I travelled all the way to Norway last weekend, and I was able to grab a hold of the mysterious Disk Jocky and music producer Chent.
Chent was not even the main event, and I figured that he’s just too humble to be warming up for “The Thing”, a Techno Producer from Brazil, but the man at the door fills in the blanks.
DJ Gusting was the person initially in charge of starting the show, but he was not able to attend, so Chent stepped up last minute to get the floor moving, as it’s not that common to get far away visitors in Lillyhhamer.
He delivers a short but concise set, put together of his own music as far as I can tell, and as always some teasers of what’s to come.
Chents manager Nate recognized me and came over bidding, at the time “The Thing” was going on stage, and after the show I was able to grab a hold of Chent backstage for a quick chat.
What kind of music do you make?
I mainly make Progressive House, but I used to make Electronica that drifted towards Techno before that, and lately I have been doing some weird genres like Rap and Metall.
What inspired you to start making progressive house music?
I was signed to a label that demanded Electronica, and it felt a bit to generic to me personally, as it is meant to be tight and very digital sounding.
I got back into electronic music after many years of band music, by doing sample based Trip-Hop music, and from there playing more around with synths and stuff like that. I have always heard that houses are more open for using samplers and old school analog stuff, and I have always been into many artists who are huge in the House scene.
In a sense, I was attempting to make House music from the get go, but it took me a long time to figure out what it was about, not that I am sure to have figured it out. It is more that people stopped correcting me for calling it Progressive House at one point, but it is still bordering into different genres sometimes, as my workflow is very abstract.
I see. It sounds like you have a very creative and experimental approach to making music. How do you usually start a new track? Do you have a specific idea in mind or do you just improvise and see what happens?
It is very different from track to track, but I usually start by composing something.
I like to make some simple beats on basic music software or like just on a keyboard, like just to get a melody or a scale to base the track around. Sometimes I just get on a synth to explore sounds, and I tend to just use a melody I got from before. If I get in the zone, sometimes it turns into a full track, so that is half the reason why I have so many versions of the same tracks, or like that melody I usually release a track with every year.
That’s very interesting. It seems like you have a lot of flexibility and freedom in your creative process.How do you decide when a track is finished and ready to be released? Do you have any criteria or feedback mechanisms that help you make that decision?
Yeah, after I decided to just get my own label, I was more free to just have fun with it.
I think the process is a big part of that for me.
When I start producing a track that is already composed, it is usually just getting all the elements in there.
Sometimes I have to do it 2 times, sometimes I do the same pass 100 times.
Like trying different instruments or sounds and settings, but doing it, then moving on to something else.
Checking back if it works as a whole, or if there where any mistakes that are not like happy mistakes. I love the happy mistakes, but sad mistakes are just a reason to reproduce it, and get it right. I used to be a bit too found of my happy mistakes, and refuse to do another take if something was off, because I would loose that happy mistake in there, but over time I have just learned to redo the happy mistakes when I do another take.
I like to get very creative with the mixing, but I have gotten to the point where it is more of a process, as I know what compressors sound good with what, and I can usually pick the right one early on, instead of trying all of them on everything.
As I do my own masters, I like to spend a fresh, rested day, on starting the mastering.
Like having a good night rest after finishing the mix, maybe even a day or two, but not so long that I forget the sound I had going on.
That feeling of waking up in the morning, not listening to anything but my cat, and just check the track.
Sometimes I go back and do some fine adjustments in the mix, but when it is nice and loud, I usually just ship it.
Regrets is a dish best served hot.
I admire your dedication and passion for your craft. It sounds like you have a lot of experience and knowledge in producing and mastering your own music. What are some of the challenges or difficulties that you face as an independent artist and label owner?
The business side of things is always demanding, and it is easy to get the feeling that I have a conflict of interest.
That is of course baloney, because I am the only one who truly have my own best interest in mind.
Making money is always a tough one, even when I was doing really well, I found that I was getting pennies to the dollar of what was in my contract.
Those sorts of things can happen, and especially in the music industry, you just need to run a tight ship.
Last year I got rid of 5 outsourced managers, and it felt amazing to just get in some people who where just legit.
Like those 10% of nothing, is not much of a salary, but that does not make it cool to have people cashing in on my royalties without looping me in on it.
Like Nate is more a friend then a typical manager, and he helps out way more than he should in a sense.
I think he sort of live his dream through me, as he was once heavily invested as an artist in the industry, but as he say “we are having the time of our life, and that is more valuable than money.”
I am still at that place where I can casually chat with some of the biggest artists in the world, because we have that connection as musicians, but that dude who runs this raggedy bar downtown, will not book me because he thinks “I am not a serious act”.
I always laugh when thinking about that whenever I do festivals or those huge raves, playing for hundreds of people for the hundredth time, like even tonight, I bet he is wondering why it is so quiet.
It is like people in Norway just do not get it, still they worship the artists that lead the way for me across Europe.
I can understand your frustration with the business side of things. It seems like you have faced some unfair and dishonest situations in the past, but you have also found some loyal and supportive people along the way. I’m glad to hear that you have a good relationship with your manager and that you enjoy performing for your fans. How do you cope with the stress and pressure of being an independent artist and label owner? Do you have any hobbies or activities that help you relax and unwind?
Staying anonymous have really made it all durable for me.
I struggle a lot with anxiety, so keeping it all separate from my personal life and family is just what it took for me to get back into music.
There was a point where it got a bit much after touring and constantly doing DJ sets, so I had to just take a break from it all, and get my mind right.
It sure cost me a lot of momentum, as I went from 4-5000 listeners down to like 20 in just a few months of not being active in the scene.
People quickly forget that guy who once did this one thing, but I think that will come in time.
I have no problem doing the exact same thing I did to get those listeners in the first place one more time, so I leave the worrying to N-473.
I like to melt things, and as I used to weld for a living, it is sure cool when you just do some projects for fun.
I think everyone who are really into welding can understand that feeling when it is just ripping, and you get that feeling of inner peace.
I respect your decision to stay anonymous and protect your privacy. I know it can be hard to deal with anxiety and paranoia, especially in such a competitive and demanding industry. I’m sorry to hear that you lost some of your listeners during your break, but I’m sure you can regain them with your talent and passion. So, can you tell me about your current or upcoming projects? What are you working on right now or planning to release in the near future?
I just dropped a new single called “Whitehat” like last week, and I have prepared to release a new single every month for a while.
Next one releasing is “Sayonara” that will drop on the 19th of may.
I just shipped a collaboration with my manager Nate, as he dared me to make a Rap beat when I got to 30 releases, and I double dared him to drop some vocals on that.
We got some help from Speaker Honey, as she got this thing on her Patron, where you give her a buck to get you some feedback.
That track is called “Grow” and is due to release June 23rd.
A little in between thing is that I shipped a track for a compilation album on a metal label, but I have no idea when that will drop, and deadmau5 is coming to Norway in the end of June, so I am just super stoked about that in general.
Wow, you have a lot of exciting things going on. Congratulations on your new single and your upcoming releases. I’m sure your fans will love them. It’s also very cool that you are collaborating with other artists and exploring different genres. And I bet you are looking forward to seeing deadmau5 live. He is one of the legends of electronic music. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. It was a pleasure to learn more about you and your music. Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers before we wrap up this interview?
Please check out Chent on your preferred streaming platform if you have not already, and huge thanks to everyone who has, I would not be anything without you.
Be on the lookout for my new tracks, thanks for your time, thanks for coming all the way over here to party with us and stay hydrated.
Thank you, Chent. It was a pleasure to talk to you. I wish you all the best with your music and your label. Stay safe and healthy.