Trent Cantrelle Interview & Exclusive Mix

*written by A’Damaged Pro for Electronica Life

The Voodoo Music & Art Experience is poised to take over New Orleans this weekend. This means Halloween Weekend will be getting a supercharged influx of additional revelers and become an entirely different beast altogether. For some, Voodoo represents a yearly ritual to indulge one’s seasonal fantasies and musical inclinations. The sights, the sounds, and the journey are all part of the Voodoo Experience. For one of our “Spotlight Artists,” the journey is just a little bit sweeter than most. I caught up with Trent Cantrelle to get the inside scoop about his style, his sound, and the emergence of the “Sounds Like” empire.

A’Damaged Pro – Where did you grow up?

Trent Cantrelle – Born and raised in New Orleans Louisiana.

A’Damaged Pro – What were your earliest musical influences?

Trent Cantrelle – Everyone from Coltrane to Suicidal Tendencies. I grew up listening to a lot of 80’s music when MTV actually played videos. Anything with an electronic flare always caught my attention. In the late 80’s I discovered acid house and rave. Joey Beltram was probably one of my first introductions to the world of techno and rave.

A’Damaged Pro – What’s your fondest musical memory from growing up?

Trent Cantrelle – Growing up on the streets of New Orleans. Every corner you turn, every alley you walk down, there is music being played or performed.

A’Damaged Pro – Do you enjoy producing or DJing more?

Trent Cantrelle – DJing hands down. I honestly only started making music in the late 90’s to get more DJ gigs. The satisfaction from DJing vs producing is rather different. As much as I love spending time in the studio coming up with new sounds and material, there is nothing like spending 4, 5, or 10 hours behind decks telling a story through music.

A’Damaged Pro – Was there ever a time, when you were just starting out, that you almost gave up? If so, what pulled you through the hard times?

Trent Cantrelle – Yes all the time. But not so much when I started out because I never intended to make a career out of it. It was just something I did for the love. Every detail about DJing, from the gear to the music enamored me. It was not until I was way into my “career” as a DJ that times got tough. I feel as if I have started my career over 5 times. I feel lucky to be able to make a living doing this. Growing up, some of the biggest most influential artists I looked up to no longer work in the industry. I think being able to adapt without selling my soul has kept me in this business full time. At the end of the day, its the sheer desire and passion for DJing that keeps me going. I think in order to keep going in any tough business requires this drive.

A’Damaged Pro – What is the most rewarding part of artist life? Most challenging part?

Trent Cantrelle – The most rewarding part is being able to actually do what I love for a living. My mother always told me “find what it is I love to do, then figure out how to make money at it.” Most challenging part is keeping it as a career.

A’Damaged Pro – How did you become affiliated with the Electronic Music Alliance (EMA)? What potential did you originally see in the EMA?

Trent Cantrelle – I have been involved since the beginning. I think what Janine Jordan is doing by combining the love of the scene with such a good cause is admirable.

A’Damaged Pro – You’re involved with the “Sounds-Like” event series in L.A. How did the concept originate and what would you credit to its rise in popularity over the years?

Trent Cantrelle – It originated in 2008 at club Avalon actually. It was a series of events we did to try and push a newer more underground sound that was coming out as EDM was on the rise. Some of the first Sounds Like events featured Booka Shade, Droog, and Lee Foss. After leaving my residency at Avalon I decided to put the Sounds Like parties on hold for a while and focus more on production and touring. With the rise of EDM sweeping the US over the last few years I started to feel compelled to relaunch the Sounds Like brand as a middle finger to the bottle service and champagne spraying type nights dominating Los Angeles. I partnered with Kim Roussel, from the venue Cinnepace (Dim Mak Studios), to relaunch the event as a weekly terrace party on the venues outdoor smoking patio. We converted the room into a mini “space terrace” style room with an close replica of the DC-10 patio DJ booth. The terrace parties were an instant success and have lead to everything we are doing today.

A’Damaged Pro – You played at Beta Nightclub, in Denver, not too long back. I heard you had some of your old-school homies there to support you. Any insights?

Trent Cantrelle – I absolutely love club Beta in Denver. Its one of the few clubs in the nation that is run by absolute professionals, that are passionate for the music. From the owners, the managers, the bookers and so on, all fans of dance music. Every detail of the club is looked after by Mike McCray, a veteran of the Denver scene. So many clubs these days are owned by people who don’t give two shits about the type of entertainment they are pushing, and it usually shows.

A’Damaged Pro – Where did you seek your inspiration for your exclusive “Voodoo Mix 2014?”

Trent Cantrelle – I wanted to include a little variety in this mix, much like how I approach a festival set. There is no time to tell a real story with only 1 hour at a festival, so I try to tell the story as if it were summed up like a movie preview.

A’Damaged Pro – By Nola standards, you’ll always be a local. How does it feel whenever you trek back to “the 504?”

Trent Cantrelle – New Orleans is my home and always will be. I love this city as much as life itself.

A’Damaged Pro – Any words of wisdom for those getting started as a producer or DJ?

Trent Cantrelle – Find your own voice. Do not try and copy what everyone is is trying to copy. Even if you have a “hit” doing this, it will only last so long if you don’t have much else to offer. DJ as much as you can. No matter what it takes, put yourself in front of a crowd any chance you get. This is the best and only way to learn the art of DJing. Anyone can mix, but only few can read a crowd. I think the trick to this industry is longevity and that part you need to figure out on your own.

A’Damaged Pro – Do you have any new projects, that you’re working on right now, that you can talk about?

Trent Cantrelle – Plenty of new music coming out on Sounds Like and various other labels. We are also taking Sounds Like parties to new cites and markets starting next year.

You can catch Trent’s Voodoo set at 2:30pm on Saturday, November 1st (Le Plur Stage).

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