By day, Jermaine Landon is a simple restaurant manager. But when the sun goes down, he becomes “Jermaine Landon: King of the Freakin’ Night!”
Partygoers, club-hoppers and other nocturnal dwellers around the Triangle know that the Winston-Salem-bred, Chapel Hill-based Landon has been planning and promoting parties in the area for nearly seven years, organizing throwdowns for such spots as The Standard in Chapel Hill, The Station in Carrboro and Solas in Raleigh. He’s also been known to spin records under the name DJ Jermainia.
Starting when he conceived a weekly Sunday night get-together called “STIR,” which is still going strong at Chapel Hill’s East End Martini Bar, Landon has been the go-to guy for club/bar/restaurant owners looking to bring in young, hip folk and a lively, party atmosphere.
That’s kind of how “Skummer Jam,” his latest project going down this Saturday at Local 506 in Chapel Hill, came to be.
“Local 506 approached me about doing a party for them,” said Landon, 32. “They wanted me to throw together something in July, and I said, ‘Let’s wait and do something a little bigger when the students get back, and I want to do kind of an end-of-summer sort of thing.’”
With the event’s title lifted from New York radio station Hot 97 FM’s yearly “Summer Jam” concert, Landon said he wants to keep the theme for “Skummer” ambiguous – mostly because he hasn’t exactly figured out the theme yet.
“I like to keep it kind of nebulous because a lot of these parties define themselves,” he said. “…As the party defines itself, I’ll incorporate that… I wanted to do something a little less glossy from the other nights that I do.”
Georgia-born, Chapel Hill-based DJ Taylor Houchens (better known as Nightwerk), who will be spinning along with Landon at the event, finds the enigmatic nature to be refreshing.
“Mystery’s appealing, too,” said Houchens. “Sometimes, I’ll look at the flier and I’ll be like, ‘I still don’t know what the heck this is!’ But it’s cool because things get pegged real easily and (people are like), ‘Oh they’re playing this? I don’t wanna go.’”
However, for this particular jam, Landon did want to merge hip-hop and electronic dance music in an attempt to show they can co-exist.
“I wanted to do an event that kind of meshes hip-hop and EDM together in one party, as opposed to kind of splitting them up,” he said. “I want rap to be next to some funky, U.K. bass sort of music. So, we’ll see how it goes.”
Just as he wants to mix the music for “Skummer,” he also wants the audience to be mixed: young, old, black, white – everyone is invited. And even though his nights usually attract an LGBTQ clientele, Landon, who is gay, is not looking to coddle LGBTQ night owls.
“I just had a meeting with a bar the other day and one of the first things I said was, ‘Don’t think that gay people need to be catered to in a certain way,’” he said. “So, just because it’s a gay night doesn’t mean you have to have a rainbow flag up, you know. Some people just want to party just like they do on the weekends.”
Landon is looking to throw more seasonal parties at Local 506 – he’s already coming up with ideas for winter and spring jams.
“The idea is to use a little bit of what I know, which might not be much, to help 506 get into kind of the dance-party spirit,” he said. “Because dance parties, they bring in a lot of money. The crowds are respectful. The music is fun, and everyone usually has a good time. So, I think the club is looking to do something kind of more regular, and I wanna be the person that does that for them.”