Darian P. Gray
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Darian P. Gray

Oakland, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2018

Oakland, California, United States
Established on Jan, 2018
Band R&B Pop




"Hip-hop group Dynamic (aka the Best of the Bay) makes their way to Zenbu"

Contributed by Morgan Kriz/Tahoe World
Thursday, 20 March 2008

Labeled “One of the best hip-hop bands of the Bay,” by the San Francisco Chronicle, Dynamic will be
performing at Squaw Valley’s night life lounge Zenbu Tapas Lounge, at 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 22. Labeled “One of the best hip-hop bands of the Bay,” by the San Francisco Chronicle, Dynamic will be performing at Squaw Valley’s night life lounge Zenbu Tapas Lounge, at 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 22.

Blending genres such as roots, rock and soul, just to name a few, Dynamic is inventing universal music that can no doubt be considered classic. Zenbu owner Daryl Butterfield said he feels lucky to get Dynamic up in Tahoe. “These guys are really talented and have a great style that is going to get the people dancing. This is a live hip
hop funk jazzy act. We’re talking drums, guitar, bass, horns, keys, emcee, and sexy female vocalist. Very much like old school Brand New Heavies style. This is a show that you’re not going to want to miss.”

Led by hip-hop drummer and lyricist Darian Gray (of OIGC, FY Carol), Dynamic journeys into the culmination of urban culture by funneling the thoughts and sentiments of every day life through the soulful stylings of vocalist Kimiko Joy (of Omega Rae, Goapelle), evolutionary keyboardist Colin Hogan (of Agua Libre, Brass Mafia), multi-faceted string extra
ordinaires, bassist Tommy “Gun” Folen (of Realistic Orchestra, Destiny Wolf) and Jon Monahan (of
Felonious) and brass blowing spirit, trombonist Jeanne Geiger (of Uptones, Realistic Orchestra).

Dynamic’s most notable performances have taken place in venues such as Temple Bar (Santa Monica, Calif.), Great American Music Hall (San Francisco, Calif.), Shattuck Down Low (Berkeley, Calif.), Elbo Room (San Francisco,
Calif.) and Bruno’s (San Francisco, Calif.). The group has even held residency at San Francisco’s infamous Boom Boom Room.

Dynamic presents the intensity that is evident in today’s society; life in an ever changing, ever evolving world.

Dynamic’s self-titled “EP,” the group’s follow-up album to “Photosynthesis,” is a sonic collage of eleven original songs like “Middle of the Madness,” “Hitch Hiking,” “Left Side Limp” and “Sucka Punch.” Dynamic’s music has the power to uplift, unite and provoke positive societal change by building a vibrant functional community.

For more information, visit www.dynamicliveband.com, or www.zenbusquawvalley.com. Tickets are $5 at the door. Here is a link to a few live cuts (kinda raw as they have not been engineered) that will give you an idea of what the band has been doing recently and how Darian and Kimiko interact on stage: http://www.dynamicliveband.com/livemusic/09wildflowers.mp3

Tahoe World Associate Editor Morgan Kriz had the chance to interview Kimiko Joy via email last week:

Tahoe World: Has Dynamic ever performed in the Tahoe area?

Kimiko Joy: No.

TW: How long has the group been together?

KJ: In its current form with Kimiko Joy as front lady we’ve been together 3 years but the group has been together 7 years total.

TW: What is some of the history of Dynamic?

KJ: Dynamic started at Cal State East Bay as a progressive jazz quintet by Dan Parenti (amazing bass player). The drummer/mc, Darian Gray, was also in a hip-hop live band which featured 6 mc’s total, called Urban Icons. Eventually, Urban Icons and Dynamic joined forces and created Urban Dynamic. Over time, only Darian and one other mc from Urban Dynamic (Shawny Bo) remained in the group, now called Dynamic. It was this configuration that was successful at creating and releasing their first EP called “Photosynthesis.”

While this was in creation, Darian was the drummer of a group called XROADS which featured Kimiko Joy on lead vocals. Dynamic featured Kimiko Joy on two tracks of Photosynthesis and slowly incorporated her into the group as vocal support at shows. When Shawny Bo left to do his solo project Kimiko Joy was in prime position to step in as lead vocals for Dynamic. The group collaborated on new material and released their self titled EP “Dynamic” as a quartet.

The sound and energy of the group attracted other musicians to be involved in the writing and performing process. The current line up of the group is: Kimiko Joy-vocals, Darian Gray-drums/mc, Colin Hogan-keys, Tommy Folen-bass, John Monohan-guitar, Jeanne Gieger-trombone and Marcus Stephens-sax.

TW: Did most of the members grow up in California?

KJ: Yes. Everyone was born and raised in the Bay except Darian Gray who was born in Memphis Tennessee.

TW: Is this everyone’s full time job … making music or are the members focused on other activities, jobs, etc.?

KJ: No. We all have other groups, jobs, family responsibilities, etc., but this is our passion and we give all we can to the group. The long term goal is to take Dynamic all over the world, to the far ends of the earth, packi - Tahoe World

"Hip-hop takes the stage"

Eric K. Arnold

Sunday, January 14, 2007

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It's Saturday night and El Rincon, a Mission District restaurant-bar, has it going on. DJ Strategy spins the latest hyphy hits by the Federation, E-40, Mistah FAB, Turf Talk and Too ; the floor is filled with Asian, Latina and black women in their 20s, who gyrate gleefully while their boyfriends and would-be boyfriends bunch up at the bar. Equal exuberance is shown for older material by James Brown, Common, and Eric B. & Rakim. The crowd isn't all youthful, however; there's at least one older couple seated at a back table.

All of a sudden, the recorded music stops. A conga-drum-fueled Latin percussion groove takes over, followed by punchy horns and a driving bass line. The evening's headliner, Bayonics, has taken the stage.

Jairo, Bayonics' lead singer, croons in Spanish, followed by a rapper, June, who lends a sense of urgency to the proceedings. After another salsa-fied percussion break, another emcee, Dreese, lays down his rhymes. The crowd is immediately transfixed. Shouts of "ay ay" fill the air, and when Jairo asks the audience to say "It's all right," they happily comply.

By 1:15 a.m., a full-on reggaeton -- a mixture of cumbia, reggae and rap -- session has developed, in which the sweat-drenched crowd eagerly participates. Jairo dances with audience members as the band chants, this time in English, "Shake that thing, work that thing."

For those used to watching rappers posture onstage by themselves, or backed by a DJ, experiencing a group like Bayonics is a real eye-opener. As Jairo later explains, hip-hop is "definitely the easiest way" to reach young people these days. However, "when you see a live band playing hip-hop, it kinda blows your wig back."

Some call it a movement. Others say it's a revival. But there's no denying that the blending of hip-hop with live instrumentation and a variety of other genres -- including funk, jazz, salsa, reggaeton and rock -- is one of the freshest, most happening things going in the Bay Area's multicultural music scene.

The idea of a band fusing hip-hop with live instrumentation is far from an anomaly in the Bay Area -- it's part of local tradition. During the mid-'90s heyday of the acid-jazz era, groups like Alphabet Soup, the Mo'fessionals, the Broun Fellinis, Mingus Amungus and Jungle Biskit enthralled hipster crowds at such San Francisco venues as the Up & Down Club and the Elbo Room. For these artists, soul, jazz and hip-hop were all interchangeable elements of the musical mix. But though acid jazz eventually fell out of fashion, the music never stopped -- it's just taken on new forms.

As Candida Martinez, a club booker who's been one of the biggest supporters of local bands, points out, "Some of the very same players (are) still on the scene as you had a decade ago."

What has changed since the dot-com era, Martinez says, is that a lot of live-music venues have reopened under different management as "swanky DJ bars with expensive drinks." For that reason, "venues like Bruno's, the Elbo Room, the Independent, Mezzanine, Shattuck Down Low and Yoshi's are very precious because they work to preserve and present good live music."

Currently, the Bay Area is home to numerous groups that blend live instrumentation with hip-hop beats and rap vocals. A partial list includes Bayonics, Dynamic, Crown City Rockers, Agualibre, J.Boogie's Dubtronic Science, Flipsyde, the Coup, Lyrics Born, Blackalicious, L.A.E., Felonious, Inspector Double Negative and the Equal Positives, Bucho, Spearhead and Raw Deluxe. Each has its own nuances and stylistic influences yet, put together, they add up to a remarkably diverse, if still mostly underground, movement.

As Bayonics' Jairo puts it, "musicianship in itself" qualifies as a movement. Noting that school music programs have been severely underfunded, he laments that today's kids would rather emulate Jay-Z than Sonny Rollins. "Everyone wants to be a rapper. No one wants to pick up the saxophone."

The upshot is that local musicians have had to become more savvy about self-promotion to survive -- MySpace and YouTube have helped in this regard. In the process, the sites have created a community of like-minded artists who have found their groove and are beginning to find their audiences. As Jairo says, Bayonics' monthly residency at the Elbo Room is "packed tight. You can't even move."

Bayonics' multifaceted sound could be seen as the hip-hop generation's answer to the Latin fusion of the '70s -- think Malo and Santana, minus the guitar pyrotechnics and with a more street-wise style. Getting that sound has been an evolutionary process. The band started six years ago as a traditional salsa group, Mala Fama, that emerged out of the Loco Bloco drum ensemble.

"We all grew up doing folkloric music," Jairo explains. After-hours jam sessions led to excursions into funk and hip-hop -- w - san francisco chronicle

"Q&A with Oakland musician/Bay Rising winner Darian Gray"

By guest blogger Maria Ginsbourg

Dynamic lead drummer, singer and songwriter Darian Gray describes his band as a mix of hip-hop, R&B, rock, soul, reggae and drum & bass.

I interviewed Gray a few hours before he competed in Wednesday night’s Bay Rising music competition in San Francisco, in which the band ended up winning prizes worth more than $10,000. Gray told me that Dynamic intended to win. He also told me that he had a cold, but that didn’t stop him from singing his heart out.

M.G : How did the band form?

D.G: The band formed at Cal State Hayward. I was in a progressive jazz group, a quintet. Dan Pariti started it. We played small events –- school, at the Hayward Bistro. I was in a hip-hop band, too.

M.G.: Where do you find inspiration for your songs?

D.G.: In real life. Things that happen in stores, home, work, or cars.

We have a song called “First Battle.” It’s about how if you’re going to do something wrong, you have to fight a battle within yourself.

Usually the band sits down and plays anything. My philosophy is, “Let’s play something that we’ve never played before.” Someone will play bass, or a drumline or a rift, and we’ll build around it. We’ll just see what the song says, and what it feels like.

“Heavy Time,” one of our songs, is a mix of rock and reggae. It feels heavy. So we called it (Heavy Time) because of that and because of the heavy things going around us: wars, gas prices, and people losing their houses. I live in Oakland , and I hear police sirens and gun shots every night.

For lyrics, I think of concepts like Heavy Time, and think ‘What would be a dope opening line?’ I hate to sound cheesy, but ‘What would sound really cool to say?’ So once I get through that, the rest falls into place.

M.G.: Where do you see your band going?

D.G.: To Venus, to the sun, to different universes. We are trying to get as far as we can, but it’s difficult because we don’t have much funding. That’s why we’re doing things like (band battles.) We’re trying to do as many big shows as we can — Greek theatre, Concord Pavilion…

M.G.: What are your thoughts going into Bay Rising?

D.G.: I want to be my best. I want to do our best, and I think our best would entice people to come see our music. That’s what I want to do. I’ll go see shows and feel inspired to go make some music. That’s what I want to do.
- by Kari Hulac ~ August 28th, 2008

"Dynamic wins Bay Rising music battle"


By guest blogger Angela Hart

The energy building all night at the second annual Bay Rising music competition Wednesday in San Francisco blew up with the final band, Dynamic, which took first place, claiming $10,000 in prizes.

The band, which formed seven years ago at Cal State Hayward, said they take their real-life feelings like political angst or love and translate them into songs. Dynamic delivers their energy with a saxophone player, two guitarists, a trombone player, keyboardist and a female lead singer’s powerful vocals.

Their sound is as smooth as soul, filled with heart-thumping hip-hop and a voice that could top Beyonce’s — with a jazz undertone.

All their beats of the drum and belts of the voice can move forward now, with the prizes they’ll get from winning the competition at the Great American Music Hall. The Bay Area band can finally record their first full album with a five-day recording package at Yonas Media West Recording Studio, including mixing and mastering. Dynamic will receive loads of other prizes, including $1,000 for CD manufacturing and artist development.

“We’ve been waiting to record our full album for more than a year,” said lead vocalist Kimiko Joy, who kept her vocal cords and the audience hot even at six months pregnant.

The build-up to the final victorious band was no tread though.

A BandsOfTheBay.com website member (and guest artist at the site’s launch party at Red House last spring), the French Casettes, claimed second place. They rocked the crowd with droning guitar and vocals that can’t help but remind a listener of Led Zeppelin or the Strokes. Their influences range from Neutral Milk Hotel to Miles Davis.

Third place was Joel Streeter — who strummed his acoustic guitar through a mix of electronic instruments, and surprised listeners with the mix of country twang/bluegrass and modern rock. Ballsy.

Weather Pending coaxed the audience, firing up the battle with soothing high vocals and heavy electronic influences. BOTB.com members The Dandelion War shook their maracas and tapped their xylophone underneath Larry Fernandez’s high and low vocals, — with the lead singer’s mother among the appreciaters.

- by Kari Hulac ~ August 28th, 2008


Still working on that hot first release.



Darian Gray Drummer, Pianist, MC & Vocalist, Darian Gray is one of the most exciting and eclectic drummers, and all-round musical talents on the contemporary music scene, and the drummer of choice for R&B legends such as Booker T Jones (of MGs fame) and Fantastic Negrito. In live performance, Darian’s vibrant drumming, passionate rapping ¬- his powerful delivery mimicking a percussion instrument - and consummate MC skills are an asset to some of the world’s most exciting acts, with Darian contributing yet further energy and musical depth. Darian’s cutting-edge performance skills rest on the solid foundations of a formal musical education, having attended college at Cal State East Bay where he majored in classical piano and percussion. Memphis-born Darian is able to add contemporary rap twists to R&B classics such as Hip Hug Her, contributing a new and unexpected dimension to classic tracks, whilst fully respecting the original version. It is therefore no surprise that he is highly sought-after by performers in the San Francisco Bay Area who are looking for a great musical talent, and a charismatic and engaging personality for their shows, one who is able to comfortably span the most diverse musical genres, including R&B, reggae, pop, gospel, hip-hop, and jazz. In addition to playing drums for great artists - who include, aside from the already-mentioned Booker T and Fantastic Negrito, people like Cee Lo Green and Anthony Hamilton - Darian has also recorded and performed with his own band Dynamic, which he founded with his wife Kimiko Joy. Darian’s musical talent runs deep through his life: the son of a trumpet player and a singer, he started playing drums at two, and did his first gig at six. Among Darian’s many notable live performances are appearing in front of a one-million strong crowd with Booker T in Brazil, and appearances on The Kelly and Michael Show and The Jay Leno Show. Listed below are a few of the performers he has accompanied on drums: Booker T. Jones, AKA (Booker T, formerly Booker T and the MGs) Ledasi Lyrics Born Goapele Jack West Zap Mama Faye Carol Sugar Pie DeSanto Tony Furtado Oakland Interface Gospel Choir (OIGC)

Band Members