Envisioning music with Director (Warrior Films) and Producer (Warrior Musick Productions), Dameon Gayle
Dameon Gayle, is to reggae and dancehall what Hype Williams is to hip hop. He grew up in Waterhouse and learned to play drum, keyboard and bass guitar by ear, as a child. By 18, he began hanging out with local musicians in his community including, Bob Andy. This early introduction to music would shape his life and career. More After The Jump…
“I was just sick pon the drums and the musicians in the local studio gave me a keyboard. I went from playing quiet church hymns to playing “Bang” reggae and Bob Andy would come and show me how to play inna di backa the yard. This opened me up to more music as a musician. Rance Chambers, the band’s leader introduced me to Courtland “Gizmo” White, the guitarist of Raging Fyah. I went to Courtland’s house and I was fascinated by his equipment – he ended up renting a room in my family home. It was during this time, that I learned how to build a riddim and realized that I liked it more than playing in a band. Devano was the first artist to sing over one of my beats.” –Dameon Gayle
Dameon acquired the skill of creating melodies and lyrics for the riddims he produced:
“This felt like I was solving a math problem when I would write melodies to match the riddim. Then I began working at True Friends studio as an engineer and musician before working in a studio near Calabar, (not sure if you know Jamaica but thats where Vybz Kartel went for high school). After this, I ended up living at this studio because I stop cutting my hair and mom was not comfortable with it, saying I was turning Rasta. Even though it was a depressing time in my life, my big break happened when Fantah Mojah invited me to play with his band as a Keyboardist for an upcoming tour. Now, most of the Fantah Mojah band members make up the Grammy-nominated band, Raging Fyah.”
Dameon begin building riddims for Ninja Ford (Sir Ford) and Fantah Mojah and some of these tunes became hits on local Jamaican radio stations. ” I wanted to be able to give an artist the full package – riddim, melody or song and video, but I lacked the the funds to pay someone to make a music video for the songs I wrote.” He rented equipment (cameras and lights) from Kirk Lee from Road Blocks and edited with the Sony Vegas Program. However, his plan did not come to fruition yet because while an artist usually liked his riddims and melodies, they expressed that his videos were” low budget and not professional looking.”
Dameon continued to hone his craft and make connections with artists, producers and directors. In 2010, he comprised his first compilation riddim , “Fresh Medz” featuring Fantah Mojah, Konshens, J. Miller, Chevaughn, Patexx, Wasp, Cali P, Devano, Stephanie, Ninja Ford (Sir Ford) and Hollow Point.
He followed up with the “Duplicity” and “Think Twice” riddims. Dameon shot the carwash themed video for Konshens, “Gal A Bubble” (one of his favorite works – produced by SubKonshus Music). There is a cameo appearance by Romeich of Romeich Entertainment at the video’s introduction.
This video impressed a lot of people in the music industry and a little after this, Dameon met his favorite artist, Busy Signal. Busy Signal invited Dameon to go on tour with him to serve as a “sound engineer, musician and video director” and Dameon jumped at the opportunity. During this time he shot the “Protect My Life’ video in Grenada and the country love themed video , “Come Over” (Missing You), “Jah Love” and more.
“ I loved Busy music since the song, “Step Out.” That song was so tough, so to meet him and then be invited to tour with him for three consecutive years, words can’t even express. I shot every Busy Signal video except for “Watch Out For This” during tour together, 2012-2015. To this day we are like brothers, in fact a lot of people think he is my blood brother.” (Dameon and Busy Signal pictured above)
“A lot of well-known artists, producers and directors began to appreciate the cinematography in my music videos.’ Dameon mastered how to work the camera(slow and side way camera motions, close up shots, drone use, aerial cinematography, conceptual depth and other special effects) and use proper lighting in addition to coming up with visual concepts to be in alignment with the song lyrics.
This self-taught director evolved from a novelist to a master in cinematography. Some of his notable works which resemble short theatrical films include Vybz Kartel- “Real Youth,” Konshens – “Bruk Off Your Back,” Exco Levi-“Siren” and Darrio “Just For Living.” Zbek Nelson gave a stellar performance in Vybz Kartel “Real Youth” and Exco Levi “Siren.”
In both performances, Zbek gives poignant facial expressions and a highly rated performance which allows the viewer to empathize with his characters, even though they are rough around the edges. (Pictured Above: Zbek Nelson)
“The music goes with what you see. I aim to marry the music and the vision.” (In Picture Below: Dameon and Tarrus Riley)
“For example in the, Exco Levi video, Zbek Nelson literally blew me away when I put the camera on him in the scene where the police had him cornered. Then the rest of the video shows everything in his life leading up to that point – his mother’s warnings, hanging with the wrong crowd, handling a gun. Then the video comes full circle to the scene at the beginning and his ultimate end, with a hail of gun shots by police.” Dameon is excited about his upcoming works featuring longer music videos for songs he produced with Konshens and Gwhizz. “I enjoy seeing songs I produced myself come to life.” (Dameon pictured below with Konshens).
With superb craftsmanship and a popular body of work (only a fraction included in this feature article), we at Boomshots Magazine are honored to be the first publication to honor this trailblazer in music and film.
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