Tune into Channel Tres: Channel Tres looks to be the latest in an illustrious line of talented souls that have gotten their start in Compton and then kept on rising. With his blend of house and hip-hop, and armed with recent singles “Acid in My Blood” and “Ganzfeld Experiment,” Tres has found himself in the eyeline of the likes of Tyler, the Creator, and he earned himself a slot at this year’s Coachella Festival.
Tres got his start in music playing drums in church when he was 5 years old.
“Talent shows in elementary school, too,” he says. “And then I made my first beats at like 12. I fell in love with producing, and then it was something I did on and off throughout high school, but when I turned 18, I took it more seriously. I started honing in on it, at my school, as a producer. When I turned 20, I went to college to study music. I started making a bunch of stuff. Once I left college, I moved back to L.A. and started working, producing for different artists. In about 2018, I put out my first official song as Channel Tres, and then that’s when I really started getting serious as an artist.”
The name is a reference to “channel three,” the location reserved for video games on the young artist’s TV.
“Channel Tres is something I made up because we used to play the PlayStation and video games, and we had to plug it up to channel three,” he says. “That kinda represented to me tapping into another world or a different thing that we’re normally programmed to. Three has always been a number of significance in my life. I love triangles, I love trio bands. It’s a symbol I see when I feel like angels are talking to me.”
His sound can be described as a blend of house and hip-hop, but there’s much more to it than that.
“Hip-hop and house,” he says. “Also funk – George Clinton. Just jazz, gospel – there are a lot of influences there. First it was hip-hop. I grew up in Compton, so I grew up on Battlecat, Dr. Dre – everything you listen to when you’re from California in that area. Ice Cube. I stayed with my great-grandmother, so gospel music and oldies were playing constantly.”
Tres says that Compton has had an influence on his music, though more lyrically than sonically.
“Just the things I talk about and different things I reference in music,” he says. “Lo-riders, and I had a skate crew growing up so we’d skate all the time. That’s when I got into Pharrell Williams, N.E.R.D. Hanging out with my homeboys and stuff.”
His stock has risen so high that he recently became the first artist to do an official remix of a Tyler, the Creator song – EARFQUAKE.
“That just came about by being in the scene in L.A.,” Tres says. “He just reached out. I think one of his people that worked for him suggested it and he was cool with it. I didn’t really get feedback – it just came out. About a year later, he ended up getting one of my songs for a project, and we met up then. It was a great vibe – he’s really cool.”
Meanwhile, Tres describes his recent Coachella experience as “phenomenal.”
“It was really great because I remember going to Coachella in like 2016, just going with a friend, and it seemed so far-fetched to be on a stage like that and be performing there,” he says. “I made a goal when I went in 2016 that I was going to be playing that festival one day. It was really nice to see something I thought about, dreamed of and worked for, come to fruition. I was very surprised at how many people showed up to my set. It was definitely a great experience. You can’t really tell how many people are a fan of you via social media, and just whenever I go out, a lot of people show up, so it’s always a great vibe to know that real life is still popping.”
The rapper is hoping to carry that momentum into his own tour this year, as he prepares to hit the road.
“This is my first headline tour of North America so creatively I’m in a very good place or exercising more ideas I’ve been wanting to exercise and different ideas I’ve had,” he says. “Different compositions with the music – that’ll be really fun to try out. See how many people show up for me, and get to know some of my fans and things like that. Come and see.”
The three recent singles point to the fact that there’s an album on the way and, as we speak to Tres, he tells us that he had just left the studio. He’s hard at it, and we’ll hear some of the songs during the tour.
“I think the overriding theme is about maturity and growth, dancing, and being who you want to be,” he says. “The title is Real Cultural Shit, and for me that is about where I came from. Everybody has a different experience in life, and whatever is real to you is real to you. My culture and my family is, we like backyard parties, we like dominoes, we like barbecuing. We listen to oldies all day, and that’s what’s cultural to me. Skateboarding and dancing. So that’s real to me and it’s really about accepting where I’m from and accepting my realities, accepting who I was growing up and accepting my life now.”
There’s always a new hip-hop artist ready to break in L.A., and Channel Tres stands a solid chance. He’s going to be releasing more content this year, doing his shows, and then we’ll just have to wait and hope.
Tune into Channel Tres: Channel Tres’ “Just Can’t Get Enough” single is out now. The Real Cultural Shit album is out in the fall. He performs on Tuesday, December 6 and Wednesday, December 7 at the Fonda Theatre.
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