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The best kept secret in music



Article: News (2005-11-29)

Justin Katz, better known in dance circles as J-Punch (aka Hook The Captain) is becoming an ever increasing force in the world of dance music. Putting his wildly successful Pulse night on hold to finish his latest artist album entitled Level, it is now time for the Washington DC-based DJ / producer to step up to the 365MagOnAir turntables.

J-Punch has released on what seems like a list of the coolest labels around: Global Underground, 3Beat, System Recordings, CP, Climax, Ovenready and more. Under J-Punch and his moniker Hook the Captain, he has collaborated with and been remixed by various artists including the likes of Trafik, Shelley Harland, Barry Gilbey, Fretwell, Medway, Paul Lancaster, Open Air, Presslab, Frankie Gee and Lighter, Dayzero and more.

As the founder of his own night, Pulse, J-Punch has booked the likes of Nic Fancuilli, D:Fuse, Luke Fair, Barry Gilbey, Steve Porter, Chris Fortier, Saeed Younan and Rene Amesz in recent times, but has put that on hold to finish his latest LP. Now J-Punch's third album is about to hit the streets entitled Level on Climax Recordings, co-produced by the very talented Global Underground artist, Trafik.

365mag caught up with the ultrabusy DJ/producer/promoter to ask him about his exclusive 365Mag mix: "This mix is just the way I like it, funky and groovy, melodic without getting cheesy. It's a bit self-absorbed too, with three of my own productions featuring, one of which is an unreleased remix I did for Holmes Ives' new single entitled Awaken. The rest is some solid stuff I've been playing from the Balance Record Pool, such as the amazing Peyote Ugly track on CP Recordings, an excellent label and easily my favourite record of recent times.

Hit the DFR link to hear the exclusive one-hour mix from Washington DC's J-Punch for 365MagOnAir on Tuesday 29th November (19:00 GMT/13:00 EST). Watch this space for more 365Mixes from superstars Desyn Masiello, Gavin Keitel, Max Graham, Paul Sparkes and the Filterheadz in the weeks to come. - 365 Mag

"J-Punch "Temple""

The seventh release for UK based label CP Recordings comes from a brilliant guy based in Washington DC named Justin Katz. Under the guise of J-Punch, he rolls out the stunning 'Temple', a feverish tribal tune with a catchy vocal and sublime bass, while Paul Lancaster remixes the tune into playful progressive tech house ditty. His remix has been supported early on by skywalker James Zabiela, as well Anthony Pappa and others.

'Temple' has a bubbly groove along with a male vocal that helps the tune move inside a phat drumline. Tribal drums start in and accompany a bouncy bassline that bobs up and down. More drums filter their way in, which a rolling groove sets in. Vocals start in and lay on top of the drums after a short break. Lush synths start to lean over the beats pulling everything together and fading off into a break. Filtered drums slowly work their way back in, while the vocals and a few new synths tweeter off and work back into the bouncy bassline with the sweet groove.

'Paul Lancaster' takes the track into a dirty tech funk progressive direction with loads of playful sounds set in some galactic funk. Techy drums start in building into a good solid house beat, while a deep and long bassline rolls in slowly and starts the groove. The vocals and chords come in galloping along through various drum changes until it stops and falls into a break. New synths enter the mellow break, while lazer zaps build and blast off into a world of funky sounds and thick bass. After the drums kick back in, a warbly synth comes in and takes the tune into a new direction until the end.

J-Punch has been making waves this year with his music, and has recently been working on an album of solo work due for release sometime in 2005. His productions are strong and he gets better with each release. 'Temple' is a fine display of what he's capable of and it shows the type of quality music CP Recordings likes to put out. - Progressive Sounds

"J-Punch - Temple EP"

"This supersolid EP is a candy-coated daisy chain of genre splicing. Hook's debut commences with the progressive breakishness of Temple, laden with fuzzed-out synths channeling under the splendid vocal: "You cannot escape, because you're already free." It then gallops a gauntlet of disco, downtempo, drum & bass and abstract. Straightforward and very pretty. - BPM MAGAZINE

"J-Punch - Temple"

The next release on the overly impressive CP Recordings imprint comes from J-Punch and the very energetic Temple. The release has seen early support from James Zabiela and Anthony Pappa in particular, not only helped by the original, but also the solid Paul Lancaster mix on the flip.

First up though is the excellent Original Mix that builds quite nicely with some strong drum loops and a deep rumbling baseline. The main vocal line sets the track up from the start and it really does build incredibly with plenty of emotion used. A smooth synth line rides in the track and creates a great aura, especially in the main breakdown late on where the vocal takes the track to a new level, especially when the kick erupts back in.

The Paul Lancaster No Escape Mix on the flip is just as smooth but no where near as peak time. The beats have the trademark Lancaster feel – crisp and very clean and bouncy. It has quite a deep feel to it this track, with the vocals riding over quite a minimal build of percussion and drum work. Gritty synths come late into the track giving it an extra dimension and rounding off a very solid package.

A very good release here from CP Recordings reminding us once again how good progressive music should be made. - Resident Advisor

"Deep Dish (old article on deep dish featuring hook the captain (aka J-Punch)"

Deep Dish
A Grammy, international tours, their own record label, a booking agency and a music store--not bad for a couple of Iranian immigrants who don't play an instrument

By David Segal
Sunday, November 3, 2002; Page W16

The inner sanctum of the Deep Dish musical empire is a recording studio in Georgetown perched near the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street, a mid-size room with a couple of chairs, a computer and a seven-foot recording console. The place is waiting-room neat--no ashtrays, no beer, no mass tangle of wires, no day-old food.

Deep Dish--a duo composed of 31-year-old Ali Shirazinia and 32-year-old Sharam Tayebi--has been here almost nonstop for the last three days, tweaking and tinkering with a single song. The two were in the studio until dawn this morning, went home to sleep for a few hours and now are looking at another all-nighter.

"We like to set deadlines for ourselves," says Sharam, in lightly accented English, sipping on coffee. "Otherwise we'll just work on something for days and days."

Deep Dish can't afford to dally. The studio is just one part of a musical conglomerate built from scratch over the last 13 years by these Iranian-born immigrants. Some 30 employees are working at Deep Dish subsidiaries in an adjacent building, a townhouse that has the hip, modern air of a SoHo loft. There's a booking agency called Bullitt Bookings, a Web site and a record

label that releases dozens of vinyl 12-inch singles every year under the self-

consciously exotic name Yoshi Toshi Records. Down a flight of stairs from the studio, there's a retail store called Deep Dish Records, specializing in dance music.

Then there are the tours--quick and exhausting jaunts, usually to Europe--in which Ali and Sharam might play four events in four cities, spread out all over the Continent, in four whirlwind days. Their fee for these gigs, which usually start at midnight and end around 8:30 in the morning, has been as high as $50,000, Ali says, but usually it's somewhere between $7,000 and $10,000, depending on the size of the crowd.

Deep Dish, in sum, is a franchise. Pop music, of course, has always been a combination of artistry and marketing, filled with business plans and carefully timed product rollouts. But a management staff and a scrum of label executives typically handle the revenue side, leaving the performers to cultivate an audience. Deep Dish represents a different kind of pop entrepreneur--one who is both CEO and star, producer and product, one part band and one part brand.

"We realized a long time ago this is a business and we have to treat it as such, if we want to make this a lasting and fruitful career," says Sharam, who is the beardless, shyer half of this team. "You have to approach it from a business standpoint."

Except that DD is not really a band, not if your idea of a band includes amplifiers, bass, piano and electric guitars. What's really odd about this M Street studio isn't that it's so tidy, but that, aside from a rarely used acoustic guitar, it's instrument-free.

Deep Dish's songs are mostly fabricated from beats and sounds culled from other records, turned into digital bytes and then stretched, chopped and transformed through gadgets and software. That's the rough, working formula for most electronica, a catchall term for the pulsing, machine-made music that is the house sound at thousands of strobe-lit clubs around the world. Though never a force on the U.S. charts, electronica--or techno, as it's also known--has a dedicated following among clubgoers, and it has fermented in a subculture of fashion and designer drugs that has nearly gone mainstream in recent years, courtesy of MTV-approved artists like Moby and Fatboy Slim.

Deep Dish stands among the most durable enterprises in this quietly expanding universe. Notably, Ali and Sharam have become the go-to guys for pop bands trying to lengthen the chart life of singles by remixing them into thumping, bumping dance tracks that can be played in clubs. Deep Dish won't discuss fees for its remix services--but top remixers can earn $30,000 per track. And over the years, Ali and Sharam's clients have included the Rolling Stones, 'N Sync, Michael Jackson and Madonna, who wanted danceability added to the title track of her last studio album, "Music."

In February, a remix of Dido's "Thank You" earned Deep Dish the Grammy for Best Remixed Recording, a relatively new category. Ali and Sharam never made it to the stage that February night to collect their trophy--they were stuck in traffic on the way to the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where the Grammy ceremony was held--but the prize has been good for business. Clubs are calling for shows, and remix assignments are pouring in.

"We spend a lot of time together," says Ali of Sharam. "Sometimes I wish he was a really good-looking woman instead of a dude."

Deep Dish will perform 48 out of 52 weekends this year, about 100 shows, a blur of intern - Washington Post


· J-Punch - LEVEL - (System Recordings)(Sundown Recordings/dPULSE)
· The Temple EP (Running In Space)
· Bang to This (ingrooves)
· Bang it Forward (ingrooves)(forthcoming on System Digital)

· J-Punch 'Temple' J-punch Tribal Mix/Paul Lancaster No Escape Mix (CP Recordings)
· J-Punch 'Bitch'/Remind Me 12'' J-Punch/Punch and Micah(System Recordings/Alpha-Numeric)
· J-Punch 'Reach' 12'' Original and Fretwell Remix (Climax Recordings)
· J-Punch 'Temple' - fretwell dub - (Global Underground) - Electric Calm 2 Vinyl EP
· 'What I Find in You' Original and Medway Remixes (Politik Recordings)
· J-Punch – Red Blood (R:tem Remix, Gee and Lighter Remix) (Ovenready)

· Holmes Ives – Awaken – J-Punch Remix (Ova Remixed)
· Trafik - Echoes - J-punch vs. Forth Remix (GU MUSIC/GLOBAL UNDERGROUND)
· Joe Williams – I’ll Be Home For Christmas – J-Punch Remix (Christmas Remixed)
· 3kstatic – Shattered – Hook the Captain Remix – dPULSE
· J-Punch - Bitch - Dub mix (system recordings)
· Away Your Life – Chill Mix – (System Recordings)

· 'Temple' - Exposures (Global Underground)
· 'Temple' - Fretwell Dub - Electric Calm 2 (Global Underground)
· 'Red Blood' - Sessions One With Ritmo (Ministry of Sound)
· 'Away your life' - Clublife Vol 1. (System Recordings/Alpha-Numeric)
· 'Remind Me' - Clublife Vol 2. (System Recordings/Alpha-Numeric)
· 'Away your life' - This is Dance (Water Music Records)
· 'I'll Follow You' - NSTV2 (BasicLux)
· 'Bitch ­(Dub)' - Clublife Vol. 3 (System Recordings/Alpha-Numeric)
· Afterglow (Dub) (Clublife Vol. 4)
· Bitch (Open Air Remix) - Clublife vol 4.
· Afterglow - House Anthems Volume 1 (system recordings)
· Bitch - Dub - House Anthems Volume 1 (system recordings)
· Afterglow - Dub - House Anthems Volume 2 (System Recordings)
· Remind Me - House Anthems Vol. 2 (System Recordings)
· Bitch (Open Air Remix) - Trance Anthems Volume 1
· Red Blood – Mike Hiratzka Remix – D:Fuse People v. 3
· Bitch – House Anthems Vol. 3 – System Recordings
· Away Your Life – Chill Mix - Deep Chill House – System Recordings
· Something Wonderful – Gpal - Two – Swift Recordings
· Temple – Gpal – Two – Swift Recordings

too numerous to list. However some of the more prominent ones include licenses for: Garnier Fructis, Yahoo Messenger, MTV and more.


Feeling a bit camera shy


In a world where men have gods, and the sea vomits forth evolutionary beings, hurtling through time, J-punch (a.k.a Hook the Captain) is a king among princes. Just as music attains its zenith, and what is new is old, reborn, J-punch has come to us. Fusing genres while haunting house and electronic music, J-punch is the freshest, bestest in this or any other timeline. He clobbers the fourth dimension with his original tracks, as they enter your mind and implant themselves in your past, present, and future.

J-Punch has seen original releases on some of the worlds top electronic labels. (Global Underground, 3beat, System Recordings and more) but his corporeal being resides in Washington, DC. Coming up in DC, J-punch has developed a deep respect for electronic music, and he has ridden that vehicle into the limelight. Drawing on a love for warm ambient sounds, dope disco, funky tribal beats, epic melodies, and tweaked-out human voices, there is little question why this master of the hook is the most talented new guy to come from Washington D.C. since the emergence of Deep Dish. Under J-Punch and his alternate tag Hook the Captain, he has collaborated and been remixed by various artists including; Trafik, Shelley Harland, Fretwell, Medway, Paul Lancaster, Open Air, Presslab, Frankie Gee and Lighter, R:Tem, Dayzero and more.

In one short year, under the alias Hook the Captain, J-punch's first album, "Bang to This," became a legend. While most artists would be content with such an accomplishment, the Captain has propelled, ever forward, against the winds of complacence. Constantly defenistrating skeptiscism, J-Punch's second album, "Bang it Forward," contained 150% more awesomeness than ever before. Through tracks like "Bitch," "Temple," and "Remind Me," the Captain brought it with the thunder. In the arena of electronic music, "Bang it Forward," was like a big naked gladiator with a giant sword. And now, J-Punch takes things to a new level. Re-inventing the tracks, which made him famous as he travels back in time and backwards through his own body J-Punch comes full circle. With his third album, "Level," co-produced with Global Underground artists, Trafik, this album is certain to kick up the punch for already seasoned J. Every single person in the entire world is likely to agree, by following up one legendary album with another, J-punch is about to become a double-wide super legend.*

*Also of note: Since early 2005, J-Punch has been a member of the Balance Promote Record Pool; an exclusive record pool for the top dance music DJ's worldwide. In addition - J-Punch was recently selected to serve on a remix craft committee for the GRAMMY awards.

Assorted quotes we like:

"J-Punch has released on what seems like a list of the coolest labels around.” -365 Magazine
"His productions are strong and he gets better with each release.” -Progressive Sounds
"This is top quality stuff and will devastate the more intelligent dance floors.” -Xpander
"Moody, deep, exotic, and sexy.”-Resident Advisor
"Gorgeous, and I mean absolutely 10/10." Release Records, 2003

Plus much more including Favorable reviews in the "Washington Post," "Future Music Magazine" and "BPM"