Trent is one of the next generation of electronic music stars on the rise.
Without any formal musical training (unless
you count hours of listening to the radio,
playing his parents records and taping
MTV with a hand held tape recorder) he's
made a name for himself as a ultra-talented
DJ and producer, with a successful music
industry career propelling him along as
well. Born December 15th, 1977 in Nawlins,
Louisiana, Trent was vibing at clubs and
raves when he was just 15. It's no wonder
that this early and long lived passion
for music, along with a supreme dedication
to learn the art of DJing and production,
is now coming of age with his latest release
just out on Whoop records, it cajun style
vocals a tribute to his New Orleans past.
It was at a chance meeting in a smoky
Los Angeles club that hooked us up with
Trent and his New Orleans crew for our
upcoming Raves.com party in Miami (see
sidebar at left for details) and we got
the chance to talk to him via email to
find out a little bit more about what
shot Trent into orbit, from opening to
Oakenfold to his own record label, his
views on the club scene and music industry
in the US, and what's on his musical horizon.
first made you want to be involved with
Trent Cantrelle: I
am not sure really. Ever since I can remember
music has always been a major part of
When was the first time you heard
My mom's disco records.
What was the first rave or club
that you went to and what was it like?
First rave was around 1992 in some old
building that was still standing because
the termites were holding hands. I remember
it being very dark and very loud. The
whole illegal feel and vibe was amazing.
First club was around the same time. I
was not old enough to get in but I still
did. I remember just standing by the DJ
booth watching and trying to spot what
records he was playing. I would keep a
little pad in my pocket to jot them down
then go and try to find the tunes. I was
working in a teen club at the time, and
I wanted to play what the bigger clubs
were playing. The kids had no idea what
they were listening to, but they liked
What prompted you to move from the
last place you lived (New Orleans?) to
Los Angeles? Have you lived anywhere else?
A number of reasons actually. I hated
leaving New Orleans, but I was feeling
very tapped out. It is an amazing city,
but there is no industry for media of
any sort. I wanted to be involved in more
than just DJing, so I decided to move
out West. Los Angeles is the center of
the world for media and entertainment,
so what better place!
What's the best thing about living
in Los Angeles?
The girls! And also working for Universal
Music in the business side of things.
I have always wanted to work for a major
label to learn how crazy this industry
What made you decide to become a
Ever since I can remember I wanted to
DJ. Around 1991 I contacted this guy who
worked at a teen club in my area. So basically
started going help him out in any way
possible. He had his own mobile DJ business
as well. I started DJing everything from
teen clubs to weddings, to high school
dances, etc. It was the teen club that
I favored most because it was the only
place I could really get away with playing
How did you learn to DJ?
Taught myself. I purchased 1 Technics 1200 turntable and would practice mixing with that and a tape deck.
To someone who's never been able
to hear you DJ, how would you describe
A lot of fun! I do not have a really
set style. It ranges between progressive,
tribal, house, tech, and sometimes breaks.
I am a club DJ by heart so whatever works
the crowd at that time I go with. If the
music is good, then chances are I will
spin it. I always try to play music that
will make people have a good time and
shake their asses.
How did you get turned on to (or
evolve to) that kind of music?
Working consistently I would say. I have had club residencies ever since I can remember. I love to play long long hours and really make a ride out of it. In that time I cover a lot of ground so who knows what they will hear that night. Every music has its time and place, and I always try to figure out what is best for that moment.
What is one of the wildest things
that's ever happened to you while you've
Probably when one of the late night clubs I was DJing got raided. The cop made me turn off the music and get on the mic to talk to the crowd. What the hell do you say to a crowd when all the lights kick on and cops are swarming? It was not fun I know that. They were making me tell everyone to be calm and stay put etc. So I started telling jokes and pissed the cops off pretty bad. After that they did not want me to talk any more.
Did anything ever happen that made
you consider quitting DJing forever?
Is there one DJ gig that stands out
as the biggest or best?
Yes, it was the time I opened for Oakenfold the night before Superbowl at the State Palace Theater in New Orleans. It was also Mardi Gras so the vibe and energy was amazing. The crowd was about 3000 deep. Paul always draws an army of people when he plays, so it was great to open right before him. Everything just worked!
Do you ever get hit on while your
DJing? What do you do when it happens?
Ummm yeah, and it is one of the best
perks! Well depending on the girl, I usually
eat it up :)
Is there a pick-up line that might
work on you?
"So, what are you doing after?"
What do you think of the state of
the club scene in the US and abroad right
That's a tricky question. The dance scene is changing every day it seems. Here in the US I believe the government has slacked off a bit in its fight to end dance culture. I think that hurt this country really bad. The average person not into the scene has a really bad image of electronic music. It is really sad that a country that is losing the war on drugs try's to win in the publics eye by stopping an entire culture.
Dance music in general has taken a pretty big hit financially as well. Downloading has shut plenty of small labels down because of lack of record sales. I also have a small label that we put to sleep because of this reason. With the economy and the world being on edge about politics, people are just not spending money like they did a few years ago, and I do not blame them.
I personally think dance music is just
going through a cycle that it needs to
go through. I also know that dance music
is here to stay as a form of music. You
hear all this talk about the scene being
over, and I think this is the total opposite.
I mean, when do you turn on the TV and
not hear electronic music? It is all around
us and part of our every day lives. Plus
I still see more and more people discovering
dance music for the first time. Here in
LA things seem to be going really well.
Also, back in New Orleans more DJs and
shows are happening now more than ever.
I also hear how worldwide other countries
are having this huge surge in the dance
culture. I think there are some really
cool things that will happen within the
dance scene as a whole in the next coming
Living in New Orleans, you surely
felt the effect of the Crackhouse law
- and especially because of being involved
with Disco Donnie. How would you describe
how that law effected you and scene you
were involved in?
That was a pretty crazy I must say.
Around that time I was hosting a very
successful night called TILT in downtown
New Orleans. Once word of the case against
Donnie got out, the venue we were using
decided our music and weekly was too much
of a risk to hold. Shortly after, Donnie
approached me about working with him as
resident. When The State Palace was under
such pressure from the government, Donnie
then started holding weeklies at all the
top venues in New Orleans such as House
of Blues, Club 735, and Ampersand just
to name a few. Most people would probably
run and hide if the government came after
them, but not Donnie. He came back swinging!
The weekly events became huge nights in
New Orleans, seeing some of the most amazing
talent from across the globe. All this
time, he was not sure if he was going
to spend the rest of his life in jail
or not. The charges against him and The
State Palace were just absurd. It was
all over the news, not to mention how
much national and international attention
this case received. It was the first ever
of its kind. How these guys in office
came up with the idea of using "The Crackhouse
Law" to fight the dance scene is beyond
me. Things have come back around full
swing in New Orleans though, and even
stronger than ever.
What are a few of your current favorite
records and artists?
Some artists that I am really digging at the moment are Paul Hamill and Phil Johnston (Psycatron), Swtich, Lee Cabrera, Planet Funk, Dean Coleman, D Ramirez, Scumfrog, and many more.
What about a few all-time favorites,
ones that influence you as a producer?
There are way too many to name. I have
been influenced by so many artists over
my life it is impossible to name just
How did you make the jump from DJing
Purchased an ASR-10 keyboard and started
What kind of software and hardware
to you use?
I use pro-tools mainly with a bunch
of outboard synths. My favorites are the
Roland SH 101, Juno 106, and the Nord
Lead 2. I can pretty much do anything
with these 3 pieces of gear. I think it
is more worthwhile to learn as much as
you can about a few pieces of gear, then
having tons of pieces of gear and only
knowing a little about each one.
How did you learn to use it?
How did you get to remix "Nrvous"?
When I was living in London for a summer
in 2000, I met up with the owner of ADSR
records Phil Wyard. After a night in the
pub we became friends and kept in touch.
I saw him again at the next WMC and gave
him a copy of this single I had been working
on. After hearing it he called me up to
offer me a remix for his next release
which was the song "Nrvous" by Echo. This
was my first ever remix for a UK label
so I was very stoked to say the least.
Was that the first track or remix
of yours that was ever released?
No, I had released 2 records in the US prior to the "Nrvous" remix.
What other remixes/tracks have you
My very first record was a breakbeat
song called "Soultrip". I do not really
have much to say about this song other
than I made it only 2 weeks after buying
my first piece of gear. My second record
was a song I did called "The Ruler" under
the name Indieo. I also did a remix of
Paul Hamill "Be You" for Maelstrom UK,
that was also released on my label in
Your latest release is just out
on Whoop Records (UK)... tell us about
it. Is it 100% your own production? How
would you describe the track - why should
a DJ buy it and play it?
Well, I wrote this song a couple years
ago actually and sat on it for a while.
At the time I wanted to do a song that
represented New Orleans in some way. I
love New Orleans music so much, and it
has influenced me in a such a big way.
New Orleans is all about having a good
time and partying. The song features a
Creole style vocal with plenty of drum
madness and late night grooves. Anyone
from New Orleans that hears the vocal
will know it is Cajun style. I wonder
what people from other parts think about
the vocal? Once I wrote the song I felt
it needed a little more so I got a good
friend and wicked producer from New Orleans,
The Madd Wikkid, to lay down a few sounds.
He came up with some acidy bleeps and
a piano line that I later chopped up to
fit the track. Needless to say it worked
well and made the tune complete. The support
from DJ's has been excellent as well !
Do you have any future releases
in the works right now?
Well, I do have another 3 singles coming out on Whoop! in the near future. These are still in the works.
I also have a remix I did of a song by Pete Lazonby called "Possessed". This should see the light of day sometime this year.
Plus I am starting to get a few really sweet remix offers, but I cant say who just yet ;)
Do you have a web site or any of
your music or mixes that people can hear
Yeah, I have a site at www.trentcantrelle.com.
It is under construction at the present
moment but should be back up very soon!
You can also check out www.whoop.co.uk
for any news related to my releases for
What about events coming up where
people can hear you DJ?
I am heading back to New Orleans for
Mardi Gras to play Zoolu 10 for Disco
Donnie. This is one of the biggest events
in the country, and being the 10th one
it should be amazing! I am also going
to be in Miami for the WMC and will be
playing the "Laid" party at the Leslie
Hotel on ocean. Should be a blast!
What do you want to accomplish with
all that you do?
To see how far I can take it.
Thanks Trent! We'll be there listening!!
-- interview by Jennifer Warner