‘dirtybird’ has been breaking new ground and dropping basslines since January 2005. The label has always been synonymous with sweaty bass-lines, quirky ideas, and bass driven funk. It is only fitting that a label based on a philosophy of bringing smiles to the dance-floor was created by a party. In 2003, Christian Martin took a risk and bought a giant sound system on his credit card. The party was named after a drawing of a bird that Barclay Crenshaw (aka Claude VonStroke,) used to draw when he was a kid. The line-up was rounded out with Christian’s brother Justin Martin and his room-mate Worthy. All four DJs were tired of the same old San Francisco vocal house that they heard everywhere they went. The grand idea was to change the landscape of San Francisco house music by throwing an epic free party in the park based on this new sound.
Barclay had been saving money to start pressing records by shooting and editing corporate videos and tv commercials. He had also recently completed a documentary film about house and techno Djs featuring over 40 artists from Theo Parish to Orbital. His girlfriend (now wife) “Aundy” heard about the plan for the label and decided to give her man the greatest gift of all time. She said, “I’ll give you one year to make this record label work. I’ll pay the rent, food and bills. If you make $XX amount of dollars you can do it forever. If you don’t, you have to go back to work for corporate America the rest of your life.” How’s that for a killer ultimatum?
So, in January 2005 the label was born with DB001 “the Southern Draw” by Justin Martin and Sammy D, a super freaky record that landed dirtybird a vinyl distribution deal in Germany. A few months later, DB003 was released. A track called “Deep Throat,” Barclay’s debut record that blazed through over 11,000 vinyls, 20 odd licenses and easily surpassed what seemed to be an impossible financial goal for a 1st year record label. It also introduced the world to the name Claude VonStroke.
Since 2005, the little party in Golden Gate park has grown up. The original crew is all the same with the newest addition of Jessica (J. Phlip) Phillipe. New artists are being singed all the time from the UK, France, Poland, Germany and as far as South Africa. Now the crew is flying around the world, releasing records, and still throwing the best parties in San Francisco - but with a few more people in attendance.
Justin Martin is one of the few house DJs that successfully bridges the gap between being commercially successful and staying true to the underground. His sound has been described as both melodic and tough, with releases ranging from the dynamic “Cicada” on dirtybird to the slamming “Magnificent” remix for Iz and Diz on OM records. Justin first gained international acclaim for his single, “The Sad Piano,” on Ben Watt’s Buzzin’fly label. The single made its way into many A-List DJ crates as well as receiving many accolades from critics. Over time, Justin developed a more edgy sound in his hometown of San Francisco. He helped develop the local dirtybird label with his good friend, Claude VonStroke, releasing several amazing singles and remixes. Justin considers himself lucky to be making music and is always a humble, but rocking presence on the dance floor. Stay tuned for some amazing new music and remixes this year.