[Exclusive] A Chat with Dirtybird BBQ Chefs About 'Secret Ingredients'

May 16, 2017 -

Fadi AbuZaineh

Spring time brings us two of our favorite things. Warm weather, and the annual Dirtybird BBQ Tour! This year, the tour is already in full swing, with a new edition happening in fabulous Las Vegas for the first time. Another yearly tradition of the BBQ tour is the compilation of their latest and greatest hits, with this edition properly titled 'Secret Ingredients.' Featuring tracks from Dirtybird all-stars and newcomers alike, the amount of secret ingredients thrown in the mix is sure satisfy your seemingly endless hunger for house music.

We had the splendid chance to catch up with some of the artists releasing music on this year's compilation, more specifically Wood Holly, Tekla, Seumas Norv and GAWP. Besides Wood Holly, these artists are having their music featured on the label for the first time!

Let's take a look into how this all came to be, from each of their perspectives:

If this is your first release on the label, how did you get a track signed to the Dirtybird BBQ Compilation? Can you describe the process?

GAWP: Hope you've got some popcorn and a comfy seat!

So, last summer I made my GAWP debut playing at Beat Herder Festival in the UK, and I was stoked to be on the same lineup as so many of my favourite DJs and producers. However, I wasn’t playing the same stage as the Dirtybird guys, they were all playing for the Doorly and Friends line up in a different area…

So once I’d finished my set, I headed straight over to the back of that stage, taking a few USB sticks loaded with my tracks… the security wouldn't let me in, as each stage had a different wristband… but I managed to blag my way past and get to the artist area, where I saw my old mate Doorly.

I was excited to finally be amongst the people I have had admired in the music industry for years, and I guess at this point most producers who are huge fans of the label would have jumped at the opportunity to hand over their fresh, unsigned music, or even kiss the Claudefather, which I suppose was my original plan too… But as I've been involved in the industry a while, and these guys head up the only label in the world I wanted to get a record on, I played it cool - I understand there’s a time and a place. Although i did kick myself when i left… I really wanted a kiss!

So i guess this is how I actually got the track signed… I went back to the studio and grafted.

I’d been sending demos to Dirtybird for a while… 3 months had passed while I just kept making beats, listening to the Birdhouse Show, listening to other artists for influence, playing around with all my crazy ideas, hoping I was crafting a sound they would like. I eventually emailed a folder of tracks over to the guys, but I didn't hear anything back for what seemed like a very long time. Then, on New Year’s Day, after playing a gig in Berlin, I woke up to an email saying…

Greetings GAWP,

Thanks for sending in your demo ‘Prime Society’. Congrats, we’d love to sign your release!


Seumas Norv: Yes, this is my first track on a record label.

When I finished my demo, I was almost sure that they might be interested in Dirtybird, so I sent them my exclusive demo, loading it on their demo dropbox. A few weeks later I got their answer and they told me that the track was interesting, but had to be tested, played in front of the audience by Claude VonStroke. It's normal for this to happen, rightly they want to see how people react. After a few days, I received the confirmation that the track was taken and I was too happy!! I signed the contract with them and a few days later, Deron came back to me and asked if I was pleased that "Wuvulu" was inserted in the BBQ vinyl sampler. For me it was a further gift and unexpected surprise. I love Dirtybird and their sound, I'm proud of being part of their family and I'm sure we could keep doing so many great things together, my sound is very good for this label!

What first drew you to the Dirtybird sound?

Tekla: The first Dirtybird track I remember hearing was Style Of Eye - The Big Kazoo and it wasn't like anything else I had heard at that point. It's still in my playlist and the Dirtybird sound always stuck with me from then!


Wood Holly: I think the hip hop influence is what drew me in at first. I was really into the hip hop beats coming out of the Bay Area at the time. Dirtybird sounded like hyphy house and techno.


Seumas Norv: Dirtybird has a different sound from everything and everyone. It's almost impossible not to recognize their song, it's like a trademark! Their sound would be recognized between 1000, and is the one that best reflects my taste. That's why I feel so close. The Beat, the way the vocals are structured, the pauses, restarts and percussion make their songs real jewels. As it sounds simple to build at first ear, Dirtybird's sound is very complex and if you enter too much or less the ingredient, the song will not be so cool.

What does Dirtybird and releasing a track with them mean to you?

GAWP: A few years ago I set out to try and create a track they would like, but nothing seemed to hit the spot. This has been a game of patience and persistence for me… many late studio nights where I occasionally doubted my work, but Dirtybird was the leading label and only avenue for my inspiration. In fact, I bought the ‘Players’ T shirt and said to myself, “I'm not wearing this until i get signed.” It was unworn in my car for a long time… Then when I received the good news, I put it on, and, surprise surprise, the studio months had caught up with me and it didn’t fit! The entire music, ethos, fans, family, parties and culture of Dirtybird is all so cool to me… The getting signed part will sink in eventually!


Tekla: Dirtybird has influenced me a lot over the years, both as a DJ and Producer. So to have a release on there it a big deal for me!


Seumas Norv: Releasing my first track on Dirtybird for me is really very important! A great world label and above all with lots of quality and professionalism, for me is an honor and I hope to continue working with them, as I found myself very well. I was excited by their way of working, quick, precise and organized, a great label from every point of view. The thing I like most about is also releasing this vinyl track, I'm really happy since I'm a vinyl lover!


Wood Holly: I think Dirtybird is the best dance music label in the world. It was my number one goal for 5 years to be on Dirtybird. Feels good man.

Dirtybird BBQ: Secret Ingredients is set to release on May 19th. Pre-order your copy here.

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