Hawija, Iraq – Most things that go bump or thump in Iraq typically cause Soldiers to seek cover, but for Soldiers at Forward Operating Base McHenry, the bumps and thumps coming from one building on base actually draws a crowd.
A group of Soldiers, lead by Spc. Damanion A. Washington, with Forward Support Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry, developed a sound studio on base where they can create music from scratch.
“I was working on music [at home], but when I got here I still wanted to continue that process,” said Washington, a native of Greenville, Miss.
Washington said one of his sergeants listened to the music he developed while he was at home and thought enough of it to help him find a location on the base to set up a studio.
Washington, with the help of a crew of about five Soldiers, took a 6′ by 6′ storage area on base and converted it into a fully functioning studio, complete with a sound booth.
“It’s little, but we work with it,” said Washington.
According to Washington, he and his crew focus mainly on hip-hop and rap, but they do throw in a little rhythm and blues from time to time.
Washington added that he spends most of his free time in the studio.
“Music is my joy; my passion,” said Washington. “I love doing this.”
Though the studio was Washington’s idea, he said a number of Soldiers who share his passion have been crucial in its development.
The crew combined resources to gather the needed equipment to make the studio function.
One of those members is Pfc. Morris. D. Anderson, with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry.
Anderson said he started developing music before the deployment and is now pleased to be able to continue that creative process here. However, Anderson said that is not the only thing the studio does for him.
“[The studio] is a place where I get away; get my mind free from the drama and stress that trouble my mind throughout the day,” said Anderson, a native of Pensacola, Fla.
Another member of the crew is Pfc. Jacob T. Cherry, also with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry.
Cherry is a self-proclaimed producer, creating tracks of music for others to lay their lyrical style.
To make his beats, Cherry uses computer software to engineer every little thud, thump and bump. He said he listens to lot of different music, from rap to blues, to develop his creations.
“I take it piece by piece and put everything together,” said Cherry, a DeFunika, Fla. native.
Though Cherry loves the studio, most his time is spent in his living quarters producing his tracks.
Once he is satisfied with his creation, he works with other members of the crew to put words to his beat. After that is complete, he and the lyricist head to the recording booth to match the beat with the rhyme.
They have soundproofed the studio as best they can, and try to keep it down as to not disturb the neighbors.
“We try not to get too loud,” said Washington.
Right now Washington and his crew are just working on various musical projects but hope to one day put it all together.
“At the end of day, I just would like my music heard,” said Washington. “Everyone is putting in hard work and doing their thing.”
“Hopefully some day we will be signed, if things go that way.”