Trenton and Free Radical: Living The Music and the Message
Trenton and Free Radical’s no-holds barred political and social commentary that many have come to know and love, is in fact a way of life for Trenton and the band. Although many fans of the afro-ska-pop sounds of Trenton and Free Radical may not be aware of it, the man behind the band; Trenton Birch is a musician, activist and entrepreneur and is the force behind a multitude of music, education and development projects.
From a strictly musical perspective Trenton and Free Radical is back after a sustained hiatus from live gigs that saw the band getting down to the business of writing and recording the new album.
With a new single currently gaining traction on radio stations across the country, No Ceiling, is produced by multi platinum award winning German producers Stephan Bader and Andre Tolba. The single comes with a quirky video with animation and visual effects created by Johannesburg based creative wizard Gigh Zack, and is already playlisted on MTV Base who describe the video as “a breath of fresh air.”
The band also inked a deal early last year with German manager Volker May who heads up the International Music Mangers Forum, that puts the band in a powerful position to take on Europe in the next few years.
Beyond this musical success, and in addition to creating some of the freshest sounds to hit the SA music scene, Trenton the activist and entrepreneur has also succeeded in developing the Cape Town and South African music industries through his various other roles.
Both Trenton and Thabo Mobo, the bands bass player run an NPO called Bridges for Music. The organisation was co-founded by Birch and Spaniard Valentino Barriosetta and works with music to break down racial divides, uplift underprivileged communities and bridge the gaps between the Cape Town townships and the city-centred mainstream music resources.
Just recently, they confirmed the start of construction on the long anticipated Langa township based Bridges for Music Entrepreneurial Academy. With a state-of the-art studio, classrooms and computer labs, the school will be a powerful tool for the development and empowerment of young creatives from the Langa community and surrounding townships.
Bridges for Music has also played a powerful role in helping put South African electronic music on the global map though its global ambassadors Skirillex, Ritchie Hawtin, Luciano and local Black Coffee.
Trenton is also the director of The SAE Institute, one of the country’s largest and most established audio, video and animation higher education institutions and the force behind Black Mango and the Breathe Sunshine African Music Conference
During his 4 years at the helm of SAE, Trenton’s initiatives have seen enrolment in the school more than triple. SAE’s celebrity driven scholarship programme, the brainchild of Trenton, has included partnerships with major music icons Ready D, Black Coffee, Young Guru (Jay Z’s engineer) and most recently AKA with the recently launched AKA Scholarship being the most successful of these initiatives to date, drawing more than five times the normal applications. SAE is the largest provider of creative media education in the world with over 50 campuses in 24 countries.
All of these accomplishments have been achieved in just the last 4.5 years when Birch returned to South Africa after an 8-year escapade in London that also saw him working in places like Ibiza, New York, Amsterdam and Berlin on various projects including promoting Johnny Clegg and releasing Goldfish’s first album internationally.
Trenton and Free Radical, driven by the personal drive and passion of Trenton Birch, reflects the bigger commitment that Trenton has to the South African music scene, “It is only through a collective positive movement that we can change things in our country. There is too much apathy and people distract them selves with an unhealthy obsession with money, brands and alcohol. We’ve lost the spirit of Ubuntu and if we don’t get it together we are in trouble.”
To check out the new single No Ceiling, the quirky video that accompanies the song visit and summer tour dates: