Do opposites attract? If you’re talking about TRiON, they sure do, and on top of that they make awesome music. Augie Ray and Jintae Ko are the masterminds behind the L.A.-based songwriting team. One is African-American, a soul and hip-hop master from the San Fernando Valley; the other, a Korean-American who grew up in Costa Rica revering rock and EDM. Now, after a steady rise as studio engineers, songwriters and producers, TRiON gets set for their most highly visible platform yet, signing with the Disney Music Group.
“We come from two different backgrounds,” says Jintae, referring to the duo’s divergent ethnic, biographical and musical histories. “But it just gives us a bigger palette to work with.” Adds Augie, “We put ideas together and fuse them into something different, not cookie cutter. The biggest thing is trust. We trust that whatever one contributes, it’s for the betterment of the record.”
Even before signing with DMG, TRiON had earned several credits, including co-production of “P.O.G.” and “More than a Woman,” two songs from the forthcoming album, “Help 2,” by Erica Campbell (of the Grammy-winning Gospel group, Mary Mary). They also contributed a remix of “Once Upon a Dream” on the Disney compilation album, “Dconstructed”. On his own, Augie co-wrote and produced the stunning debut album of soul singer Akelee, as well as a song on Heavy D’s album, “Love Opus.”
For Augie Ray, the path began in Northridge, one of L.A.’s sleepiest suburbs. He grew up playing trumpet and piano, and by his early teens he had begun rapping. A neighbor in the music business recognized his talent and gave Augie access to his home studio. By 16, Augie had written and recorded a solo album, and his course was set. The following year he began a mentorship with Fever Studios’ Warryn Campbell, who offered him experience in all aspects of the recording industry.
Two years later, a new intern joined the staff. Jintae Ko had moved to L.A. after attending music school in St Louis. But he had spent most of his life in Costa Rica, where his father had a job as a contractor. Fluent in three languages, at ease in multi-cultural settings, Jintae was most passionate about music. He played in bands and recorded tracks at home as a teen. Eventually he defied his parents’ hopes of medical school to return to the USA to pursue music.
Augie and Jintae flourished at Fever Studios, an experience they parlayed into smart career moves. Jin worked at the Record Plant, Larrabee Studios and the Boom Boom Room Studios where he honed his craft. Augie wrote and produced local artists. Then, success and respect began to come their way. As partners, the found they could go further by blending tastes, styles and skills. “It’s always about keeping fresh,” notes Jintae, “and saying things in ways that have never been said before.”
As the TRiON connection with Disney flourishes in the months ahead, both expect great things to happen, but mostly they expect the best from themselves. “It’s an ongoing process of discovering yourself,” says Jintae. “There are experiences you go through in life, and you rely on those to make something new and creative.”