Channel Tres is that groovy 1979 set at The Warehouse or the sweaty all-nighter at London's Hacienda Nightclub in the 80s. The young Compton-bred producer is bringing house music back to it's truest form—a dance fusion of raw funk, disco, and R&B.
House music's humble beginnings can be traced back to the late 1970s. It was house music's early innovator Frankie Knuckles splicing tape edits of 70s R&B legends like Martin Circus and Chakka Khan that reverberated off the warehouse walls that created a genre that would last decades.
In more recent years, the newer acts like Daft Punk, Avicii, and Calvin Harris began integrating new production techniques and even introducing sub-genres to the once bohemian sound. In contrast, warriors like Carl Cox, Doc Martin, and Claude VonStroke kept that original Chicago and Detroit styles alive across underground clubs and Ibiza pool parties. The modern state of house music has become so diluted by sub-genres that it's hard to even know what defines the genre anymore. And that's where Channel Tres comes in.
Channel Tres is a passionate musician with an endearing ambition for creating soulful music meant to move people at their core. EARMILK had the chance to speak with the budding producer whose career has quickly taken off, yet he has remained focused heads down in the studio.
The now Los Angeles-based producer first released his debut EP, aptly titled 'EP', in 2018 and in less than a year his deep hitting house sound and even deeper hitting baritone vocals quickly resonated with fans across the globe. But he is anything but new to the music scene. He shared, "I've always loved dance music and weird sounds since I was just 10 years old. I mean, I wasn't producing music or shit back then but I was always writing songs." Channel Tres went on to study music in college, while DJing on the side and eventually going on to finding work in various studios songwriting, producing beats and editing music for various artists across the U.S. He was unknowingly using this time to perfect his individual skills at writing lyrics, vocal recording beat making until the time finally came for him to take his future into his own hands.
"I was working for a lot of people, making beats but it wasn't making me the money it should have, so I decided to take the power back in my old hands," explains Channel Tres. " I would work on 50 beats a day and never even know if they would be placed or I would ever get paid."
So he decided to embark on a new journey. As I spoke with him, the confidence in his voice portrayed a person who never wallowed in self-doubt for too long. This was a person too busy chasing a dream to let himself be slowed down. It was clear if an obstacle presented itself, he would adjust accordingly but always moving forward.
Channel Tres had already spent numerous years working across various aspects of the music industry -either on other artists tours or in the studio. This unique experience was something he knew right away could be used to his advantage. "I have more power and leverage in my own situation because I can write, play, and produce my own music, which means I don't have to wait for anyone else."
I believe this unique skill set is what helped the artist circumvent the obstacles that keep many aspiring musicians from breaking through to that next level.
Right away, he began uploading new music to Soundcloud, syncing up with fast-rising acts like Duckwrth, getting praise from legends like Elton John on Beats1, and then signing to LA-based record label Godmode. It's been quite a journey for Channel Tres, though the move to the center stage was quick, it took years in the making.
So what's so easily appealing to Channel Tres music that fans have been so quick to connect with? There's a strange addictiveness to his music. Tracks like "Controller" and "Glide" have a subtle seduction hidden in the slow and deep-hitting tempo and bass. While your body is being unknowingly strung up like a puppet by the funky breaks, a deep baritone voice comes whispering in to finish the hypnotization. Everything you do next is entirely in the hands of Channel Tres. He can get you to bop your head, drop low, clap your hands, sign your house away, basically anything. Pure R&B and funk is the language to the soul and it's a language the Channel Tres speaks fluently.
A track like "Jet Black" is a polished blend of modern Anderson .Paak hip-hop with classic London acid house styles. It's funky but still brings a deep hitting minimal boom that strikes you right in the chest. It's appealing to any mood while still having enough groove to be dance floor ready.
"Jet Black is a character I invented in college, I gave him the name from Disney's The Famous Jett Jackson. Just a regular high school kid but a superhero on the side. While I was in school I would walk around and felt like I too had this alter ego of knowing that I could make the kind of music that would make you fall in love with me. So I created a character for it." Channel Tres
One of the most engrossing aspects of Channel Tres' songwriting arsenal is his ability to effortlessly blend so many different layers of sound. At any moment there could be a sexy bassline, a jazzy flute, a funky synth melody, or more. His tracks are beautifully textured but absent from any of the unnecessary bells and whistles that riddle many modern tech-house tracks.
Electronic music is continuing to dominate the industry across the board. It's an exciting time for the ever-evolving genre which is why earnest producers like Channel Tres creating music from the heart is so important right now. He left us with a final sentiment; "Dance music is at a crazy resurgence and I'm just happy to be a part of it, I still drop some Trap but I'm really just glad to be bringing that James Brown shit that's sadly not here anymore." Truer words have never been spoken.
Channel Tres just finished a recent North American tour in support of Vince Staples but check out the remainder of his own solo dates below:
05-11 Mayer, AZ – FORM: Arcosanti
05-12 Bakersfield, CA – Lightning in a Bottle 2019
05-17 Sainte-Therese, Quebec – Santa Teresa Festival
05-19 Cambridge, MA – Sonia’s
05-21 Brooklyn, NY – Elsewhere
05-22 Washington, DC – Flash
05-26 Detroit, MI – Movement Festival