It's a common trope these days that some of the best "new" artists have been working behind the scenes years prior to their own debut, or writing for others before experimenting with personal output. Frank Ocean is a classic example, lending his considerable songwriting talents to huge stars before finding his own voice. Compton's Channel Tres, the latest signing from Godmode, is following in those footsteps, albeit with a completely different style of music.
Having worked as a songwriter and producer for artists such as Kehlani and Duckwrth, Channel Tres honed his talents through the voice of others. "I was just working as a producer and my manager at the time asked me if I was interested in working with Shamir and I thought he was dope so I went and we made some songs," Tres told us via email. "Then I met Talya [Elitzer] and we just established a relationship from there. One day I email blasted a demo to all my contacts on Gmail and she hit me back and we met, booked some sessions, and I felt like they [were] who I need to be working with."
Recently signed to Godmode, Tres worked extensively with the pair that runs the label: songwriter Nick Sylvester and former major A&R Talya Elitzer. These two know how to help push an artist to the next level, having previously done so with both Shamir and New York City via Seoul producer and singer Yaeji. With Tres' debut song, "Controller," the polish the pair applied to their previous work is abundantly clear, and so is Tres' experience.
Co-written by Sylvester, who also co-produced Yaeji's two excellent EPs for the label, "Controller" blends sounds from Chicago and Tres' home of Compton. "Me and Nick just really felt drawn to it," he tells us in regards to the mix of genres on display. "When we started working I was listening to a lot of dance music and Moodymann and Jimmy Edgar became a big influence. Also I really felt like people shouldn’t give a fuck no more and shake their ass. I also found out my dad was from Chicago and that’s where the genre originated and that gave me much more of a spiritual connection to it."
The colorful Goodwin-directed video (the same director responsible some of Cousin Stizz's videos as well as Makonnen and Drake's "Tuesday") sees Tres proudly repping the neighborhood he grew up in. "I made sure everyone that I used were close friends," he explained. "I love being in front of the camera so it came natural... I was kinda sad [when] it was over."
Raised by his great-grandparents in Lynwood, California, Channel Tres has always had his sights set on music. "Me and my little brother used to beat on pots and pans and they bought us our first drum set when I was seven. After that I started playing drums at church and that opened my connection to music. I was obsessed with Andre 3000’s The Love Below and anything Marvin Gaye, and all the great gospel musicians."
He's off to an incredibly strong start. Tres' years of experience and immense promise is already on full display with "Controller." It's a commanding, captivating piece of music that comes and goes in a flash, utilizing rap, dance, and even an epilogue rooted in R&B in less than four minutes. His future is guaranteed, and immensely exciting. As for what we can expect from him in the future? "More music and good times," he promises.