Music & Nightlife

Wynwood helping to put techno music label Dirtybird on map

Dirtybird Records founder Claude VonStroke moments before performing to a crowd of 2,000 fans during Art Basel. He said Miami fans have helped established the Dirtybird brand.
Dirtybird Records founder Claude VonStroke moments before performing to a crowd of 2,000 fans during Art Basel. He said Miami fans have helped established the Dirtybird brand. carboleda@miamiherald.com

Steve Middath decided on a whim to send one of his songs to San Francisco dance record label Dirtybird.

“I never thought I’d get a call back; they are huge in dance music. They have artists signed who have inspired me to think outside the box in terms of my music,” said Middath, 30, of Coconut Creek, who for the past 10 years has moonlighted in music. “I took a chance and it paid off.”

Dirtybird Records signed Middath’s track, “Aw Damn,’’ in June and released it in its album, “Dirtybird BBQ: Secret Sauce.’’

Dirtybird’s founder, Claude VonStroke, listened to Middath’s track submission. He said he listens to all submissions without looking for a specific sound.

“If it’s good, it’s good. I’m just looking for originality,” said VonStroke, who appeared at the Dirtybird BBQ event that took place during Art Basel.

“This is the only city aside from San Francisco that we’ve done the BBQ for a bunch of years,” said VonStroke. “Miami and Winter Music Conference has really helped us build our brand. We started small and now it’s taken off. Miamians have always been welcoming to us.”

Approximately 2,000 gathered at Smashed Canvas in Wynwood to eat smoked ribs, pulled pork, pasta salad and corn on the cob and dance to the beats of some of Dirtybird’s most influential artists, including VonStroke, Christian Martin, J. Phlip, Kill Frenzy, Justin Martin and Walker & Royce.

In the final leg of Dirtybird’s national BBQ tour, fans voted for their city to host the event. Miami won over cities like Phoenix, Washington, D.C. and Austin.

The attendees ranged from locals to fans like Joshua Raymond, who traveled six hours from Lake City in northern Florida.

For Raymond, Dirtybird is more than just a record label — it’s family.

“Every artist is so welcoming, they treat you like they know you and you feel part of the group,” said Raymond. “The energy at their events is all about making friends and having a good time. Everyone is open to meeting people and just enjoying life.”

When the BBQ started in San Francisco more than a decade ago, Martin says it was all about friends getting together and forming a community of music lovers. “Not much has changed since,” he said. “Except maybe a bigger crowd.”

The crowd is definitely growing in South Florida.

“When I started in the label three years ago, it was tiny crowds here in Miami,” said Kill Frenzy, after his two-hour performance at the BBQ. “It has exploded since; Miami has been great accepting our weird tunes.”

When Middath isn't performing or producing music, he works as a project manager for a specialty floor coating manufacturer in Pompano Beach.

“Getting my track signed by Dirtybird has definitely opened a lot more doors for me in the industry,” said Middath. “I'm excited to see where they take me.”

His next performance is scheduled New Year's Eve, starting at 9 p.m. at The Theater, 776 NW 21st Terrace.

On Dec. 23 the label will release “New Year’s Special” Vol 2. A compilation of 10 songs by different Dirtybird artists. For more information visit http://dirtybirdrecords.com/

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