Terrace Martin Discusses New 'Chucks' Track With Channel Tres & Friendly Grammy Competition
There isn’t a musician as recognizable within West Coast’s various music scenes as Terrace Martin. The former jazz prodigy turned producer and recording artist has managed to have his hands in multiple genres. Over the past decades, Martin has managed to play integral parts in albums for Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, and more.
That doesn’t even count his bodies of work from albums like 2013’s 3ChordFold, Velvet Portraits in 2016, and last year’s Drones. The later album itself will go against albums from Steve Lacy, Moonchild, Tank and the Bangas and more this weekend at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards this coming Sunday. Before then, he’s also releasing a funky bop through “Chucks” alongside eccentric Compton-native Channel Tres as well.
Speaking with BET.com, Martin discusses appreciating Channel Tres’ daring musicality, building his musical family and the love he’s receiving from his Drones album.
BET.com: You're set to drop the "Chucks" single with Channel Tres this Thursday morning. What was the inspiration behind the track and talk about the process of working with Channel Tres?
Terrace Martin: I got turned onto Channel Tres through a mutual friend of ours and I got turned onto him before I realized what he looked like, where he was from or what he was about. I just loved the music. So I was a fan of the music for a few months and everything. Then when I found out he was Compton and the West Coast, I was like that’s crazy. When I met him, his vibe was so up-tempo and bright. He came into the studio at midnight like ‘let’s do 10 songs, let’s do this, let’s do that.’ So I felt like he had a lot of energy.
We both love funk. So he got with Ty Dolla $ign who started playing bass and everything on the record. Then they brought the record to me. I added horns to it and just put the icing on top of it and we made it what it is. It’s an uptempo bomb and some LA funk. Just something to dance and feel good about. Something to move to. Working with Channel Tres was a job because he’s so daring. That’s all I could think about is how daring Channel Tres is musically. He wants to make everyone feel good around him and he feels good. Working with him is just a great human experience.
BET.com: 3ChordFold is on its way to turning 10 this year and it's one of my favorite West Coast albums of all time. I was at the listening event at Woodworks in Inglewood before it closed.
Terrace Martin: I remember that night. That was the early time when I was just trying to develop and bring high-level soulful art back to the hood and back to the places I come from. I didn’t want to do a listening party on Fairfax, Beverly Hills, Eagle Rock, Silver Lake or North Hollywood. No disrespect to those locations but I wanted to do something where all the music comes from that makes Los Angeles’ heartbeat, which is Inglewood, Compton, Watts, South Central, Carson, Long Beach and places below the 10 freeway. You know D Smoke was an owner of Woodworks.
BET.com: Yeah, him and his family were owners. That approach you have to the community has always made me consider you a nucleus in Los Angeles’ music scene. How have you remained so creatively balanced throughout your career?
Terrace Martin: I’ve built my family. Everybody believes this thing that family is blood-related but it’s whatever you make it. I’ve made this high-level creative family where I feel that everybody is better than me. If I’m dealing with the most aggressive gangster rap music, then my homeboys over there do that so I hang with them cause I learn from them. My guys and young ladies that just do jazz and really do it, I go hang with them. My thing is it's kind of easy for me to stay in that kind of world because I don’t hang out with other people that do what I do. I probably won’t hang with another hybrid dude that does everything I do. I only want to hang with the best of whatever you do in that. If you make donuts, I don’t want to hang with Yum Yums, I want Krispy Kreams.
BET.com: DRONES is up for “Best Progressive R&B Album”. I feel like that's the most competitive category this year. Do you still get excited about the recognition you receive considering this is your first nomination for your own body of work since your 2016 nomination for Velvet Portraits?
Terrace Martin: It’s beautiful to always be recognized but like a lot of people say, I don’t do it for that. But those are one of the things I do it for. We all like hugs and I like hugs. It’s a beautiful thing when you put in that work and all those hours and you got a whole team that’s putting all these hours of work, driving, flying, hustling, dealing with deals, dealing with lawyers and the likes. It feels good that people recognize not just me and the music but the whole conglomerate that came up with Drones.
It’s Terrace Martin the name but it’s a whole system. We just lost my dear brother Uncle Chucc that was definitely a huge part of my sound. Rance is part of our sound. To be recognized for Drones, it’s a million great people on there that are recognized and that’s what I like about it. Even for that category, Corey Henry is my friend and so is Tank and the Bangas. I’ve been around Steve Lacey since he was a little kid. It’s great company to be in but I definitely want to win. Don’t get it twisted, but we all love each other.
Stream Terrace Martin's music here.