11 Questions: Jonathan Gipaya

Some of you might know him from his work with the Western Viking Marching Band, other’s might recognize him from the Prime Time Band, or you might just know him as a man about town. Jonathan Gipaya is a breath of fresh air – hard working, honest, cool and extremely talented without ever leading on that he is. He’s what is good about this town and he is our 11 questions this month. Thanks to Jonathan for taking the time, it was our pleasure.


Who are you and where did you come from? 

My name is Jonathan Gipaya and I was born and raised in Mountlake Terrace, WA. I moved to Bellingham in 2007 after attending Eastern Washington University for two years. Graduated from Western Washington University, work for Apple Inc., play music professionally and do photography on the side. Did I mention I love long walks on the beach?


If you had to suddenly leave Bellingham forever, where would you eat your “last meal?”

This is a tough question because there are a lot of great places to eat here, but I’ve had some great memories at Boundary Bay and I would eat my “last meal” there with a bunch of my close friends.


What was your first favorite song as a child? What do you think about when you hear it now?

My favorite song as a child was Billie Jean. I remember getting ready for elementary school in the morning and my Dad would put on MTV (when it was good) and they occasionally played the music video for Billie Jean. As soon as my brother and I heard the song, we would run in the living room and would dance it up like crazy. What do I think about it when I hear it now? I am still a huge fan of the song. You can’t beat perfection. In my opinion, there’ll never be a song like this again. Pure magic.


What has been your proudest moment as the WWU Viking Band Director?

My proudest moment as the Viking Band Director at WWU was my first halftime show with the band. The Viking Band had never performed a halftime show in its history and it was my first year as the Director. We performed a Michael Jackson Tribute and collaborated with my cousin’s dance team from Seattle. Everyone worked so hard to make it happen and it was easily my proudest moment in the Viking Band.


Who have been your favorite local musicians to collaborate with?

Besides working with my talented friends in The Prime Time Band, I love collaborating with a bunch of musicians in Bellingham. Polecat has been so kind to invite me up on stage with them every time they play in town and I play in the Wild Buffalo’s Free Friday Funk Jams and it’s great to work with everyone involved. To name some particular individuals, it would be: Karl Olson, Aidrien Wilkins, Jeremy Elliott, Kevin Chryst, Mark Hunter and James Junior.


What was your first impression of Bellingham?

I visited WWU/Bellingham in March of 2007 and immediately fell in love with the campus and the city. There’s a great vibe here and it’s an absolutely beautiful place to live in. I’ve met some of my best friends here.


Do you have any good luck traditions before you perform?

Anytime I perform on trumpet, I always brush my teeth about an hour before I play. In my trumpet case’s side pocket, you’ll find toothpaste. If it’s an out of town gig, I’ll buy a toothbrush at a local grocery store. I also like to hang out with the musicians I’m performing with before the show, it feels less of a job and more like you’re playing a fun show with a bunch of friends.


Why do you love instagram so much?

Haha! Instagram and I go way back. To quote the hipster me: “I used instagram before it was cool.” One of my friends is related to one of the programmers and I got to test it out before they released it in October 2010. It’s just a great way to publicly share and express what you’re doing through photos. In a lot of ways, it reminds me a lot of what flickr was like back in the day. Follow me @jonathangipaya.


What is your “guilty pleasure” TV show?

I don’t really watch TV anymore, it’s usually Netflix and Hulu for me, but I love watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Please don’t judge me, it’s a really good TV show. I promise.


What’s the most expensive article of clothing you own? Tell the truth!

I love good deals when shopping for clothes, so I don’t spend too much on one single article of clothing. Except for one time when I went to Switzerland for a gig and I took some of my money and spent it on a ridiculously expensive dress shirt. I don’t want to name the exact price because I’m a little embarrassed by it, but let’s just say it’s more expensive than what I bought my iPhone for.


Duet with Celine Dion or Taylor Swift?

As much as I love the “Theme From Titanic,” T-Swift and I would kill it on a song together.