The choice: Ron Trent - Artists - Mixmag

The choice: Ron Trent

Few living DJs embody the spirit of Chicago like Ron Trent

  • Words: Marc Rowlands | Photo: Johnny Fan
  • 7 February 2017
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“When I reflect on Detroit, it was the fact that there was nothing else going on. It was very quiet,” says Trent, who would often sleep at the KMS studio. “You were either working, sleeping, eating or fucking. That was it.” The duo’s efforts would be nurtured at KMS but, following the release of a hi-fidelity dub mix of their track ‘The Choice’, it would become crystallized, from 1993, with further explorations into sonically similar directions on their own Prescription label. “We wanted to raise the bar, to raise the fidelity for music coming out of Chicago and the Mid-West,” Trent says of their revered deep house imprint Prescription. “We felt that Chicago was synonymous with a lot of really raw tracks. We wanted to take that idea and expand on it, take the big track and put it into a big studio. What does it sound like if we do this? Getting into the different dynamics of producing, combining strong melodies with strong rhythms.” Damier’s talents included sampling, singing and the running of a label, whereas Trent’s strengths lay in percussion, keys and the studio mastery he’d enhanced at KMS. Between 1993 and 1996 Prescription became the premier deep house label, unrivalled in fidelity and ideas, a 90s successor to groundwork laid by the likes of Larry Heard and Nu Groove Records. They released music by Derrick Carter, Roy Davis Jr, Romanthony, Pevenn Everett and Glenn Underground (plus one of Moodymann’s first releases, on sub label Balance), but it was Trent, either solo or in partnership with Damier, who made the biggest waves, with ‘Morning Factor’ and ‘Pop, Dip And Spin’.

The pair went their separate ways in 1996, with Damier taking Balance and Trent keeping Prescription, where he embarked on an odyssey of epic club tracks in which he attempted to marry the electronic with the organic. But it’s their era of partnership that’s remained the best loved, the most collected and most talked about and which makes up the bulk of inclusions on current six-LP compilation ‘Ron Trent presents Prescription: Word, Sound & Powe’ (Rush Hour). Trent’s career since has never ceased evolving. He’s explored afro house, undertaken a famous DJ residency in New York for Giant Step and launched several new labels such as Future Vision, Electric Blue and chief current concern, MusicandPower. His latest projects include a second ‘Dancefloor Boogie Delites’ album, a Romantic Flight album, co-production of the punk funk outfit A Band Called Flash and work with vocalists including Tkumah Sadeek and former Motown signee Donnie, studio-based work with musicians having become like second nature to him over the last two decades. As a DJ he stands out for his depth of knowledge as a selector and for his concentration on blends. “I play using my filter in the best way to tell my own story,” he says. “Because that’s what a DJ is supposed to be: a storyteller.”

‘Ron Trent Presents Prescription: Word, Sound & Power’ is out early 2017 on Rush Hour

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