We caught up with super talented Compton-born, Los Angeles-based artist Channel Tres.
Photography and interview by Christopher Brown
You recently released “Weedman” which is just as much a feel-good jam as it is a political song. Can you tell us about both?
Weedman documents a time in my life when weed was really hard to get. It was really criminalized and is still very criminalized in some places. It’s just based on some of the stress I went through and some of the things I went through as a teenager. It was also a way for me to show that weed is not a bad thing and that it helps a lot of people and the things associated with weed are laziness and stuff like that, so I wanted to show a different side of that, like we still get stuff done and we dance, it’s medicine for a lot of people.
What comes first – the beat or the message woven into it?
It’s different on different days, I’m beat driven a lot but sometimes I’m really into writing down words and different things I have in my head that I went through. Maybe if I like something or read something, I’ll write it down. It comes out in different ways at different times.
Growing up who did you look up to?
My great grandmother, Kobe Bryant and Micheal Jackson
Did anyone encourage you to pursue music or did you seek it out on your own?
My Great Grandparents bought me a drumset when I was five years old. Going to church everyday — I was forced to be in the choir, I was forced to play drums and different things and it just turned out to be something I was in love with. But if it wasn’t for them buying me a drumset or forcing me to be in choir, I probably never would have gotten into it.
“I’m beat driven a lot but sometimes I’m really into writing down words and different things I have in my head that I went through.”
It’s been a year since your last EP Black Moses, we can only assume a new project is on the way. What’s going to be the difference between Black Moses and this next one?
This next project was made during quarantine so it’s not made with me thinking I’m going to be in front of a crowd, it’s more expressing myself and things I had to face during this time.
You’ve worked with everyone from Robyn to James Blake to Tyler The Creator – hard to top this list but who else would you love to work with?
Stevie Wonder and Frank Ocean
Speaking of Robyn, you just dropped a track with her and SG Lewis – how’d that come to fruition and are we gonna hear it live (streamed) anytime soon?
That track came through just me and SG Lewis hanging out when I was on tour with Robyn. A little before that run, me and SG had become friends. I remember we played the show at the Palladium and he came out to support me and support Robyn and we went to Rhonda after that and DJ’d and we just had a crazy night. Then we met up a few weeks later and we got into the studio and were just messing around. He played the beat and I just ended up getting on it. We were dancing around and we got drunk and then we went to a party and maybe a few weeks later we listened back to it and were like ‘wow this is really good’ and we were like ‘we should get Robyn on this one’ so we sent it to Robyn and she hopped on it. That’s pretty much what happened. It’ll be in a livestream soon, I wanna play it live though.
How have you been staying motivated during quarantine?
Ive been doing a lot of reading, books like Mamba Mentality, Marcus Aurelius, and just allowing myself to go through the process of my emotions. If I’m sad, just allow myself to be sad and if I’m happy, allow myself to be happy. Just looking in the mirror to reflect and appreciate all those moments in the past and being grateful to be here and appreciate that I haven’t been sick or anything. Just trying to hold onto the good things.
What’s your most played song in quarantine?
Self Control by Frank Ocean