The making of Gargamel Recording Studio

March 07, 2019
 Sade Gardner
Electronic crossman Martin Mitchell.
Sade Gardner Electronic crossman Martin Mitchell.

When Martin Mitchell first met Mark Myrie, there was an ambitious spirit that grabbed his attention.

Mitchell, an electronic crossman, said he would see the teenager at Donovan Germain's Penthouse Studio on Slipe Pen Road in Kingston and it did not take long for the two to strike up a conversation.

Myrie, a deejay from Kingston's Salt Lane community, had big dreams of living life like a star.

"I was finishing off some wiring and doing some repairs at Penthouse when I became acquainted with him; this was before he even had a hit chune," Mitchell told THE STAR. "He used to come to me and say that he wanted to do the things that I did. I owned a boat and he used to talk to me about wanting to own a boat, and I would lecture him on how to buy a boat 'cause it wasn't expensive and hard."

Lectures formed into a friendship, and soon, Myrie became Buju Banton, a household name with Afro-conscious songs like Wanna Be Loved, Untold Stories and Destiny.

More than two decades ago, the deejay purchased land at 10 Carlise Avenue in Kingston to build a studio of his own, dubbed Gargamel Recording Studio. Mitchell was recruited for the process.

"He brought his equipment and called me and asked if I could install it for him. I think he designed the room and built everything himself with a carpenter," he recalled. "I remember the first recording he did in there he didn't even have a mic stand; we had to tie the mic to a broomstick."

Mitchell has since worked on repairs at the studio at Banton's request, while he served a drug-related sentence at a United States federal prison. He has visited the entertainer since his release on December 8.

"I visited him the other day and him turn to me and seh, 'you see all dem equipment we not using these days, you can take them'. It is some outboard equipment, two two-inch machines, a mixer and a full pro-tools rig. I don't know what I will do with them yet but I'm thinking of selling them because I do a lot of business with China," he said.

Mitchell is also at the helm of the repairs, maintenance and wiring at several of Jamaica's popular studios like Big Yard, Black Scorpio Studio and Stone Love.

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