Stop the time and indulge in the groove.
As over-saturated as the music world has been for the past years, there is a space at the crossroads of house, dance and rap that still deserves more attention. Fortunately for our ears (and hips), Channel Tres is here to scratch that itch with what he titled “Compton house” – a smooth-like-butter blend of nostalgic Chicago house with Detroit techno and, of course, laidback West Coast rap. Effortlessly spilling his distinctly baritone vocals over tantalising grooves, Tres quickly became the dancefloor’s favourite, and is here to stay. From his grandmother’s garage to sold out shows one thing remains constant – Channel’s process of constant exploration and doing what he truly loves. We caught the artist in the midst of his first headline tour to chat about his forthcoming album “Real Cultural Shit” , as the multitudes of Channel Tres come together to what’s truly important: the here and the now.
Hey! How are you today?
Good thanks, have been pretty busy.
Looks like it! Just going to jump right into it – could you please tell me a bit more about you upcoming project “Real Cultural Shit”? What does culture mean to you?
It’s a project about me, about having moments with people. For example, now I’m on tour and get to build a certain culture of things we like with people around me. Certain things we laugh about or pay attention to, certain things we don’t like. This is what real cultural shit is for me at this specific time. This project is just going into different perspectives in my life and what was real to me at certain points in my life. I started working on it like a year and a half ago, maybe two.
Exciting! How is the tour going?
It’s my first proper North American tour, it’s going great. First time having my own bus, my own crew. I love everybody who is on tour with me right now and we’ve been friends for a while. I made some new friends, too. It’s been interesting to see a show that is fully dedicated to Channel Tres, you know? Most of the time when you’re touring or doing a festival, you’re presenting yourself to people and don’t really know what to expect. Now it’s been a consistent thing of what to expect from the tour, which is very nice. Everybody loves the show, some fans know the words.
What do you think is special about performing live for you and your fans?
Whatever is going on in your life, for that hour or two that you’re with me, I just want you to let go, to move your body, to have a good time.
Could you take me back to how Channel Tres was born?
Channel Tres as a project has only been like four or five years. I started in Compton in my grandma’s house, just playing drums in the garage. Then it progressed to me directing choir at school. At 12, I started making beats, and putting my voice on records at around 18. It’s just been a development and an exploration since then. I worked with other artists, was putting myself in different positions. I got to a certain point in my career when I realised I wanted to give people a full experience. Not just beats but a full artist project. That’s how Channel Tres came about.
Within that full experience, how do you forge such a unique sound?
Probably just me being a Gemini, haha. I like a little bit of everything. I dive into different genres and subjects, I’m just someone who likes to explore. With music, it just so happens that it’s a medium where I can bridge all those gaps.
Sounds like music was the natural path.
I wanted to play football and basketball, just do sports. I wanted to be a teacher. It was kind of all dependent on a girl I was dating at the time, haha. Music was the one thing that stuck, along with dance and writing. Just art in general.
How would you say it is reflected your creative process?
Most of my creative process just comes from living life and writing poetry. Taking in the experiences. A lot of freestyling and seeing what I want to talk about. Sometimes the process is really fast and it just hits. Other times it’s a little bit slower, you have an idea that’s been floating around for a year or two, and now you can finally accomplish it. A lot of it is by working out, running, sometimes sitting in silence. Then a lot of self-doubt for a couple of weeks, and then you use that self-doubt to motivate you and go harder. It’s just a continuous exploration.
Self-care seems to be so integral but it isn’t talked about much, especially in the music industry.
Success is nothing without being healthy to sustain it.
Speaking of success, would you say there’s been a big shift since Channel Tres came about? It hasn’t been that long, but very eventful.
I guess it may seem fast, but I’ve been working for a long time. It’s always a shift. Shifts come and they go. You’re ready for them and you just kind of go through them. I’m still very chill and laidback, I just love making music. In my head, I don’t see a big shift. I’m just doing what I love to do. I just take it one day at a time.
Apart from going with the flow, what are your aspirations for the future?
Maybe some Lenny Kravitz shit, just building houses. Still making music, maybe get an endorsement from some cool brand. I’ll see where life takes me.
What do you want your listeners to take away from your music?
I don’t want them to listen to it in any particular way. I just want them to take it for what it is. I want to live in people’s homes, I want to live in people’s music collections forever.
And finally, is there anything journalists haven’t asked you before but should?
I think they should ask questions more relevant to the person you are now.
So who are you now?
Hm, I don’t know. I’m constantly on the road, I’m just traveling.