Friday Night Cru delivers genre-bending style

Damani ‘Dash’ Gardner and Djavan ‘KinDah’ Warner have been friends since prep school.

There’s an undeniable theme of deviance woven in Friday Night Cru.

They’re a duo – an atypical construct in the current music industry climate – comprising Damani ‘Dash’ Gardner and Djavan ‘KinDah’ Warner. Though Jamaican, their sonic deviates from the expected reggae and dancehall style, and instead bears its roots in the 808s of hip hop and R&B music. For the more analytical minds, their name offers insight into the musical vibe in store, be it wavy, chill or ‘turn up’, not words often associated with the other weekdays.

“We love performing and working with local acts, but we’d love to show how diverse our music is and where it can go.”

— KinDah

Afrobeat-inspired track

Friday Night Cru brings these elements together in their latest release, Follow My Lead, an afrobeat-inspired number produced by Natural High Music. Though the novel coronavirus has most on lockdown, the single aces the illusion of a tropical paradise paired with a love interest and piña colada, if you may.

“This song is more so the foot forward to show people that we can do this (fuse local and international sounds)… we can step in this genre if we want to,” Dash told BUZZ. “It’s showing a dimension of our capabilities as artistes and the talent we have.”

The track was born from KinDah’s backpacking sojourn in Australia in 2018, and the duo recorded it alongside featured acts Tessellated and Amaarae.

Pristine visuals now accompany the track, and fans are loving it.

“People are saying it’s the hit they’ve been waiting for, and while they appreciate our other releases, it’s more specific to Jamaican culture, so it’s been doing well,” said Dash. “It’s been a really eye-opening experience to see how things can change quickly, and who you can get on the radar of. I hope it leads to more experiences.”

Longtime best friends

The love for music is a shared one between the 25-year-olds, who’ve been best friends since grade five at the Mona Preparatory School in Kingston. They started making music after progressing to different high schools.

“Back then my focus was on football. I really enjoyed making music with Dash, but it was more something we’d do on the side for fun,” KinDah said. “As we started gaining more fans and getting better at it, we started to take it more seriously and the passion for it grew.”

They built their genre-bending signature from an eclectic musical taste, and made their debut with the Austin Marc-produced Monáe in 2018, inspired by singer Janelle Monáe.

“We’ve put a lot of focus on marketing.”

— KinDah

“We created the song to be experimental; we knew we didn’t want to do the same thing Jamaicans are doing, and we wanted to have a feel of where we can go musically and what we like,” said Dash.

Approach to marketing

The track received props from fans, and even Monáe’s manager, though the duo had hoped the singer would see it.

Their approach to marketing, be it music, image or visuals, can be credited to their marketing degrees.

“We’ve put a lot of focus on marketing because I think a good marketing package with a good song is always the best way forward, and we always strive for a certain quality,” said KinDah.

“When you turn on your TV and see Drake, Travis Scott, and whomever, you see these really high quality, cool things. We want to show that these things are attainable for Jamaicans too. You don’t have to be in America to get world-class quality for your videos or photos, the talent is here.”

Friday Night Cru wants to make it big in the industry.

Debut EP

They hope to frequent the live circuit post-coronavirus and have plans for a debut EP by summer-end.

“We can’t say too much about it, but there’ll be a good amount of features from some known artistes,” said Dash.

While they aren’t collab-crazy, they name-dropped Bas, Travis Scott and Aminé as worthwhile collaborators.

“We love performing and working with local acts, but we’d love to show how diverse our music is and where it can go,” said KinDah. “Once the success comes, the next step is doing shows internationally and working with international artistes.”