Rave on: One-man act drumming up interest
JANESVILLE—One-man bands date back hundreds of years.
Janesville's Jaime Winchell believes he's created a show that's never been done before.
The 31-year-old has combined his longtime love of playing drums with music sampling and an interest in club and house music. He calls the act Drum Rave, and he has been playing local shows for about a year.
“Bands come and go, and I really just wanted to be able to do something all by myself and not have to worry about that,” Winchell said. “I've never seen it before, and that's one of the reasons I wanted to do it so bad, because I don't know of anyone that has.”
Local music fans might recognize Winchell from such local acts “Automatic” and “End Fight Scene.” He grew up on the drums and started playing with bands around the time he graduated from Craig High School.
After having honed his craft for 10 years, Winchell began sampling—taking a portion of one sound recording and reusing it in a song. The art of sampling is widely used in dance and hip-hop music, among other genres.
Winchell also provides vocals, singing through a headset capable of transforming his voice in many ways.
“He has taken the band and modernized it, and he's taken the DJ and reinvented it,” said Mitzi Lu, who has assisted Winchell in booking gigs. “Jaime's taken the two worlds and made it entertaining, and that's what's exciting—you're a part of the show with him.”
On top of his standard drum set, Winchell's equipment includes a mixing board and a pair of panels that each holds nine sampler pads, each programmed to emit a different sound when hit with a drumstick. He can also roll through three or four pages of sounds on each pad in a single song.
It's a thought-provoking process he says has become more efficient. At first, it took him about two months to learn just three songs.
“I can take any sound that I want and put it in any sequence that I want,” Winchell said. “The biggest part is arranging it so I can hit it in sequence and still play drums at the same time. It's a lot of work.”
He does get some help from friends. Lee Coates acts as somewhat of a general manager and technician, and Joe Nowak helps program lights and fog machines that put the “rave” in Drum Rave. Lu helps pitch the act to potential venue owners and managers.
While it's fun to have a show that's unique, it also makes Drum Rave difficult to explain to someone who hasn't seen the act.
“It's almost impossible, so word of mouth has been really key around Janesville,” Winchell said. “There are some skeptics about a one-man show, but I just say, 'Wait til you hear it.'
“When they actually see what happens up there (on the stage), their eyes get real wide.”
Winchell can play 32 different songs, from popular hits such as Awolnation's “Sail” and Jason Derulo's “Talk Dirty” to lesser-known house songs with great dance beats. He's working to build his catalog to at least 50 songs in hopes of casting a wider net on regional venues.