Last week, I had the pleasure of making a quickie trip down to Bellingham, Washington for the 10th annual Downtown Sounds. To sum it up, it was a hell of a lot of fun! The Bellingham crowd sure taught me a thing or two about how to get down on music. It was really amazing to see how the entire music-loving community gathered around the 1300 block on Bay Street to support local musicians and throw down a dance party.
The main show was put on by The Prime Time Band, another Bellingham-based group. It was their last ever show before the members part ways to go on to do more amazing things individually. I got to ask a few questions to the founder of the band, Jonathan Gipaya (instagram @jonathangipaya).
Key Board & Band Leader: Jonathan Gipaya - Drums: Maximo Mendizabal - Bass: Owen Whitcomb - Percussion: David Pender Lofgren - Guitar: Aidrien Wilkins - Original Bassist/Guest: Alex Nelson - Horns: Nick Wees (trumpet), John Meloy (tenor/bari sax), Andy Osborn (alto sax), Jimmy Austin (trombone), Frank Vitolo (guest tenor sax) - Vocals: Justin Gipaya, Rashawn Scott, Jill Quinto - Guest Vocals: Craig Jewell, Michael Harris, Sarah Edwards
When did the band first get together? Any inspirations for the group?
"The band got together at the end of 2010, but we didn't really rehearse or play gigs until later in 2011. Most of the rhythm section was already playing in the pep band I directed, also known as the Viking Band and we were covering a lot of funk/soul tunes. The inspiration for the group was to start a large 12-piece band of friends and to play original music that was inspired by the sounds of Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, etc."
Any proud moments you shared as a group?
"There are tons of proud moments that I keep dear to me! One that stands out to me at the moment is the band's hard work on learning the material of Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder songs. This is very tough music and it's hard to: 1. learn the material 2. bring it all together with a huge band and make it sound great. One of our proudest moments was the ability to put on these tribute shows and make it sound amazing."
Most memorable show that The Prime Time Band put on?
"Every band member's answer will vary, but I would have to say our last show. It was great to bring everyone back together. In the amount of time we've been away, it felt like we've been playing music together all of the months that we've been separated. The band would agree with me on this and would probably add 2012's show at Downtown Sounds and our Stevie Wonder Tribute."
Most memorable/interesting fan?
"Rachel is well-known throughout Bellingham as a woman who comes to a lot of shows and really gets down. She's been to every one of our shows and has made her dancing a contagious movement through the crowd. We always appreciate the fans that have supported us through the years!"
What are some future plans for you & the members?
"The Prime Time Band has played its last show together, but the members and myself are not done with our future endeavours and definitely not done playing music together either. A lot of us have graduated or are in the process of graduating from WWU. Most of the musicians in the band will continue to play in multiple groups in their city and continue to pursue other musical goals. Besides music, there are a lot of great things going on in the band and I'd invite you and anybody else that is interested to follow the band members on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to continue to support these amazingly talented friends of mine."
The show was perfect - the sunset as the backdrop, paired with the funky jams, completed with mad dance moves. Like Jonathan said, the musical journey will never end for the crew. They are all wonderful and incredibly nice people. As for me, I will definitely be following up on what they'll be up to next!