J3 Project
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J3 Project

Richmond, Virginia, United States | SELF

Richmond, Virginia, United States | SELF
Band Alternative New Age


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"J3 Project"

J3 Project plays music that anyone could enjoy. It sounds simple, but it's true. To be less concise, J3 Project is an ambient/organic/experimental/electronic jam band that plays music anyone could enjoy. Most recently, I checked them out at Europa with a friend of mine who has played guitar in various death metal bands. He was a huge fan.

Justin Huppmann (guitar/synthesizers), Jason McLaughlin (bass), and Josh Santamaria (acoustic and electronic drums) have been playing together as a band for less than a year, but already they've turned a lot of heads. J3 Project's musical repertoire ranges from fast-paced dance to relaxing and seductive, incorporating jazz, progressive rock, and pretty much anything they would like to play.J3 Project bass by JYoung

"All forms of music are an influence. It's usually appealing to pick out ideas from music in a global approach and then we 'J3 it,' so to speak," Santamaria explains.

The trio tastefully incorporates live electronics, playing original tunes sustained by open ended jams and unannounced improvisations for a futuristic and universally appealing sound all their own.

A sound that is distinct, but ever-changing. Sometimes what the trio perpetuates sounds dreamlike, euphoric, or trippy. Other times, they're like musical secret agents, swanky and sexy. They like to tweak the tempo and the shape of the sound so that no two shows are ever alike.

J3 Project guitar by JYoungA constant, however, is that these three musicians play intricate music with painstaking ease. It's obvious when you see these guys play that Huppmann is capable of some fast and furious fretwork or that Santamaria could just smash the drums all night long, but every move they make is deliberate. Huppmann is a tactful guitarist and Santamaria has great sense of the appropriate.

What makes Huppmann stand out is his highly developed, straightforward approach to playing guitar and a fundamental, idiosyncratic style that is rarely found in local music. This style is something he constantly builds upon and modifies. He plays a mean funk guitar like a magician. He uses synthesizers, delays, and various other effects that enrich and shape the overall ambient soundscape he creates in addition to adding layers and samples that encompass what you might hear from a keyboard. Or a jazz horn. Or a robot.

Speaking of robots, the physical moment Santamaria J3 Project drums by JYoungexacts playing the drums is mindbending to watch. When J3 played at Europa most recently, somebody in the crowd commented, "I've been watching the drummer all night and that guy has not made one single mistake."

"Josh has to be a machine playing drums," says McLaughlin. "He has a crazy ability to tap and change the feel, making his style his own."

When asked about his role as a robot drummer, Santamaria has this to say, "Playing drums with the electronic pads is something I avoided and looked down upon for so long. I looked at them kind of like Skynet in The Terminator," he explains. "I saw the possibilities and reactions from people in a modern, live setting and realized it was stupid to disregard the challenge and fun that can come out of these machines."

"Hunter Davis from Existor, Geoff Bakel of The Former Champions, Brian Reyes from The Silo Effect, and Alen Jarrell from Lar Jar, and myself are setting the example for what is to come from the live drummer in the next hundred years."

J3 Project bass by JYoungMcLaughlin definitely brings sex appeal and unique style to the stage, always aware of what's happening on the drums, the guitar, and in the crowd. He rocks the pick and then sticks it in his mouth to thump with his fingers.

Santamaria elaborates that "his playing, just like Justin's and mine, can be concretely simple and uberly off the stratosphere. He's not afraid to go over the bar line and beyond. From the drummer's standpoint, when I'm diggin' hard into one of those punk/techno grooves, that characteristic is essential to make J3 what it is."

By and large, the music is great and each performance is like a concept in itself. A few songs in, you'll be easily transfixed by the astral, reaching melodies, the unremitting stamina from the drums, and subterranean bass sound.

"Coming to see us on different occasions you might hear something entirely different. Every show we've ever done there has been a large portion of our set that is completely improvisational. Even as a band, we might not know the direction we're heading in or the territories we're going to cover. We may start from scratch right there in front of everyone," says McLaughlin.

J3 Project by JYoung"The open-endedness is what solidifies the improvisation that is going on when our chemistry is working onstage. With a bunch of people watching, sometimes we are able to transcend the things we come up with while just rehearsing...making these chords and rhythms that are able to move people in certain ways."

As far as what the future holds for J3 Project, McLaughlin promises, "there is a lot to come in means of complexity." - Magazine 33


Still working on that hot first release.



Richmond, Virginia’s J3 Project is a mixture of progressively minded musicians that use modern technology combined with conventional instruments to explore new sonic territories of ambient dance and trance-like music. The J3 Project blends popular contemporary genres such as Rock and Jazz with a myriad of other eastern and western musical influences to concoct a unique, rich harmonic foundation for extended experimental jams. Through organic generation, J3P is able to utilize vast amounts of improvisation in their playing to transcend the melodic, harmonic and rhythmic restraints commonly associated with a variety of musical styles.