PJ Katz Attacks! Sonic Soundscaping with Musician, Composer and Producer Jason Panucci. By: Corey Aldrich

Written by on March 8, 2022

I met Jason at Tess’s Lark Tavern in Albany where he invited me to play guitar at his standing gig, a hip hop improv night with MC Shyste Chronkyte. PJ has monster musical chops and is a regional underground legend. Here’s the latest on his musical evolution.

RRX: Give us the deets.

JP: My name is Jason Panucci. Some people know me as PJ. I compose and produce music. Mostly music under my Mordella Music Library label.

RRX: What is your music background?

JP: I’ve been surrounded by music for as long as I can remember being that my father plays drums and always had instruments and records around the house. My dad had this home stereo set up and I would loop Steely Dan records with his dual cassette recorder. Twenty something years later I learned that this would be called pause tapes. I eventually went to SUNY Oneonta for music business.

Since 2002 I have been helping music educators around the world integrate technology into their classrooms. I was with Korg USA for 14 years creating products and building out full scale studios for high schools and universities. Most recently with MusicFirst, a cloud-based music software and course materials set. This has been extremely rewarding. During the pandemic students have had to learn remotely. Thanks to this program, they still have access to world class music software that is made available to them on any web browsing device. One of our partners, Spotify, has a program called Soundtrap which is essentially a pro tools like DAW that works in the Chrome browser.

RRX: What’s a typical workday for you look like? I feel like you’re hanging with cool artists all the time. (Shyste!)

JP: My studio days can be different depending on my production schedule, the artist that may come in to work or how much laundry is left to do! Lately I’ve been producing and licensing music for film and TV as well as working on prep for live shows.

There is a good chance that Shyste and I will be 60 years old and still working on music together. His output is unmatched, and I think we pair up very well musically. Not many people are touching him on the mic. We often take an artist of his caliber for granted because we see him out and about locally, but he is respected for his skills outside of NY as well, doing collaborations with people in Europe and beyond. I recently worked with Krum on his new project called DART. (krum.bandcamp.com). I met him in LA a few years back. He heard some of my original samples and asked if I would be down to do the interludes that would help glue the album together sonically. I produced a track on that album alongside producers Darren King (formerly of MuteMath) and Theory Hazit (Redman, Mr. Lif & Akrobatik, Scribbling Idiots). I am also working with Hannah Amigo who is an amazing singer/songwriter. We played at live at ADCo in the fall. Really looking forward to what she is cooking up!

RRX: How did the pandemic affect the way you approached your business?

JP: Creative people wanted to collaborate more. A bunch of artists and producers were looking to work on tracks together and it really offered me opportunities that I never thought were possible. It has been extremely positive. It also reminded me what I’m not good at…social media, content creation, etc. 

RRX: What’s that freshy fresh coming up?

JP: I just finished a new composition library called Hash which can be found at mordellasamples.com and recently signed a licensing deal to help get my music out to more people. I’m also working on some live music for this spring and summer. It will be a one man, half DJ / half live looping thing where I will do everything from live dub mixing of reggae tracks to live looping with hardware (Sampler and Eurorack effects).

Web: mordellasamples.com | Instagram: @pjkatz.pts

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