DJ Ron Trent - Altering the States of House Music at Sequence Ch!cago

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If you were a teenager in the early 80’s and lived in Chicago, you got a chance to experience a new and fresh sound called “House Music."
This unique sound hit the charts in the mid-1980s and became successful with the aid of Chicago independent record labels opening their doors to local house music artists and signing them to record deals.

Developed in Chicago’s underground dance club culture, DJ’s started to experiment with different musical dance tracks giving the sound of its music, more systematic beats, and a richer bassline by mixing synth pop, rap, Latin, and even jazz into their recordings.

Established by Chicago DJs such as Chip E and Steve Hurley and influenced by Chicago DJ and record producer Frankie Knuckles, this new sound attracted kids around the world and one of those kids was named Ron Trent.

Ron love for this music made him a permanent presence in the early 90’s making him one of the architects of the Chicago music scene. Studying and collecting records, Ron took cues from his father who ran a Record Pool in the late 70’s. This provided a strong foundation which helped Ron become a respected DJ during his teenage years which ultimately aided him to embark into his own productions, which lead to his first release; the highly acclaimed house music classic, “Altered States.”

Chicago legendary DJ Ron Trent, sat down and provided Let’s Play with an exclusive interview on his love for music and his upcoming performance at Navy Pier for Sequence Ch!cago,

LP: Ron, you have produced a plethora of house music that’s still mainstream to this day. Tell us how does it feel to be considered a legend in this music field?

RT: To be honest, I appreciate the accolades of today but for me, creating more content is most important. I keep myself grounded by concentrating more on creating content for today — and the future.

LP: Talking to the young Ron Trent, what would you tell him today that could help mold and lead him towards success?

RT: Hmm, well, there are a few things I would say to him. First, stay focused and keep studying the road you have chosen. Second, would be to make wise investments in time spent and the choices of people you surround yourself with. Third, would be to make sound financial investments like save more, invest in real estate and plan for the future.
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LP: You mentioned your father started a Record Pool. How important is the history of record pools and is it still important in today’s industry?

RT: Record pools were a highly impactful part of our history because it trained how we listen to music today. The tastemakers from the 70s helped direct the consciousness of our current musical values. This sort of leadership is still of value to this day. There is a lot of “music” that’s coming out in droves, but the quality is definitely lacking. I and others can hear it. There should always be a high standard of quality control before music is released to people’s delicate ears.

LP: Tell our audience about Urban Sound Gallery. What inspired USG?

RT: USG was designed in the early 90s to be an art collective. Having been deeply inspired by many of the creative elements during my upbringing, I used that as a launching point to create an art incubator/world platform for urban culture. With several years of international business relations, I saw the value in curating and connecting the dots of music, art, and culture and then presenting that to the world. It was the perfect time to invest in a space where I could use my production skills to craft, consciousness. Different people have their opinions regarding what I was doing, but this is the true source of the inspiration.

LP: It has been said that the name “House Music,” was inspired by music played at The Warehouse here in Chicago. Tell us the people, places, and things that inspired you?

RT: The inspiration is infinite. I couldn’t possibly convey it in one interview. My background is in art, and I ultimately wanted to become an architect. I have always looked at life from that perspective—the notion of art, color, perspective, and structure. Within that, my field of study was loaded up with a diverse set of tools that was transferrable to many parts of what I do.

I’ve lived in many different cities, the longest being New York. This is where I was inspired the most. As DJs and producers, many years ago, New York was seen as a foundation of underground music. Two major iconic influencers were from New York, Frankie Knuckles, and Robert Williams—both had their first experience with this art in the form of, “The Loft” with David Mancuso. This is going back to the late 60s and early 70s. Growing up in the Chi allowed us to be a part of a new revolution of underground music and art. With everything that followed, I was able to embrace a budding new world that was expanding. Art was king in the 80s, and because of that, a lot of high art was being created and developed. When you are witness history unfolding before your eyes, it opens you up to explore your own individuality.
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LP: What got you interested in being a part of Navy Pier for Sequence Ch!cago?

RT: There wasn’t really a, “getting me interested” component. The driving force of the event is the cause, and once I was able to confirm my time, I was all in. Sequence Ch!cago’s "Housegiving" a concert at Navy Pier is a celebration of the local artist community. The event also benefits those in needs through a coat and food drive.

LP: You have worked with numerous records labels and artist. What’s next for Ron Trent?

RT: Continuing down the path, as they say. This involves more studio projects and art productions. The most public event I’ve produced was co-founded alongside my business partner, Eric Williams. This is The Silver Room Sound System Block Party, which has reached phenomenal success in Hyde Park—and continues to evolve. Over the past 15 years, it has been incredible to watch attendance grow from an intimate and creative alley-setting to an astounding 40,000+ in attendance. I’m looking forward to making this event even more impactful in the years to come.

LP: Looking back at all of your success, what does the “Altered States” recording mean to you today?r-816-1142175127-jpeg

RT: That recording is the essence of the era I came from. It was recorded in the 80s and out of pure love of the music I had on my palate. It’s a bit of time capsule that consists of combined elements of my teenage years and the revolution of the time. I definitely appreciate it because it serves as a reminder of the greatness and development of an urban art form that was birthed right here in Chicago.

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Let's Play thanks Margie Korshak, Inc. for access to this interview. For more information about Sequence Ch!cago and other events, activities and attractions at Navy Pier, visit www.navypier.org or download the Navy Pier app, available in the App Store on any Android or iOS device.

Full Sequence Ch!cago schedule listed below.

Saturday, October 27
Chicago Culture Market | 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. | Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion (between Lalo’s and Brown Sugar Bakery)

MUSIC: Alysha Monique; Fox Crossing Stringband; Son Monarcas

MARKET VENDORS: Blade + Bloom; Bright Endeavors; Mosaico Arte; Neighborly Shop

Saturday, November 10
Chicago Culture Market | 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. | Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion (between Lalo’s and Brown Sugar Bakery)

MUSIC: Yomi; Orlando Peña; Schenay

MARKET VENDORS: Limba Gal Jewelry; Lingua Nigra; Majamas; Oorn Studio

Wednesday, November 21
Housegiving | 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. | Aon Grand Ballroom Sequence Ch!cago at Navy Pier

MUSIC: Terry Hunter (The Chosen Few); DJ Heather; Ron Trent; More TBA

*This event will also serve as a coat drive for the homeless. Guests are encouraged to bring and drop off coats near the entrance.

Saturday, November 24
Chicago Culture Market | 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. | Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion (between Lalo’s and Brown Sugar Bakery)

MUSIC: Ursa Ensemble; Lamajamal

MARKET VENDORS: Adorn Chicago; Bodega 18; Pilsen Outpost; Reformed School

Saturday, December 1
Holiday Carolers | 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. | Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion (near Ben & Jerry’s)

MUSIC: Lola Bard Productions

Saturday, December 8
Seasonal Concert | 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. | Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion (grand staircase)

MUSIC: Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus

Saturday, December 15
Seasonal Concert | 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. | Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion (near Ben & Jerry’s)

MUSIC: Vince Guaraldi Tribute

Wednesday, December 19
A Blues Christmas | 7 p.m. | Aon Grand Ballroom

MUSIC: TBA

Filed under: ChicagoNow

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