Is West Coast House A Sign of Pivot in Dance Music?

The crew a Mixmag recently pulled out the ol’ voting booths and looks on the DJ Mag Top 100 and RA Poll to present a new type of fan vote. Dubbing the ‘label of the decade’ some months of promo really built the hype on this one. Matched up against Euro heavyweights and Detroit legends who topped the bill? None other than Dirtybird, feel-good house innovators from Nor Cal took the crown. This San Francisco-based crew has stormed the world with a unique original sound that some could even call a genre.

It’s a bold statement when the most influential label of the last ten years comes from a town that some could argue is second tier for techno and house. Though the Bay Area centerpiece subtly executed some of America’s most iconic raves during electronic’s stateside resurgence in the 90’s; San Francisco doesn’t necessarily strike as a hotbed for main stage talent. Founder Claude Von Stroke and his tight knit team of house fanatics are changing this game by defining the sound for their city and influencing dance floors across the globe.

Quite honestly their spot at the top first case as a surprise. Measured up against the German quiver of Berghain local labels, UK’s dance prince’s of the Hot Creation team, electronic innovators like R&S, and even commercial dance staples like Defected, do they compare? After split second to consider this blasphemy, the answer is a resounding hell yes. Though these others have undoubtedly made their name on dance, none have the grassroots connecting team Dirtybird has used to take the dance floor disciples to borderline cult status.

Influenced by the streets of San Francisco, this label built a sound on a community, not the other way around. Fueled by a passion for house and an intimate relationship with hip hop, the Dirtybird crew was the first to give these genres and elegant relationship on the dance floor. Not interested in the glitz or glamor of club culture, the sound parallels a diverse vibe of inclusion. What started as a grill and a sound system in the local park, has become a global lifestyle of a casual approach to house music. Dirtybird is definitely more than a number one label, they’re a sustainable way of life for dance music.

In an industry stifled by a rigid approach to nightlight, the new wave of crews like Dirtybird has stripped the dress code and made it all about the music. This refreshing take on club culture goes back to the roots of rave. Equality on the dance floor and immersion in the music, leaders like Claude and team are ushering in the next phase of dance evolution.