Wednesday, October 29, 2008

GET SCHOOLED :: Claude VonStroke

Claude VonStroke is a busy cat. The Detroit transplant who cites San Francisco as home now is working on three separate projects while also balancing being a dad and a self-professed hater. But at the end of the day, it’s nice to see someone with a refreshing sense of honesty. Check out our Get Schooled edition with him below. Mr. VonStroke plays Mezzanine on Saturday, November 1.


Q: Tell me a little about what’s on your plate at the moment.

A: For Mothership, we have a new album for Catz n Dogz for promoting. As for Dirtybird, we just got a new girl and her record is coming out in a couple weeks. I’m also working on an album, and Justin Martin has one too.

What is the process like for remixes? Do you approach that any differently?

Some people just try to do a different version of a song. I tend to make a new track each time. I go about it in the same way, though.

How did you make it out to the City? It seems San Francisco is sorta a long call from Detroit.

You know…I was dating this girl who wanted to move out here, and then she didn't end up going out here. [laughs] I didn't want to go back to L.A., and I didn’t want to go back to Detroit, so I stayed. I don’t know how I got out here sometimes.

With so much new music out there, how do you keep track of everything? Do you have friends or publications you have faith in?

Now it’s getting to be hard. We get over 100 promos a week and 30 download offers. It takes several hours of work. I try to listen to everything, but sometimes it takes me a little while. There’s going to be chances I will miss something. There are labels I usually trust, but with magazines, I don't really listen to at all [due to advance nature of reviewing releases].

On your MySpace page, you list yourself under “ghettotech.” I’m trying to wrap my head around that, especially since what I’m finding includes a lot of pornographic imagery.

It’s also a sound from Detroit that's usually called “booty;” it's just a style of music that is faster that my genre, but the beat of it is really funky in the pocket – big bass, the spirit of it…it's really dirty, yes, but it’s not only the lyrics, but the vibe on how the beats are done.

What can people who haven’t seen you live expect?

It kinda depends on how it’s going to go, what time I end up on. If I play before Switch, it will be one way; if I play after, I'll play another way. He plays gigantic, so I’m going to work with that.

What was the last song you got stuck in your head?

This track on Kindisch Records, “Thrill” by Philip Bader and Sascha Braemer.

So no, like, Hall & Oates or anything?

Oh, you mean regular music?

[laughs] Or whatever gets stuck!

Maybe Dora the Explorer – I hear it all the time with my two year-old around.

If you had the chance, would you pick a different name? Maybe VonTouch, or VonCaress?

It was just a total joke at first, but it caught on. My first track somehow got into lots of people’s hands and then I went with it. It's interesting how many Europeans don't get it, but people in America do it. Europeans really think it's a real name.

Is there anything you refuse to play?

Almost everything. I'm not even kidding. I'm really kind of a hater.

Really? [laughs]

There's just a lot of bad stuff that's out there. Less that half of one percent of it is good – and then maybe half of that. Certain bass patches – as soon as I hear it, the big room electro, [that] will just get shut off, I'll just put in the trash. Some people like it, but I definitely know what I like. I will go into any genre if the song is amazing, but I don't play any music that is bad.

Interview by Jenz

Pictures courtesy of Dirtybird

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

One year ago today

This hotness graced our stage:

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, PATRICK WOLF? I miss your face. And you subliminally humping shit. And even when you fight with Mika.

Photo courtesy of aidenbordner.

MezzanineIV :: Treasure Island music and mayhem

The IV team went out to last month's Treasure Island Music Festival to get sunkissed and rub elbows with the famous, all just for you. Check out their interviews with Aesop Rock, Mike Relm, and Tilly and The Wall as well as live footage taped on Treasure Island.
Special only to the Mezzanine blog!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oh man, I remember this

Shiny Toy Guns - New Year's Eve by ivvvvv.

Our New Year's Eve party at end of 2006, entering good ol' 2007 - god, was that really two years ago I had a normal hair color? Wow. Sadly, I left after Scissors For Lefty and Shiny Toy Guns played, totally missing out on Blonde Redhead. I decided I wanted to be with all my friends instead of just one, and I and my friend Jeremy booked it from downtown to the outer Richmond, double-parked, and dashed up my friend Charlie's stairs at "SIX, FIVE, FOUR, THREE, TWO, ONE." Just in time. Crazy I even remember.

STG live shot courtesy of I-V.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ah, to score things that are free

I have two pairs of tickets for the Soulwax/2manydjs show at the end of the month! You want 'em, yeah? First two people to email me answers to the following gets some love:

- What is Samantha Fu?
- Name five remixes the Dewaele brothers have been responsible for.
- How would you describe the difference between the two groups?

Does anyone else think it a little funny they're opening up for themselves? I digress....

(Note: Contest has closed lovies! - Ed. 10/27)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Lasers! Yay!

MSTRKRFT3 by kapshure.

MSTRKRFT last week in between strobing, taken by Kapshure over at Berderp. Sexy mouth on the monitor, no?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"MSTRKRFT - They're Safer Than Bees" by William Oliver Hart

We sent our good friend Will over to witness some lasers last week, and here is what he had to say.

There's plenty of things that want to kill you in 2008; terrorists, bored children, bees, the Chipotle Chicken Ciabatta sandwich at Jack-N-The-Box, that Black Hole Machine thing in Switzerland. MSTRKRFT don't want to kill you though. Thus begins my first blog for Mezzanine, entitled "MSTRKRFT - They're Safer Than Bees." I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this on the back of a paper plate at Fuddrucker's and giving it to my girlfriend to transcribe.

Seeing that I quit my job, I saw MSTRKRFT mid-week. Really, what else am I gonna do with my free time? Get kicked out of the library some more? Please. Annnyways, the two opening DJs, Congorock and Felix Cartel, both subscribed to the same vague aesthetic of EVERY SOUND EVAR (car alarms, sirens, the cries of hungry babies) that has the potential to be the crux of some hardcore booty-quaking dance anthem. This, like anything else cool, kind of requires a sort of Kirkegaardian leap of faith to appreciate.

When MSTRKRFT hit the stage around midnight-ish, it was totally satanic panic. Do you think you like lasers? MSTRKRFT like lasers at least 5,000 times more than you. MSTRKRFT sounds like lasers. Okay, imagine Xanadu plus rave-action, divided by American Apparel, times epilepsy, and you might have an idea what the MSTRKRFT experience entails. Let's just say I'm pretty sure that the people that decided not to gorge themselves on Dimethyltryptamine before the show felt pretty solid about their decision. It could've been a bad scene. Not surprisingly, these brosephs' mastery of iconography probably rivals their oft-cited peers Justice, but it's not exactly surprising, seeing that a KRFTR himself, Jesse Keeler, cut his teeth with Death From Above 1979, a short-lived band whose music is wholly forgettable but whose striking elephant-schnoz imagery from their first CD is forever burned into my brain. Oh, and I think they had some sort of semi-epic beef with DFA stalwart Jamie Stewart 3 years ago. I remember thinking, "This could be a dance-punk Jay-Z versus Nas." But alas, no cool dis songs were produced. We all lost.

Wait - what was I talking about? Ah, right.

There is a sort of hamfisted horror show schlock to MSTRKRFT's presentation, from the Jason mask imagery to the blatantly metal (re: verging on illegible) font that proudly adorns a grip of their new merch. Their face-melting brand of electro strum und drang is offset perfectly by videos of explosions, fire, guns, and boobs, a display that is artsier than I'm letting on, and that I can assure you is supposed to be postmodern. But like their music, it works just as well (if not better) on a very superficial level: it's all icing, all the time. Subtlety is cruel mistress. These guys probably get super pissed when they're bored. I've never heard MSTRKRFT outside of a live setting, and I can't help to feel that you'd be missing the point if you just listened to them otherwise. Omygaw, I just noticed we have a Pitchfork link. Seriously, guys?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Who are you people?

Making the dance floor shake under my feetsies and having a raucous time at 12:30 in the A.M. on God's day...

Shame on you.

But seriously, how fucking phenomenal was last night's show? I swear to God I'm gonna marry an Australian. In Ghost Colors is one of my favorite albums of this year, and Cut Copy killed it. Haters aside, beezy. Plus, I think my ears are still ringing from The Presets' bass-heavy, drum-drooling "My People." How do two dudes make so much noise between them?

Let's not even talk about how ____ Heartbreak was. I'm still recovering.

More commentary to follow, but here are some snaps we found over on Flickr:

From MakeYouSick:
The Presets
Cut Copy

From Ario:
Cut Copy

I was standing about here, and the sound still was seamless. Bravo, dear Aussies.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW :: Andy of Hercules & Love Affair

NYC's Mr. Butler sits down to talk to us about being crowned the new disco kings, as well as his favorite songs on H&LA's debut record, featuring the vocals of Kim Ann, Nomi, and Antony from Antony and the Johnsons. Special only to the Mezzanine blog!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Dear dude last night at MSTRKRFT in the smoking area around 1:15 AM with the sweet taco tattoo on your bicep

Can I buy you a drank? Srsly?

We got some commentary coming your way about last night's American Apparel/moustache/white boy dancing/laser light show that was MSTRKRFT, and all I gotta say is: damn. I wish I was even remotely interested in doing drugs because those fucking things were out of control.

Stay tuned!