstage to realize he’s no fan of tradition. I’m not sure exactly what to call the drapery that adorned his body—a fur coat made of tinsel?—but it was certainly not something you’d find in your papa’s closet. From my low angle as a photographer, I was able to get up close with the finishing touch on his shimmering outfit: a pair of glittery, red, white, and blue Nikes. I regretted that the shoes would go unnoticed by everyone who wasn’t in the front row but it’s not like the rest of the audience had a bad view either. Flanked by an enthusiastic Lollar on guitar and Phillips on bass, Janeway commanded the stage and even broke the dividing plane into the crowd’s space. Hand outstretched like a preacher, he teetered at the edge of the stage and bellowed, “Your love is like a mighty river, baby…” Saint Paul Janeway, the preacher from Alabama, out to spread a new gospel with his broken bones.
When I think of their sound, I think of the word “full.” Full of rhythm, full of different instruments, full of moving parts, full of emotion, full of life and all its complexities. I saw no less than four instrument switches throughout the show between a group of seven active musicians. And yet, even with the combination of seven instruments and Janeway’s booming voice, no one sound was overpowering. Each had its own rhythm, its own part of a harmony, and they complimented each other. St. Paul and the Broken Bones are masters at subtly manipulating the individual voices at play in their music so that their songs don’t blend together under a blanket. Whether the keys and the bass were laying down funk in songs like “GotItBad,” or the guitar hummed a slow melody like “Sanctify,” or the horns took charge in their breakthrough song “Call Me,” the complete sound was undeniably Southern but without methodically copying the classics or pushing one person to carry the weight of the rest of the band.
The multilayered sound of the band was in turn complemented by the Riviera Theatre itself, which plays with dimension through its tiered floor and multiple balconies that accentuate the depth of the space and draw all eyes to a focal point far behind the plane of the stage. The band chose a starry backdrop, giving the illusion of an infinitely receding space behind the band, whereas the lighting penetrated back into the audience. The band itself, at the midpoint between Earth and endless sky, became the sun—the soul—of the shared space. And boy did they have fun with it. They controlled the Riviera with light and energy that affected everyone from the Miller-drinking twenty-somethings clustered by the central bar on the floor to the fifty-something-year-old couples in the balcony. Everyone was engaged and dancing nearly the whole time. The show was way more fun than I expected to have on a Wednesday night and I’m not complaining. A conflicted Southerner myself, I loved the way that St. Paul and the Broken Bones were able to both preserve and transform traditions and create something new out of a collection of old pieces. In two years, when they (hopefully) will repeat their two-year album release pattern, I look forward to seeing what they do next.
Donations for Sportsathon 2017 are now open! CLICK HERE to leave your contribution. Please ensure that your gift is being directed to WNUR Sports by clicking on the “WNUR Sportsathon” option under gift designation.
The Seventh Annual WNUR Sportsathon is set to kick off Friday, November 10th, at 6:30 PM and continue until Saturday, November 11th, at 9:00 PM. The event is over 24 straight hours of sports programming on WNUR 89.3 FM and WNURSports.com. This year’s Sportsathon will include live coverage of four different Northwestern sporting events, including a women’s soccer NCAA Tournament match on Sunday, November 12th.
For more information, including a full programming schedule, visit wnursports.com
A community congregates Thursday nights at Elastic Arts. These are the same people you might see any given week here, the same who sit around the island, the same on the couch, the same sitting in the front row taking photos. Concerts at Elastic Arts have always felt like stepping into a family to me, a large disjunct family who all like weird, exploratory, awesome music. And no matter how long I spend outside, there is a sense of homecoming whenever I step throw those doors.
Homecoming, a word I would use to describe Paul Giallorenzo’s entrance to the stage on Thursday night. The newly ‘former’ executive director of Elastic Arts, took his seat at the piano on Thursday night to a crowd of friendly faces that would only grow throughout the night. Paul, along with Dave Rempis and Sam Lewis also in attendance, started Elastic Arts over 15 years ago in a converted church in Humboldt Park. Their location, and importance now as a fixture in the Chicago improvised and creative music scene is an extension of the network of friends and performers feeding energy into the space from the beginning to now. And so this is a homecoming for Giallorenzo, his album release could not conceivably be anywhere else, this is his space, this is his community.
The music starts with a motif common to many of the tracks on FLOW, Giallorenzo’s new record out on Delmark — an interlocked ostinato bass line between piano left hand and bass. There is a grounding in the ostinato, a grounding in Joshua Abrams solid repetitions, never wavering, always holding the music in place and pushing forward. Mikel Avery starts up his drum set and the trio moves as one, full force through the “rolling” lines of Giallorenzo’s coy right hand melodies. So often Thursday nights at Elastic are spacious, are astral moving through zones of free improvisation, and these three musicians are certainly no stranger to musics like this, but October 12th was something different, something more earthy, more grounded. As Abrams starts to walk, I try to remember the last time I heard a walking bass line in this space, and aside from the music played before the show, I honestly can not. The bass can be a grounding instrument, aligned with time. And that walking bass line of tradition itself is too a grounding force, something many struggle at a certain point in their musical lives to separate from (maybe that’s why so many of us have ended up with our heads in the clouds?) Giallorenzo’s is two feet on solid ground music, is rooted music in the tradition of piano trio music, in the sound and stylings of Thelonious Monk and Cecil Taylor. It’s refreshing to move your toes in the earth sometimes, to remember perhaps the jazz you first heard and first fell in love with.
It’s in this remembering these three musicians play, and you can see it on their faces as they smile on at each other, challenged by the music Giallorenzo has written. Writing music is a reduction of possibility, a constraining towards what cannot be, but without constraint what would we need creativity for? Avery smiles at Abrams, and on the second to last tune he breaks his G string, this is reduction too, and Abrams smiles on. There is a joy to operating within the construct within the tradition, there is a challenge to saying something new in a book with already so much written. And the Paul Giallorenzo trio does all of this, subtly, with restraint, all operating within the minimal. My head hangs on every note, every slightly disjunct tinkling piano line, every rattling snare hit responding to or prompting some boom or jab from Abrams. In so much jazz I hear or, tradition or innovation, and I am refreshed to hear and tonight. As I search for a ‘how’ in this supreme and I think of reserve and reduction, the careful attention of writing music, of constraint, of one note references and quiet clustered comping. I come to the word minimalism. In Ben Remsen’s liner notes to FLOW he mentions the minimalism of Giallorenzo’s playing many times. His playing and composing is an economy of speech, saying much with little, moving forward in small steps, and we as the audience are invited along for the ride with the smallest of gestures. And suddenly I know this is FLOW, this is piano trio, this is Paul Giallorenzo, this is Elastic Arts, moving forward with small steps in all directions.
FLOW is out now on Delmark Records.
Near the end of summer, I was in Minneapolis and stopped by Extreme Noise Records, a volunteer-run co-op record store. I thought it would be a good time to pick up a couple records for the Rock Show stacks, below are the three records I picked up, which can be found in the new vinyl section of the stacks.
Y’all know what this is. 2017 Providence, RI punk. On this one they tone down the sax and move towards a little less raw sound, but the anger and politics are still very much there. The band blends first wave british punk and post-punk with 80’s hardcore and 00’s indie as Victoria Ruiz screams blistering spanish/english lyrics against oppression on all sides. The lyrics rail against may of our ugliest current issues, including police brutality, xenophobia, Trump, and the poisonous disinterest society exhibits towards solving its problems.
This is their first release on Sup Pop, granting these Chicana, queer, and latino voices a much wider platform and audience. And all the better. This album is angry, vital, and fucking rips. You saw ‘em play at Dillo day, check this one out in the stacks.
Big Boys were an Austin, Texas punk band, this album dating from way back in 1981. Their sound is somewhere in the vicinity of James Chance & the Contortions, or the Minutemen. Very skronky, with lots of funky backbeats, but also some fast n’ loud hardcore. The Big Boys were pioneers in many ways. They were an early band the Texas hardcore scene. They were an early skate-punk band, as can be seen in the beautiful inner photo on the gatefold of this record, and evidenced by their appearances in Thrasher magazine. They spearheaded a vein of danceable, funk influenced punk, and influenced many queercore bands as a group with a charismatic, confrontational, gay frontman.
This record was initially released in hundreds of copies with a hand-silkscreened jacket. As such, it was essentially impossible to find a physical copy until it was reissued in 2013. I think it’s a great addition to the stacks as an important record that was obscure enough to escape the reach of WNUR back in the day. And we’ve got a copy with a beautiful, green-marble disc to boot!
Finally, after being a little naughty and splurging on a copy of Goat by the Jesus Lizard and a Butthole Surfers t-shirt for myself, I asked for a recommendation from the clerks there, looking for a local, vinyl V/A compilation. What they suggested was this record. It’s a great addition to WNUR’s extensive collection of local comps, and contains some great late 90’s/early 00’s metallic hardcore, with lots of metal-tinged riffs, blast-beats and pissed-the-fuck-off vocals. Some standout tracks include ‘Blind Lead the Blind’ by Calloused and ‘Burn My Eyes (Motherfucker)’ by Dreadnaught. Thanks again to the guys at Extreme Noise. If you’re ever in Minneapolis and looking for a punk-first record store, it should be at the top of your list.
This year marked my first experience at the Electric Forest Music Festival. While day one and two didn’t agree with our campsite, (it was rained out and my tent collapsed), the weather did not overshadow the tremendous impact that E-Forest had. The art instillations, musicians, diversity of stages, and beautiful setting made it feel like fiction. Above all, my interactions with artists made it a worthwhile weekend. Among those, our team was given the chance to interview the kingpin of Dirtybird Records, Claude Vonstroke. While starting in San Francisco, Dirtybird has made large waves within the house scene, through Claude’s distinctly funky sound, the famed Dirtybird BBQs, and the label’s rich roster of talented artists. Claude was as friendly as he was brutally honest, within regards to his relatively unexpected career trajectory, emerging projects, and the struggles associated with becoming a fulltime artist while developing a label. Our discussion is below.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
Marc: Cool, well first off man it’s great to meet you. Thanks for speaking with WNUR. I’m originally a Bay Area fan so it’s special for me.
Claude: Cool, thank you.
Marc: So, for our listeners, I’m just going to briefly describe what you do (and your background). You have Dirtybird, which has been very successful, with an exceptional roster of artists from many different countries. From Eats Everything, to Justin Martin, to Nick Monaco for a time, (who is also from SF). You’ve also had the Sirius XM station the Bird House, which I tune into when I drive, and you have the Dirtybird BBQs.
Claude: Right, and now it’s (grown to) a campout festival.
Marc: So setting the stage, you have your fingers in a lot of different areas, as an artist, as a curator.
Claude: And we have the Birdhouse stages.
Marc: Yes, and bringing other artists out using your platform. So I wonder what was it like for you in SF right at the very beginning? Right when you were starting off?
Claude: So I started off in Oakland, and my roommate went to high school with me, and he was kind of a techy guy, nerdy kinda, doing math and stuff. And he taught me how to build PCs. He had taught me over the phone before I moved to Oakland, but then I started really doing it. So I was able to make these really cheap PCs that were really fast. And then we would get all this bootleg software from China and I was able to have a much better rig than I should have. So I made a documentary about how to become a famous… Well not a famous DJ, but how to become a DJ that gets gigs. I interviewed all like the most famous people at that time, so like Paul van Dike, Orbital, Derrick Carter, and Derrick Main.
Marc: I believe Derrick Carter actually used to play at our station. He had a residency.
Claude: Cool that’s awesome! Ya, so I got all these people on it, and I edited it, and directed it, did everything on these bootleg rigs, and then I (chuckle…) ran out of money completely. So I had to make all the music, because you need music to play under the interviews, so we just remade songs that sounded like the people who were on the interviews, and I used some songs from other people as well. But then by the end of it, basically, I knew how to make house music. Then I moved to SF. The whole time I was working in SF, at an editing place, video editing. But I was going out all the time too.
Marc: Damn that’s really interesting, I know SF has a music scene with a lot of culture and history, but it’s not the music central area. It’s not LA or New York…
Claude: So it’s not, I have this thing, like it’s a great place to have a clique. It’s like, really cliquey, and awesome, if you’re in one of the cliques. So I really liked Drum and Bass when I first got there… I could not get into that clique. Like forget it. I’m sure some people say the same thing about us.
Marc: What were some of the venues you went to? I’m just curious?
Claude: Cat Club, eventually they had it at a Pizza Place.
Marc: DNA Lounge?
Claude: No I’m talking about the Drum and Bass Party. They had it at a Pizza place upstairs, then they had it at Cat Club. Ya I went to DNA Lounge, I went to the Top every Wednesday. Justin had his thing there.
Marc: And what year was all this? What was the timeframe?
Marc: Word… DNA Lounge is closing. The owner mentioned it had been there since the first .com boom but that they’ve run out of funding.
Claude: It is? It had a good room. Are they selling it to some giant computer company? It’s not a bad room. I’ve had some good nights in there.
Marc: Good to hear, so you’ve kind of jumped into my next Q which is what it was like as an emerging artist in that area. I was wondering if you had any SF influences based on cultures that inspired you, from the Hyphy movement to funk?
Claude: Ya, I mean I was from Detroit, and if I had done straight Detroit music I don’t think it would have been as eclectic. So there was kind of this extra element of, hippie, slash funny weirdo, like hip-hop head, lower height vibe that got snuck in there.
Marc: That’s awesome. Another question I have, a bunch of our listeners as well as quite a few members of our station are students. Many of us are aspiring artists as well. What advice would you give, or impart to someone who is at the beginning of their career as a musician? Also what is it like starting a label?
Claude: It’s two different kinds of advice. It’s like, be realistic, and be unrealistic (more chuckles…). So be unrealistic but don’t be stupid. The only way that I was able, I’d figured out that I really wanted to do it, so I had to make a plan to do it. Not just like, “I’m just gunna DJ everywhere and smoke a bunch of weed, and hope that something happens.” You have to make a really hardcore plan about where you want to go and how you’re going to get there. Even if it seems completely ridiculous just do it anyway. Really like, don’t quit your job from like another six months to a year from when you think you should quit your job. Also get just a tiny stockpile of money, so you can actually survive not getting booked for six months. Do you know what I’m saying?
Claude: Just get a little bit of a nesting before you go full on. That’s good advice. Otherwise you can just burn out, two months. Be like, nahmean, we used to eat mustard sandwiches. Which is just like two pieces of bread with mustard, and sh** like that just to make it. If you get to the mustard sandwiches in the first two months, you’re not gunna be a DJ.
Marc: That’s really useful advice.
Claude: You gotta be able to go a little bit longer than that.
Marc: One thing I wanted to ask as well… I think often using the general umbrella term of House, there’s often not equal representation within both gender and marginalized communities. Which is kind of ironic because House and Techno started from marginalized groups. (Speaking towards gender) I know you have J.Phlip on your roster, and I’m wondering what you think about this issue?
Claude: Ya that’s a very big question. This is something I really also noticed after last year’s Campout. I just looked at the lineup and I was like, “Man, I think we f** up” (laughs around the room…). So now I booked 8 women, and all kinds of people. I just definitely, I’m not gunna have like, this only really (male dominated). I made a concerted effort this year, but I really think, it’s not like you need to try hard. There’s so many good people that it’s pretty easy, you just have to not be an idiot.
Marc: Do you think it’s improving, that there’s more representation now?
Claude: I think that also, a couple people in the higher range of events, like Garry Richards, even though he made a crazy video. He is thinking about it, and booking more women and stuff now. There are a few people that are doing it, and then there are always a few people that don’t give a f**. Just like how life goes forever right?
Marc: So one thing, I saw you at Bonnaroo, and your alter-ego project, which is actually just your name Barclay. So I was wondering if you wanted to talk about how that started?
Claude: That was originally what I wanted to do when I was eleven, was be a rapper. All that stuff was basically from when I was like eleven to fourteen. I had a flap hat, I had a jam box, I wanted to be RUN DMC. It was just like, I was from a different planet. I made up, technically, I said I would never admit that I was actually (from) another planet. But anyway, all that stuff is from my childhood, and I just thought that was what I was gunna do, but I just got really good at making House music… So I just said that I need to go back because that was so fun and interesting, and I just still want to do it.
Marc: So it’s your passion project? That’s really cool. So this is my last Q and then I’ll let you fly, no pun intended. But I was wondering, personally, who illustrates the album covers for Dirtybird because they’re crazy!? The animal morph combinations.
Claude: OK, this is also a passion project of mine. So every year for the last five or six years, we were just doing sh** art, for a long time. Like that little bird that I drew, it was just like, really bad. For someone who likes art I was like, “Uggh why are we doing such bad art”. So I just said why don’t I get all the best people that I can possibly find to do the art. So every year, I hire one person to do all the Dirtybird art, but it’s a different person every year. It’s always low brow pop surrealism, which is my favorite kind of art. It’s always weird as f**. So… this year’s guy his name is Dolk, and he’s from Spain. Last year was Dan May from Michigan, with the fuzzy monsters. The year before that was Rahul Delilo, from the Netherlands, with the combined animals. And then the year before that was Bram Carter, who’s just a really cool illustrator from Brighton, England. So they’re from everywhere.
Marc: Awesome we’ll that was my last question, so to close I just want to say thank you.
Claude: Oh ok perfect (timing).