Random Facts With… Claude VonStroke
‘Claude VonStroke does not scowl and look mean while he DJs…’
So says the opening line of the Dirtybird boss’s bio. The music released on his label certainly follows suit – a sense of fun permeates the output of Dirtybird, the antithesis of a lot of the po-faced, deadly-serious noise nonsense that’s got hipsters salivating over the last few years.
So, bearing all of this in mind – we thought who better than to face down the challenge of Random Facts, the interview where Ostrich’s eyes take precedent over analogue synthesis, where knowing a lonely female ferret’s fate is more important than discussing drum programming techniques.
From eating contests to a duck’s quack, it’s Random Facts with Claude Von Stroke……
R$N: Whereabouts are you?
CVS: Im in Los Angeles.
Cool, hows that?
Its nice. Its a little chilly but not really.
Not as cosy as here!
We cant really say that actually.
They lost part of the railway down on the south coast today, just ripped it into the sea.
Yeah theres just been these mad freak storms here and theyve been ripping the roofs off churches and stuff. So… good stuff.
That sounds really bad.
Yeah its pretty miserable at the moment, but thats the UK in February really isnt it?
Yeah I guess so. Ill be over there in the middle of it soon. The second half of February, Ill be there the whole time.
Whens your show? Its the end of the month isnt it?
Ive got like 20 shows from February 10th onwards. Its like an everyday play almost.
Thatll be pretty full on. Have you been having a bit of a break the last few weeks?
No, not really.
Well lets do something fun then
Weve done an interview before but it would be nice to do something a bit more fun, just play fact tennis if you like. Ill start with one and we can go from there, just discuss it in detail, say thats bullshit or whatever.
I’m looking at with a bunch of weird facts.
Shall I kick off with something?
Go for it! Are you just looking it up on google as you do it?
Yeah… Have you got one? Do you want to start?
Google facts is really bad.
How about… An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.
Really? Where did you get that from?
Im gonna look that up. Wow, its true.
I dont know if its true but I have it!
Its difficult. When I did this one with Tiga he was saying a fact is a fact until someone says otherwise.
Yeah thats true. Thats what happens in a lot of conversations. I always find myself in these political conversations where I strongly believe that the person is totally full of shit but I dont have any facts to defend myself so I cant get into it with them so theyre just going to beat me down. This happens to me all the time and im like oh, why dont I know any facts?
Especially in politics as well.
Yeah because if they just have ten facts they can just crush you whether theyre right or not. And im like Ohhhhh, yeahhh…
Its just like having courage in your convictions. I know sometimes that the other person is just talking out of their arse but you have to… Yeah, its difficult.
When I was a little kid this guy started explaining how this completely racist theory was right and I was like Oh my god, this guy is the worst person on the face of the earth but he had all these crazy facts, it was a nightmare. I was like Get me out of here!
Lets stay off politics and go on to useless facts. Not that I have any racist theories you understand, thats not what I was saying. How about; giraffes and rats can last longer without water than camels?
I would say true.
I can imagine that with giraffes.
I was going to say I could imagine that with rats.
They live in like sewers dont they?
They just seem like theyre very resilient because Ive tried to kill so many rats. In fact, we used to live out in the country and I used to kill rats, theyre very difficult to kill.
They move quickly.
Theyre very opportunistic. Giraffes tongues are black, maybe thats because they never drink any water.
Black? Ive never actually examined a giraffes tongue. We had a, I guess you call them flying rats, a pigeon. I came home one night and my cat was really excited, I was like Whats going on? and he was like oh come next door. Obviously he wasnt actually talking to me but telling me to come next door. I came in the bedroom and there was just blood, feathers, and glass all over my bed and just everywhere. I looked down and there was a pigeon with no head and the cat just stood by it looking happy. What must have happened is that the pigeon must have flown through the window, imagine the pigeon flying through the window going oh my arm, I think its broken and then this cat just stares at you and youre like Oh fuck.
And it beheads you.
Anyway, that was fun, a rat-related story. Your turn.
Lets see… Kangaroos cant hop backwards.
Interesting. Ive got… Bacteria, the tiniest free living cells are so small that a single drop of liquid contains as many as 50 million of them. Thats interesting.
I think thats right. It is weird when you think about that. I cut my thumb yesterday when I was slicing a lemon and thats always the first thing that goes through my mind. Did this knife have like 10 million bacteria thats now in my bloodstream and Im going to die? Its always the first thing, I dont know why.
What else have we got?
Theres a town in Norway called Hell that freezes over almost every winter.
Wow, there are two postcodes for it in the area. Hell, Gods expedition it says on a sign at Hell station. Doesnt have much there, a railway station and a blues festival.
Well it needs a blues festival. Thats very important.
The national chicken council estimates that 1.25 billion wings will be eaten during todays Superbowl.
Billion? I think thats false. I think thats a little high. Are wings popular in Europe?
Not really, not like they are over there.
I dont think Americans can eat that many wings, I dont know if the Superbowl is that popular anywhere else. Its true?
Yeah its all over Google. Dubuque.
Yeah, it was in that paper the Dubuque Herald.
Thats a state in the middle of America so maybe that would make sense. I just saw a guy that tried to win a wings competition and just puked everywhere on this highlight show.
Oh so horrible, eating contests. I dont understand.
The upside down ketchup bottle earned $13million.
Wow, I can believe that. 13 million?
Its just putting it upside-down.
Well the tetrapack they have here, the pack that things come in made a ridiculous amount of money because they have the patent on it. Absurd amounts of money.
Ive got a really good one thats somewhat relevant to music. If humans were able to hear under 20hz, you would be able to hear your muscles moving. Thats freaky.
I like that. Do they say that some animals can hear that? Its cats that can hear high pitches isnt it?
No, dogs. Thats why you get dog whistles.
Of course, and the lower frequencies… Does anyone hear them?
I think you just feel them, I guess if you could hear them that low youd be walking like [imitates muscle noises]. Its like hearing your corduroy pants swish together but in your body.
It would be a pretty difficult existence wouldnt it?
I got a good one. Am I allowed to just keep going?
Yeah, carry on!
The man that had the longest beard in the world died when he broke his neck after accidentally stepping on it.
Thatll learn him!
Thats a good one, I should take note. My beard never gets that long.
I was just looking at a picture recently, youve been cultivating it. The picture for the European tour…
Oh when its covered in feathers?
Is it feathers?
Yeah but it kind of looks like a beard, that was the point.
Where did you have that taken?
That was a guy Dan Wilton, you know him?
He took it a while ago and I didnt put it in the shoot that he did but I liked that one and I set it aside, it was special. He did all these other ones for me that I put together for something else but I kept that one for a year and a half.
It makes a good background for the website.
Yeah its cool. The designers made it go crazy all out. You know what it was? Someone bought in some old… When youre stuffing dead animals, whats it called?
Taxidermy! They brought in some owls and some weird stuff and then this thing was almost like a boa but made out of eagle feathers. It was crazy! It was all dirty, I put it around my head and it just looks like im inside feathers.
Good, I like it! I owe you one dont I. [stalls] Thats not even a fact, its not worth writing. A cow has only a 1 in 17.42 million chance of becoming an NFL football that is used in the Superbowl. Why would you even write that?
Im sure the cow doesnt really want to be in the Superbowl.
Im sure its alright not being in the Superbowl.
You think that the cows parents were saying Oh you know Jeremiah? His skin was in the Superbowl.
I remember it from the 2002…
I bet you could do one Superbowl with just one cow, its not that big of a ball. I missed the Superbowl because I was on a plane.
You missed it?
I was flying home from Brazil. Apparently I missed nothing!
Apart from they threw it into their own half in the first bit didnt they?
They just kind of dropped the ball on the first play and then did nothing after that for the rest of the game.
The most exciting of finals.
I got another fun fact that the Red Hot Chili Peppers did not plug in their guitars during half-time.
Did they play this year?
Yeah with Bruno Mars.
Didnt know that. They didnt plug in their instruments at all?
I just heard this, I dont know if this is a real fact. Oh, its on Huffington Post! You know what, for the Superbowl youre playing in a stadium for 100,000 people, I kind of think that theres no real way to set up a monitor system thats going to work for trying to be in sync with another band and everything.
You may as well not bother.
Theres gotta be some crazy fact. I saw a picture of the tap water from the Sochi Olympics and it was like dark, yellow urine.
Apparently the hotels are not super awesome for the athletes and they dont have locks on the doors and all these crazy things. Its total insanity!
Theres a lot of shit going on there, lots of protests!
Theyve got their hands full.
Putins going on saying I think Elton John is a great guy. Its OK, I like gay people, its fine. I think he even said Some of my best friends are gay.
Thats a classic.
Warner Music collected over 2 million in royalties in 2008 for public usage of the Happy Birthday song.
Yes thats true. Whoever wrote that, its unbelievable. Theoretically youre not supposed to be able to sing it without paying like a penny.
You have to pay PRS? Whaaaaat? Your favourite song is probably your favourite because you associate it with an emotional event in your life.
Thats absolutely true, I agree with that. Thats kind of how everybody relates to all music. What were you doing when you heard this song? Like, my first slow dance was to Purple Rain. You just remember it.
I vividly remember records that I used to go out and dance to to start off with, theyll always stick in my head. Thats probably ingestion of other things as well but…
I have one for you. [Laughs] A ducks quack doesnt echo and no-one knows why.
[Laughs] Is that frequencies?
It says no-one knows! That goes hand in hand with a female ferret will die if she goes into heat and cannot find a mate.
Wow, I didnt know that.
Its pretty crazy.
None of the Beatles could read music.
I didnt know that. Your heartbeat changes and mimics the music you listen to.
If thats possible, some people would be dead!
If they listen to Gabba all the time.
I would trance all over.
These are quite good facts actually, flowers can grow faster by listening to music.
I did that experiment in middle school. Whether a plant would grow better listening to Beethoven or no music.
I dont remember, but I know that I definitely cheated. I just said that it happened! It was one of those things where I think I didnt do it and I needed to get it done in 4 days instead of a month.
Can you just fake that sort of thing? Theres so much more information than when I was at school.
If youre a middle school student you can probably fake it, if youre working as a professional you probably have to turn in real data.
Ive had quite a few now…
Lets see… Donald Duck comics were banned in Finland because he doesnt wear pants, in the original.
Thats great, thats a good fact. Barry Manilow didnt write his song called I write the songs.
[Laughs] Thats a good one because thats a song we used to listen to in my car when we were kids. We had an 8-track and we only had one 8-track, the one that came with the car and that was one of the like 10 songs on it. I heard that song a lot of times.
But he didnt write it. Leo Fender, inventor of the telecaster and stratocaster, could not play guitar.
Apparently so, interesting.
I need to find a better page. By raising your leg slowly and lying on your back, you will not sink in quicksand.
Thats an important one!
Thats a good one to remember for your next dinosaur movie.
Avocado is poisonous to birds.
Really? Thats a crazy fact. Avocado, produces better… If you chew gum while you peel onions itll keep you from crying.
Thats interesting, my girlfriend puts a teaspoon in her mouth when she chops onions and it completely works, she doesnt cry at all. I refuse to do that, maybe thats my stupidity. 3 US presidents have died on the 4th of July.
Wow, all assassinations?
It doesnt say. Just says that, its just fact.
Astronauts are not allowed to eat beans before they go into space because farting in the space suit will damage it.
I didnt know that. Theyre like Have you had beans for breakfast this morning? Yeah… Oh sorry, you cant come on.
Its not gonna happen this time.
I did warn you! The Beastie Boys is an acronym for Boys Entering Anarchistic Stages Towards Internal Excellence.
What? No, I dont believe that.
Thats what they say, it sounds like its made up to me.
They thought of it after like 10 years. A snail can sleep for 3 years.
3 Years? What does it do then?
I dont know. Donkeys kill more people than plane crashes.
How do we substantiate that?
They kill by getting kicked? Or just falling of the side?
It would be good to know, Im going to look it up.
The most common fact on every site is most lipstick contains fish scales.
I knew that, and crushed beetles as well apparently. It doesnt say why donkeys kill… Youre more likely to be killed by a champagne cork than by a spider.
I knew that one, it can have your eye out. Champagne is dangerous.
On average, 100 people choke to death on ballpoint pens every year.
Ahhh, on just the cap shooting down the throat or something?
It must be. In 1845, president Andrew Jacksons pet parrot was removed from his funeral for swearing. I think I might get off the death facts now.
Pearls melt in vinegar, and turtles can breathe through their butts.
Theres a whole YouTube video about the first one, Ill have to watch that.
Seeing that one video with the clam they do on fast feed and they put salt next to the clam and the whole thing just comes out after the salt. Its crazy because you never really see one out of its shell.
Clam eats salt? Ill have to look at that one too. Prince could play a dozen instruments before he was 16, that doesnt surprise me.
I can believe that. Llamas are born with an extra pair of fighting teeth that they use to bite off other llamas testicles.
What? Say that again.
Llamas are born with an extra pair of fighting teeth that they use to bite off other llamas testicles which makes them the only fertile male llama in the group.
That cant be right! What an interesting world.
A mantis shrimp can swing its claws so fast it boils the water and creates a flash of light. How does that even make sense? Some of these sound great. Honey doesnt spoil, you could feasibly have 3000 year old honey.
Do you know what the TR in a drum machine, as in a TR-808, stands for? Transistor Rhythm.
Thats probably really accurate. This site is crazy, its all about banana slugs. A banana slug can be 6-8 inches, the slugs erect penis can be just as long. Also, its penis emerges from its head. AND after sex, the banana slugs eat each others penises. AND they are also the mascot of UC Santa Cruz. Thats great!
That is the weirdest one.
Can you send me a link to that? … In 1956, a psychiatrist declared rocknroll a communicable disease.
[On the banana slugs link] Wow thats amazing, shaky piss… Thats going to have to go as the leader in the article, shaky piss.
This guys page, about 5 of them are about insect and bug penises. Theres a lot of them.
Bears are fat cunts. This is great, its like someones pissed and just ranting.
The brain named itself.
I dont know if this guy is 100% accurate…
I like that. I think they guy is rather obsessed.
Yeah… On game day, Cowboys Stadium uses more electricity than Liberia.
Wow! Thats crazy. Heres a good one The latin word for old lady is anus.
It is, thats true.
Completely blind people dont see blackness, they see nothing. This guy is ridiculous!
If you were to remove the space from all the atoms that up every person on earth, the entire world population could fit into an apple. What? On average, 5 in 10 people have some sort of fear of the dark.
I believe that. Its impossible to lick your elbow.
Without pushing your arm? Ive just managed to do it. I reckon I looked pretty good doing it as well. There are more than 1000 chemicals in a single cup of coffee. Of these, only 26 have been tested and half cause cancer in rats.
In coffee? Even though its just from a bean?
Thats really weird. Everything causes cancer in the entire world.
The average American sees 500 advertisements a day.
I believe that for sure.
5-sided oranges are grown in Japan for easier storage, that must be nonsense. And square watermelons.
Alright, lion tamers use chairs because lions are programmed to focus on one thing and attack it. The 4 prong of a chair make it flip out and it backs off.
Ive actually heard that before. Carrots were originally purple. I have seen purple carrots, in modern times.
Wow yeah, that makes sense I guess. They were grown in the ground, theyre most likely to take that colour arent they?
Ive never had one. AOL still makes $500million dollars a year from dial-up internet subscriptions.
Not possible, through dial-up? Where does dial-up happen?
It must be where theres no internet!
What happened to AOL?
Its owned by Time Warner now.
I was talking to someone about this the other day, they were like the biggest thing. They were huge! And now theyre just…
I think some people still have it for emails. Youre born with 300 bones by the time youre an adult, there are only 206 in the body.
Some worms will eat themselves if they cant find any food.
A species of earthworm in Australia grows up to 10 feet in length.
They have everything out of the norm in Australia, animal-wise.
Everything is just oversized.
All of them will kill you, its all poisonous or has gigantic teeth. Every day in the news, someone is bitten by a shark or alligator.
Thats often the lead story as well on the news.
It seems like a pretty sick country, its always shark attack never murder. Then the people dont even die, they just keep surfing with a missing limb.
With a missing foot?
Thats how positive everyone is.
Do you go out there quite a bit?
I do, I go every year.
How often do you come to Europe? You do more than one tour a year?
Yeah, it changes every year. 4 years ago I came every other weekend. Its like the stock market, it depends on how the US is doing. If the US is doing well I like to play at home because its close. If the US is like ah we hate dance music which happens every once in a while then I go to Europe all the time.
Now its quite good for you then, its booming over there.
Its really fun because its never been so good at home. I know a lot of DJs though that even if its great here they still want to live in Berlin and do the whole thing. I think its fun to play here.
Are there huge gigs coming? Are you playing pretty massive gigs over there now?
Yeah, bigger than the ones in Europe actually. Thats just because the number of people available to go out in LA is bigger than in somewhere like Manchester.
Yeah sure, you only get that sort of at the Warehouse Project and things like that.
Its on course for becoming the most popular music in America so if that happens we…
We wont be seeing you for quite a while!
You will still see me, theres gigs that you cannot replace. You need to play good shows and theyre not all here.
Youve got a lot lined up I see. South Africa, Spain, Turin, Portsmouth, the mighty Portsmouth, Brighton.
Im playing a lot of midweek shows too.
I shouldnt be rude about Portsmouth, sorry, I just support Southampton. And Bugged Out, In Motion, loads going on. Nice!
Lets do part 2, in 6 months or so, we can come armed with some pretty ridiculous facts. Lets pick it up next time you come over.
Ok, Ill be over there in February!
We can think of something else, I can imagine how boring these interviews are for you sometimes.
This is funny!
The idea behind these is to do something a bit more fun, rather than the same old questions.
Its good, thank you for this!
Lets finish on this one; The type of music you listen to affects the way you perceive the world.
That is possibly true, how could you ever prove it?
Its quite a nice premise though I think.
I like it. Lets say youre going to look at something, an art museum, your friend is like its a really cool thing but in the car you listen to some really depressing music. You might be like mehhhh. Or if youre going out and youve got like super, pumped-up, crazy song on the radio and everybodys just going crazy in the car, itll be a different experience.
I agree, good point. A good closer! Im gonna trawl through Bobby Viners mental mind now, his 30 weird facts. Theyre pretty odd.
Theyre good though.
Good to talk to you, see you on the 21st! Take care mate.
Thats awesome, thanks man!
Claude Von Stroke plays at Village Underground on 21st February.