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Hear Trent DJ
Trent will be playing at the Raves.com and Peace, Love & Beats sponsored event "Laid" in South Beach, Miami on Monday, March 8th at The Leslie Hotel. Click here for details.



























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.

Raves.com: What first made you want to be involved with music?

Trent Cantrelle: I am not sure really. Ever since I can remember music has always been a major part of my life.

When was the first time you heard electronic music?

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 it.

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 really is.

What made you decide to become a DJ?

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 dance music.

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 it?

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 been DJing?

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 now?

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 years.

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 a few.

How did you make the jump from DJing into producing?

Purchased an ASR-10 keyboard and started making tunes.

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?

Self taught!

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 produced?

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 the US.

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 online somewhere?

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 this label.

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




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