The power of infectious beats

Singer Dameer breaks the stigma of mental health through catchy tunes

01 Mar 2021 / 11:55 H.

At an age where most youths are just starting to discover their passions, 20-year-old Dameer Khan has been busy making headlines for his artistic craft. At age 17, Bangladesh-born Dameer was signed by Majestic Casual Records, a prominent Berlin-based music label in the indie music scene.

Coming from a family of musicians, Dameer is looking to make his own mark in the world with fresh and unconventional music.

Dameer’s musical journey first began in high school when he would frequently upload his songs on Soundcloud. “I was slowly getting traction. Considering how small Bangladesh is, when you make a splash, people listen,” he says cheerfully.

“And as soon as I gained more confidence, I started DMing my songs to a bunch of Youtube channels and music labels.”

Fortunately for him, Majestic Casual Records replied and signed him instantly.

Since then, this Dhaka native has been actively making music, even moving to Malaysia to pursue his craft. Currently, he is hard at work promoting his upcoming record, We Are Distant, which includes the track Believe. The song’s music video, released last November, was directed by film and music director Adam Sinclair, husband of renowned Malaysian singer Yuna.

Coming from a rich and beautiful country like Bangladesh, how have your roots influenced your music?

“Conversation is a very integral part of Bangladeshi culture. We love talking to each other sincerely. And I think in all of my music, there is an honesty towards how absurd life is, and how neurotic people are.

“But no matter how messed up life is, life is still worth living and people are still worth loving. So honesty and sincerity is a big part of Bengali culture that I think is present in my music.”

In the video for Believe, you incorporated some elements of Chinese culture. What inspired your decision to do so?

“Adam Sinclair and I are massive fans of Wong Kar-wai. So, the entire music video is based on movies like In the Mood for Love (2000) and Chungking Express (1994). We were directly inspired by those movies. That’s why we wanted to go with the classic Hong Kong neon lights and 90’s aesthetic.

“And when you listen to the song, you have the beat that is super steady.

“I have been listening to it since [its release] and all it reminded me of was the classic neon Wong Kar-wai Hong Kong vibes. And Adam felt the same thing. Since we were massive [fans], it was cool to pay homage to him.”

Your single, Sun, speaks of your relationship with your mother. Have you always been brave to tackle such personal and daring topics?

“Yes, I think you have to be. Again, I really want to be honest about how absurd life is. I love pop music. Its pure escapism. It allows you to forget about your worries, but for me, I am more interested in writing about trauma, mental health, where and who you grew up with and what that does to your life, and really get into the complexity of life.

“I think a lot of my songs deal with that. A song like Believe deals with the aftermath of a bad relationship. If you look into the lyrics, it speaks about coming from a really bad relationship, and how it affects you when you decide to get back to the game.

“As for Sun, it speaks about the conservative culture I grew up in. When I was growing up, I knew I wanted to be out there. I knew I wanted to be loud and rebellious and to express myself.

“But that was just not accepted. I was always considered too loud. So, the song is about allowing yourself to be free, expressing yourself and being honest with the world. That’s exactly what I want to write about. I love handling tough issues, especially when it comes to trauma.”

Would you collaborate with other musical acts to further push your sound?

“Absolutely! I mean just being around Yuna gave me so many ambitions. It would be a dream come true to be able to work with her. I also had the pleasure of getting to know other Malaysian artistes like Nadhira and SonaOne. They are some of the nicest people.

“There’s also a really cool indie rock scene here that I have been paying attention to. There are also some venues here where I would like to play. One of them is the Bee at Publika. It’s a super cool venue.”

What has been your favourite thing about Malaysia so far?

“I have had the best time. I have travelled around a lot. I have been to Langkawi, Penang, Alor Setar and Cameron Highlands. I think the natural beauty of this country is awesome. The food is also great. I remember the first time I tried Village Park nasi lemak, it was mind blowing. I just love the culture and my friends here.”

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