BONA2018 | Best Label: Claude VonStroke's Dirtybird

Claude VonStroke founded his Bay Area house label in 2005, just a few years before the EDM virus infected seemingly every label and producer in America. Rather than cater to big-room whims, Dirtybird stayed the course, continuing to churn out a steady stream of dirty, funky, techno-tinged house tracks from then-unknown producers (and brothers) Justin and Christian Martin, and later J.Phlip, Worthy and Kill Frenzy.

Thirteen years later, they’re still at it — and the rest of the dance music world, thankfully, has finally caught up. You can hear the still immediately recognizable Dirtybird sound at festivals around the world, including the label’s own bicoastal Dirtybird Campout, coming from a growing international roster featuring such rapidly ascendant talents as Greece’s Vangelis Kostoxenakis, London’s Zombie Disco Squad, and Bristol’s Will Clarke, who says, “Dirtybird has allowed me to really be an artist without being pushed to write a certain genre/style to ‘fit in.’”

Why fit in when you can stand out? That’s been Dirtybird’s strategy from day one, and it’s a pleasure to see it pay off as more and more punters flock to the label’s hard-edged, ass-shaking aesthetic with each new release.

WORDS: ANDY HERMANN