Our latest interview comes with one of the hottest producers in dancehall, Damage Musiq, who has take over the sound of 2019 with the ‘Miami Heights’ and ‘Conquest Paradise’ Riddim and the huge tracks that both these riddims featured. Damage Musiq talks to us about his origins, the current dancehall scene and his plans for 2019 in our latest exclusive interview.
Let’s start with your origins as a producer, when did you originally begin producing?
Damage Musiq: “2014, was when I did my first major project, the Civil War Riddim, which featured artists like Masicka, Teejay and Demarco. Recorded most of the work on Union Street in Montego Bay.
I’ve been a part of music since 2007, since I left high school”
Growing up what were some of the big influences on your decision to pursue a career in music?
Damage Musiq: “My dad had a soundsystem. So it all happened naturally, I always realised the influence of music and always had writing skills. Music has always been my whole passion”
So what are some of the events that took you from where you were when you started in 2007, to being one of the biggest dancehall producers in Jamaica in 2019?
Damage Musiq: “I would say it’s a journey. There are different stages of evolvement, getting studio equipment, you have to take it step by step
Music itself changes, the game is moving into more different sounds”
Through this process what have been some of the moments that you have really noticed your music connecting internationally?
Damage Musiq: “Was first in the Caribbean travelling outside of Jamaica. I’m always thinking and trying to connect with what is happening”
What can you see changing in dancehall at the moment?
Damage Musiq: “A sense of evolvement, people are getting tired, dancehall is not a growing market, there are a lot of young and new artists in this new generation that are building their own new sound”
So your first riddim of 2019 was the ‘Conquest Paradise’, what was the aim and origin of the riddim?
Damage Musiq: “Thinking about going through a lot of struggles, something properly structured. 2018 I decided to relate our struggles back, something for the nation, inspiration”
Did you think that Tommy Lee’s ‘Blessings’ was going to have the effect that it went on to have when you first heard it?
Damage Musiq: “I felt like it was going to be on of his biggest songs and it has gone on to prove me right. Number 1 on all platforms”
When you send an artist a riddim are you particularly instructive with how you want the tracks to sound?
Damage Musiq: “Not really instructive, I might send an idea or a topic. I relate to them. For example, Singer J, told him his high clarity on the ‘Conquest Paradise’ riddim would sound like a prayer and went on to record ‘Prayer'”
So with your new riddim ‘Miami Heights’ what were you picturing when you came into that?
Damage Musiq: “A party style that goes with the feeling and the vibe of Miami”
Did you also aim to theme the ‘Conquest Paradise’ Riddim in a similar way?
Damage Musiq: “Even the name, I was looking to take over paradise with military force”
With the ‘Miami Heights’ Riddim you also issued a challenge for new artists to feature on the riddim, is embracing new talent always one of your goals?
Damage Musiq- “Yes it’s instrumental, you have to build the young ones, artists in dancehall are hungry”
What has the reception been like so far for the ‘Miami Heights’ Riddim?
Damage Musiq: “There is a frenzy for the Jahvillani, I Octane’s ‘Uptown’ has had a big reception ever since it debuted at Boasy Tuesdays, Teejay is having living like a ‘Baller’ like Leon Bailey on his track. The reception has been great”
Since you have produced some of the biggest tracks this year in dancehall, I thought I’d ask you which tracks have been most overlooked this year from your riddims?
Damage Musiq: ” Tamo J’s ‘Victory and Gott Yo’s ‘I Promise’ from the Conquest Paradise Riddim”