An interview with “Democracy” lead singer Damie Caines
by Mike Sales
The sign outside of the place they picked, simply read, “Democracy”, and since I hadn’t yet heard of the band, I didn’t know what to expect.
With the first chest-pounding bass notes, came thundering out of the speakers, suspending the powerful and beautiful vocal harmonies of Oswald Caines and his son Damie, there was no more mystery…Democracy was a Reggae band.
They’ve been a Reggae band in the Tampa Bay area for decades, first with Oswald and then later, with Damie joining. To watch the band is always a treat. The two obviously love singing and their voices are truly beautiful and the sound always consistently thunderous and moving.
I interviewed Damie, lead singer of Democracy, as he was setting up at The Beach Club, where the band plays every Sunday night.
WPT: Where are you originally from?
Damie: St Kitts, in the West Indies.
WPT: When did you start singing?
Damie: When I was five, I started singing in the church choir back home.
WPT: When did you begin singing professionally?
Damie: When I was sixteen, I sang for the “Grand Masters”, a reggae band in the Caribbean.
WPT: How did you get to Sarasota?
Damie: I moved here in 1999. My dad had also sung in the “Grand Masters” and heard that I was doing well with them, so he brought me up here to America.
WPT: So, your Dad was already here?
Damie: Yes he moved here in the 80’s and started Democracy.
WPT: Do you write your own songs?
WPT: Do you include them in your shows?
Damie: Yes, we just started doing them.
WPT: So are there any songs we can find on iTunes?
Damie: I’m recording an album that will be released next summer entitled, “I’m a Soldier”. I just got linked up with a big reggae producer named Jah Mike. He’s worked with some very famous reggae artists.
WPT: How many gigs do you play every week?
Damie: One solo and eight band gigs.
WPT: So you have a few doubles. Any days off?
Damie: Well, we just recently got Tuesdays off, (laughs)
WPT: What are your goals for the future, do you want to be a solo artist or continue with the band?
Damie: I love the full sound of the band and working with my dad and I want to grow my career with him…that’s how I’m looking at it.
WPT: What can people expect when they come to see you?
Damie: Positive culture and good reggae music. Nothing negative, just “one love” music that teaches things about loving each other and living life.
WPT: The thing that sticks out for me is the way the sound hits me when I walk in the room. It’s just awesome, you guys have a huge sound.
Damie: Boom, kick it. (laughs) Yeah, my dad loves the heavy sound. He says, “anything lighter, it’s not reggae”. (laughs) He likes to make you feel it in your heart; you know what I’m saying?
WPT: What’s your favorite part about being a professional musician?
Damie: I like to see people having fun when I’m performing. I like my voice to pierce you. When I look out into the crowd and see someone really enjoying the song, I get a good feeling, like I’ve done what I came to do. I got your attention and now I get to say what I have to say in my music.
WPT: Who is your favorite local band to go see?
Damie: Tony Tyler’s Band, “Come Back Alice” and “Chameleon”
WPT: What is your message to your audience?
Damie: Music is life and life is music. (laughs) Without music this world would be a boring place. You express yourself through music. If you’re feeling sad, there’s a song about that. If you’re feeling happy, there’s a song about that. Music knows and expresses your feelings.
Democracy plays every Sunday at the Boatyard 4-8pm and the Beach Club 10pm-2am and other venues around the Tampa Bay area weekly.
The Boatyard is located at 1500 Stickney Point Rd, Sarasota, FL
The Beach Club is located at 5151 Ocean Blvd Siesta Key FL
Mike Sales is a local singer/songwriter. For more information visit mikesalessings.com