Words by Jesse Serwer—
Yesterday we brought you the world premiere of The Skyward EP, a five-song project from the newly reunited De Tropix, the U.K.-based duo consisting of vocalist Cherry B and producer/vocalist Damon Bowen (a/k/a DJ Instinct). We suggest you M.I.A. fans listen closely, you might just hear the seeds of your girl’s next project: Cherry is a longtime hype gyal/dancer/backup vocalist for Maya, and it’s no secret that some of Ms. Apulgrasam’s hypest tracks have Cherry’s handprints all over them.
We spoke with Bowen about the group’s multi-year hiatus, reforming, the darker, moodier sound of The Skyward, and how being Vincy (Cherry grew up in St. Vincent, while Bowen is a Brit of Vincy extraction) influences their music.
LargeUp: You took a several years’ hiatus from this project-how come? What were some of the things you were doing in the meantime?
Damon Bowen: We never intended to have such a long break, but there was a lot going on. I became a dad, Cherry was building her house in the Caribbean and touring with M.I.A. Me and cherry didn’t speak for over a year and, at one point, I was ready to find a replacement or scrap the project altogether, but after a long talk and an airing of views, we managed to stay friends and get back to the music. In fact, I think we’re stronger now than we ever have been.
In that two years, Cherry was doing some shows with M.I.A and even managed to record the hook for her single “XXXO” and “Teqkilla,” which was a great look for her. I started a record label, A2B Records, with a business partner, putting out music we liked and thought people needed to be aware of. I also had a single out called “Lingerie” [and recorded] with Alabama3 frontman Larry Love on a project which will hopefully be coming out soon, started working on some development projects, the first being a female vocalist and songwriter called Jodie Deanna. I’ve also put out a few underground African house mixtapes. I’m loving the vibe of that stuff right now.