Live music venue inspired by late son brings new platforms to the city

Live music venue inspired by late son brings new platforms to the city
November 02
11:19 2023

For as long as he can remember art and music have been a part of Jermaine Rodman’s life. As early as the age of nine, Rodman was being commissioned to do paintings and his love for music was birthed from listening to his grandmother play vinyl records while she cooked and cleaned on the weekends, and by the time he was in middle school he was DJing parties around the city. 

“The art came first. I didn’t really start taking music seriously until I was in middle school,” Rodman said. “Everybody else was getting toys, clothes and shoes…my mom will tell you with my allowance I’m going to get vinyl records. I’m getting cassette decks and turntables.”

Rodman’s love and passion for art and music continued to grow throughout middle school and high school. He traveled with the band, performed with the chorus, and his art projects were often chosen to be displayed at special exhibits. After high school, Rodman said music really started to take off. He started being booked to DJ in clubs, which led him into producing, which led him to engineering. Today, with about 40 years of experience under his belt, Rodman is the owner and CEO of Digital Lab Recordings, LLC, a professional grade studio located here in Winston-Salem. 

Before opening at his current location, Rodman had a small studio in the basement of a small business center downtown. “They had me in the basement because they didn’t want me upstairs with the other businesses but that’s where I went into my mode of becoming the producer and engineer I am today,” Rodman said. 

“I was locked in that basement for 15 years learning and perfecting the craft.”

Digital Lab Recordings, 4500 Indiana Ave., officially opened in 2013. Rodman said when he was approached with the opportunity at first he had his doubts about moving. In fact he had the keys to the building a year before he finally decided to leave the basement. 

“It was right before Christmas and something said you can’t be scared, take the chance, you gotta take the risk,” Rodman said. “I had the key a whole year and I would come in here periodically and just walk around and I did that for 12 months until I decided to take that chance.” 

The newest additions to the studio, the Camo Lounge and Cabin Fever, are North Carolina’s newest live music venues/platforms. And for Rodman, they tie together his love for music and art, while also paying tribute to his family. 

The idea for the Camo Lounge came to Rodman during the pandemic. He said business slowed down, and he had a lot of time on his hands to think and process life, and he immediately started thinking about his son. 

Rodman’s son Jaquan was an inspiring DJ, who went by the name DJ Camo. Before he could live his dream of becoming a radio personality, in 2015 Jaquan died unexpectedly. 

“Something told me to go see Quan and I went to his grave site and there was this camouflage hat on my dashboard that had his initials on the back,” Rodman continued. “I left his gravesite, put the hat on and went straight to Lowe’s’ paint department and told them to match the colors of the hat.”

Initially the plan was to paint an accent wall, but once he got started Rodman painted the entire building, drawing and painting the design by hand. And he didn’t stop there, he also hand-painted a drum set and a piano in the camouflage pattern. 

Sticking with the camo and outdoor theme, Rodman decided to add a stage that resembles the front porch of a cabin, and from that the Cabin Fever platform came to life. 

“Everything I did with this project grew to be more than I imagined. I mean I was in here building trees. I built a cabin…it just took on a life of its own,” he said. “Somebody told me the other day I saved a lot of money by doing everything myself but I really wasn’t thinking about the money. I’m looking at it as an opportunity to connect with my son. “He was here the entire time and I felt him here the entire time.”

While his son was the inspiration for the platforms, Rodman made sure to include tributes to other family members as well; for example, the tree Rodman made looks like a tree he used to climb outside his grandmother’s house and the string lights hanging from the ceiling are from his wedding. 

Since making Camo Lounge and Cabin Fever available, more than a dozen artists from across the state have stopped by to perform, including Def Jam artist Anella Herim, Winston-Salem native ShyFromTheTre, Billion Dollar Baby Ent. artist Rich Dunk and others. 

“I would love for the community and the world to catch a glimpse of what we’ve created…two live platforms under one roof inside of a recording studio,” Rodman said. “This has been my therapy and I’m excited that I’m able to share it with everybody now. Now it’s like everybody gets a piece of Quan.”

For more information and to see past Camo Lounge and Cabin Fever performances visit @camo_lounge and @cabinfever_1117 on Instagram. To see past performances search “Camo Lounge” and “Cabin Fever1117” on YouTube.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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