Coming back with our first feature-length post in some time, with a new face. We owe the opportunity fully to our good friend Kaelyn Gray, who once again brought us the fortune of an electronic experimental up-and-comer. So a huge thank you is in order to her for making this interview, post, and connection possible.
After long email chains and schedule adjustments, we got to sit down and conference call with the artist Orenda. On the heels of his first major release, Reverie EP, we grabbed our notebooks to bring you his story. A journey that takes us from Jamba juice to creating music amongst the craziness of real life. We look forward to showing you the value of dedication and self-cultivation now…
Thirty-some years ago in the San Francisco Bay area, a young man was born by the name of Trevor. Trevor was born driven and versatile, with an appetite to attain. Whether it was to progress in his early service industry employment opportunities or later in his widespread educational pursuits, Trevor had a hunger to grow and acquire new and unique opportunities. Everything in the man’s life was bound to be built upon and refined. An attribute that turned a dripping pipe into a flash flood when electronic music was introduced. Once Trevor hit the music scene, he found his peak interest. His start was as a listener with an insatiable craving for a stream of constantly new sounds, amongst the extreme evolutionary time of electronic music we have all been blessed to come into. His hungry ear, geographic location, and supported curiosity then vaulted him into the hobby of live DJing. Being in the bay area gave Trevor the opportunity to develop his mixing skills and bring the massive amount of music he was uncovering to other dedicated EDM kids. Playing trap and bass weekly and monthly events became this unforeseen blessing that he was not letting go of. In Trevor fashion, he kept listening, building, networking, and enjoying the process of becoming an artist. He spent so much time emersed in the passion, that he didn’t even notice the door right in front of him: production.
He finally took the hint and opened the door to becoming Orenda. Here we see Trevor take the extreme initiative and use every moment to learn how to create music. Stepping back from nightlife and into a music-production program; all the while working his now established service industry career to make it all happen. His grind in school, in work, and in personal expansion maintained his career and earned him a degree with no debt. Trevor knowledge and network went on to land him jobs designing sound and scores for video games. His brief career change gave him the opportunity to hone his talent, and had him working for Indie designers as well as Lionsgate and Sony!
Video game scoring was just another step along the road Trevor unobjectively continued to pave. Another avenue to refine the art of making music, and crucial to the music he currently creates. Learning to illustrate stories and develop meaning melds with the expansive sound experiences his favorite producers and labels brought him to really take stride creatively. After about 2-3 years of dedicated creation, Orenda was really starting to take form. As an artist, he not only was stockpiling original music but stockpiling music he loved and was proud of. We see the story-telling corner stone blossom into the production sounds that he lusted for. Orenda became the supply to the demand of his own ear- modeled off of others but infused with his own creativity and vision.
At this point, it was yet again time to take another step forward. In his own words, slowly chipping away to reach his goals. His next chip was a shot at a daydream from his early listening stage, which was to release through his favorite label. Gravitas was/is hands down his favorite label. They had introduced him to so many “unknowns”, consistently released high volumes of good quality music and stood out as being driven by artistic value over numbers. So it is no surprise that he wanted to land something there and land something he did. Smoke and Mirrors was the first single Orenda released on Gravitas. The track went on to blow-up and made Orenda one of those artists he appreciated so long ago. Working with Gravitas gave him a heightened appreciation for the label. Orenda saw such professionalism and structure working with them, while continually feeling support to being true to his sound and story. The bond between the label and artist kept Trevor tracks flowing onto the Gravitas drawing board. Pieces that were from all different corners of the Orenda sound and embodied different moments in his life. He wanted to continue to impress the label with singles, however, the label saw more. Gravitas was down with the Orenda sound and vision so much that they wanted more than singles- they wanted an Orenda EP. Which brings us to the present release, Reverie EP.
The first major EP release of Orenda’s career was the last Gravitas release of 2019. It is a body of work that brings music from all different directions of Trevor life together. And it works, because of the unity the Orenda vision has. There is such a strong-rooted and seasoned base to his brand and music- and we cannot wait to bring you the full breakdown and insider-look into the EP (with our next post). What is important to know and note about the EP, for Trevor’s story, is how much work and soul went into the making of the project. It is more than the 10-20 hour production days and music schooling and DJing that relate so directly to the project- it is about the continual path of hard work that landed him his dream.
Trevor started as a hard-working kid from the Bay that loved music. He used his drive for life to create a blooming future for himself. Staying true to his love for music is what provided him the inspiration for his sound, the network of DJs and friends in the industry, great memories and invaluable moments, and even his wife and performance partner. The man is just the fullest and truest version of himself, as Trevor and Orenda. Orenda, by definition, is just that. Not taking a back seat and hoping your dreams come true, but instead letting your dreams be the vision that sparks a conquest. Unapologetically racing into the unknown with a hands-on mentality, and consciously taking the tough strides to bring your reality closer and closer to becoming your dream.
Getting to know Trevor, on this phone call, left us at a true loss for words. He has the craziest story that is just guided by his passion. We can see the amazing opportunity that music gave him, but more importantly that he gave himself. Even though everything he has he earned, he is so incredibly humble and thankful. He has a name that continues to grow in meaning and seasoning, and we see it taking him higher and higher. Yet his goal is simply to “just barely even get by making music full-time”. Working hard for what he loves is his story, his brand, and his name, and it is what makes him such a model artist.
As if his story did not give enough of a road-map for anyone chasing their passion, he did offer some advice to creators young and old. Practically, he says never sleep on saving money. For producers, he recommends buying any intro class to do so. Not only do you gain a roadmap to hone your skills and build a knowledge foundation- you also get Ableton at a huge discount. The music industry is so hard to make it in, but little steps like this can take some stress off your shoulders. In regard to the stress of “making it”, he also gives the following two pieces of advice: be inspired by the music that you love and never be afraid to slow down/ press pause. Listening to music is what got us all into the scene and should be what keeps you loving the scene. Artists create music to give something back to the listener, so use that to help your own sound. Play around with tracks that you like, learn how to make those sounds and push them into your own music. He continues to find himself using other artist’s tracks to idea bank for his own music because he is still the listener from the San Fran Bay. Producing leads to listening, so continue to do them both. Do not burn yourself out or try to go outside of your means, especially in life outside of music. You cannot make everything happen at once and need to cultivate a life outside of music as well. Do what you need to sustain a healthy life, pay your bills, and enjoy your hard work. It is by doing that that you make it all better.
Orenda as a word is a lesson and one which has become tangible through the story of Trevor’s life. We learned so much from our talk with this artist, and we hope you take away half of what we did. There is no doubt we see Trevor as a role model and hope to continue to work with him. Our excitement billows as we wrap up writing the Reverie EP post, as we will get to show you even more of the dynamic mind we go to pick. Thank you again to Trevor for the words and time he shared with us, and to Kaelyn for linking us up. We will see you soon with the next post in the Orenda saga!
Until next time.