Trevor Kelly Through and Through [Interview]
The Bay Area of California has long been known as a hub for community building — in the 1960s the birth of the hippie movement on Haight street, Berkeley had movements toward a democratic society and People’s Park, and of course, the music. The Grateful Dead created a movement all throughout the San Francisco bay area that spread in all directions. While much has changed since those days, the musical communities have only evolved. East Bay, especially Oakland and Berkeley, are home to an incredible electronic scene that doubles as a tight-knit community of artists and audience alike.
Trevor Kelly is not a native of the Bay, but he is a contributor to the electronic music community there. “I followed the music coming out of the Bay area for a long time, inspired by the amazing and gifted artists from the region,” Kelly, a SoCal native, explains to me, “I started making trips to venues and events at every opportunity, always returning with a renewed sense of purpose. Attending Mecca Festival here in So Cal, my buddy Stephen Padlock and I met Treemiesta and Theo of HBC (Humboldt Bass Crew) and our good homie DJ Stax. Rinsed Krew had been created that weekend.”
The next weekend, Kelly had been offered a ticket to Emissions, a Bass Festival in northern California. “I had seen the line up for a few weeks and was immediately on board. This was in the infamous year it snowed.” Inspired by the community and bass culture up north, Kelly moved up the I-5 and has been in the Bay ever since. — “And I have loved every minute of my journey north!”
Kelly is inspired by the Bay area. “People come from all over the world to be in this part of California. [It] has a unique pull to it. It can most definitely get to you, while still providing you the adventure of a lifetime…” Communities like Camp Question Mark, West Coast Bass Culture, and Shadow Trix Music are ones that he points out as “tackling harsh realities through music, community, and art.”
Bass music attracts a large audience that becomes hypnotized by the artist and a state-of-the-art sound system. The music holds a lot of power with ever-changing rhythms, drops, and frequency changes. “There is something really special with bass music and the low frequencies we work with, then amplified on a 100,000 watt system…It truly creates an alternate world. More and more producers these days are spending time on really defining the frequencies and ranges they are working with.”
Kelly mostly plays his own original productions, but occasionally switches it up with tracks from his homies or latest inspiration. “I feel a responsibility to share my music with a crowd of listeners who will embrace the music, internalize the experience, and live the story I create with music…the whole story, with all its ups and downs.” By playing original music he becomes an author with the ability to create change within the audience, whether that change is spiritual, emotional, or physical depends on the person, but it is hard to deny that music plays an important role in growth.
Along the lines of growth, Kelly also believes in being a positive role model for his listeners. “When I do festivals, I don’t just turn up, perform, and leave. I become a part of the entire culture; respecting and embracing the artists, helping to sustain the experience.” For many festival goers, community is one of the most important aspects of a festival — a safe space to let one’s true self shine. “The people who come to the festivals are as diverse as San Francisco itself. It is refreshing to see families, children, parents, and grandparents from all walks of life and with different backgrounds: engineers, college students, businesswomen, physicians, hipsters, parties, mainstream and certainly the artistic– but they all are there for the common experience of music.”
Music is at the core of Kelly’s being. He has been writing, performing, attending, and throwing events for a very long time. He tells me the trajectory he has seen the electronic music scene follow for the past few years, where every year the community becomes more and more involved and shifting into new twists and turns of creative outlet. “The music scene is evolving into a more conscious medium (i.e. Leave No Trace) which is a refreshing and positive trend. It’s all about balance at the end of the day and the middle ground is a great road to travel.”
Besides his solo projects, Kelly also wants the world to know that off stage, he is a great cook. One of Kelly’s most notable projects includes Himself and Shlump to create RudeBoyNoize. As always, I asked Kelly who his sisters are within the scene, and he gives a comprehensive list of some bad-ass ladies that he would love to work with/admires. Some of those being: Ill Esha, Miss Haze, Mal Label, Lotus Drops, Skulltrane, CloZee, and Michelle from Camp Q. “Mad love to all the musicians, and artists out there putting in the hours, and giving their creativity! Honored by everyone.”
To leave off with a final sentiment from Trevor Kelly, an ode to his gratitude for his fans and the bass community: “We enter this world alone, and leave this world alone. What we leave behind, is how we affect those around us. And I am truly grateful to share my sound, story, and my energy through performance and wattage for the world to hear, move, and rage to!“
Photo Credit to: Brian Crabtree (Euphoric)