Introducing… DaMonoway

Our Introducing... series focuses on artists who we think are worth shouting about. Here we have instrumental experimental hip-hop producer, DaMonoway.

Posted on Oct 28th, 2013 in Features and Interviews, DaMonoway / By Larry Day
Introducing… DaMonoway Here at Bearded we aim to shed light on acts who don't necessarily have giant labels or muscley budgets waving banners behind them. This Introducing series will focus on artists who we think are great, regardless of how much hype surrounds them or where their origin story lays.

Name: DaMonoway
Location: London, UK
Genre: Instrumental hip-hop/R&B
Contact: Facebook, Twitter
Events: Latest project Keys Open Doors recently(-ish) released.

21-year-old Deptford native Joshua Banwell, AKA DaMonoway, may have only been producing since the turn of the decade, but he's been sculpting noises since he was four. As a highly proficient multi-instrumentalist, he studied for a period at the Blackheath Conservatoire, honing his talents on the piano and guitar – now currently in his final year of university, he's putting his extensive knowledge to use and shattering preconceived notions of what a producer does, determined to be someone who shows off his musicianship and conjures more than “just 808s, rolled hi-hats and 3 note melodies.”

Influenced by Kanye West, N.E.R.D. and Quincy Jones, DaMonoway has recently returned to the spotlight after a two year bout of silence. While creating a yet-to-be-released LP of live arrangements, frustration and writer's block led to a new outlet of his talents as a producer; Keys Open Doors was born. Recorded in a week, it hurtles through a cavalcade of genres – from hip-hop to '80s rock, from pop to latin dance – and is purely instrumental. It's a summation of his growth since we last heard from him. It's not really an album in the traditional sense, more a platform for showcasing his talent and compositional strength. It's a finger buffet of choice tracks.

While some tracks on Keys Open Doors are reserved for sonic experimentation, like chilled-out '90s latin-trance cut 'Night Lights' or the neo-classical 'Silk (Interlude)', we also see a breadth of quasi-backing tracks from the beat-merchant. 'Vanilla' clicks and pulses. It's tropical, and chiptune synths careen behind bass wobs, and would be a unique choice to rap over. Tribal/post-dubstep 'Venus' is similar, boasting a heady Kanye feel. On this 8-track release, DaMonoway proves more than a few times that he's a truly original producer.

These, and his prior efforts, are the offerings of a producer with oodles of ingenious machinations. They're lucid, fascinating and a farcry from the standard we often hear talented rappers squandering themselves over – DaMonoway isn't afraid to break the mould here and try something thoroughly intriguing. It could easily go so very wrong, but not once does he disappoint, instead opting to shock and stun at every glorious twist.