10 minutes with Claude VonStroke

The American house DJ on selling perfume from the trunk of his car to make ends meet, that moment when he knows the crowd is at his mercy, and playing at Fuji Rock festival

10 minutes with Claude VonStroke

Photo by Dan Wilton

Are you ready for Fuji Rock this weekend? I said, ARE YOU READY? American house DJ and label owner Claude VonStroke sure is. He's just touched down in Tokyo from Venice Beach, LA, to play at the festival and, to rally up some jamboree spirit for all you Fuji rockers, we fired off a few quick questions for him to answer.

This is your fourth trip to Japan. How do you like Tokyo?
When I arrive in Tokyo it's like coming off a space ship and stepping on to another planet. I think Japan is the most interesting country to visit because it's so dramatically different to anywhere else in the world.

It's been said that you push dance music's boundaries while sticking to the genre's roots. How do you do this?
It's very nice of the press to write things like that about me, but all I am doing is being true to what I like. I could never tell you that I do this kind of thing on purpose, I am only playing what I want to hear.

We read that your new single, 'CaliFuture', is based on your experience of selling fake perfume out of the the trunk of your car before you made it big. Did you really do this?
Yes! This was my first job in California, but I always had this feeling that there would be something great waiting for me. The theme of the song is based on the belief that many people have when they move to California that no matter how bad it gets, there is always some chance they will be picked out of obscurity and made into a star. The reality is very different, of course, but I love this strange optimism that flows throughout California. The track has a very uplifting feeling but also some very dark undertones.

Tim Jones

Any advice for the young ones who are still waiting for their moment?
Stay true to what you think is good but respect what people can teach you and what other songs can teach you about making music. If you fight hard enough, it can be done, but it is not going to be easy. I think people see a couple of 18-year-old guys making huge money but you must realise this is 0.0001 percent of the world. It is not what happens to most kids who buy a copy of [music software] Ableton Live. But you can achieve your dreams if you really believe in yourself. Save your money because you will need it at some point. Dedicate yourself all the way without compromise.

Who are you most excited to be playing alongside at Fuji Rock?
I'm most excited to see the acts I've never heard of before because this is how I find inspiration – discovering new music. I go to many festivals and someone always surprises me with their performance.

What's the best moment during a set?
Sometimes, there's a moment when you just know that the crowd is ready to go with you wherever you want to go. This is my favourite moment. It can happen at any time, maybe because of a certain combination of songs or some other factor, but when I see faces smiling and booties shaking, that's when I know they are down for my sound. I get double energy and it brings the whole experience up for everyone.

Catch Claude VonStroke's set tomorrow (July 26) on the Tribal Circus stage at Fuji Rock. And pick up his latest release here.

By Annemarie Luck
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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