The world today is filled with talented DJs, musicians, and producers. Many of them make use of the various digital tools available to them to spread their music. To a certified Soundcloud junkie like me, much of the world’s music begins to sound the same after a while. However, some artists have that “it” factor that allows their sound to catch my attention. DJ & producer, Punchuashen, is one of those people.
Hailing from Pretoria, South Africa, Punchuashen remembers when local tastemakers like Oskido and DJ Fresh were making names for themselves in the late 1990s by developing the house music scene and making the local music a commodity. Back then, there were no Soul Candi’s or any other major companies to promote South African house music. And for Punchuashen, something else was not quite right. The Kwaito was a little too slow while the house, which lacked diversity, was too fast. Although Punch appreciated and liked those styles, he wanted something “really funky.”
After a short professional career in tennis, Punch moved to the United States and began making music. At first, his main tool was his PlayStation Music Generator, but a friend gave him the popular digital audio work station, Reason. Within a year, the athlete-turned-tennis-coach really began making his funky house music and developing his brand of music.
To understand Punch’s style, one must be aware of his main inspiration, the drum. Percussion that he has heard in his lifetime – at churches and club, in house music, the Kuduro blaring from Angolan taxis, routines performed by drum majors, etc. – had a profound influence on him and sparked in him, the desire to make his own songs. Having been exposed Percussion in a variety of formats and settings, Punch begins each of his tracks with strong percussion, hoping that that alone is sufficient means for him express his feelings. If his songs don’t begin with a good drum rhythm, then he’s lost what he’s trying to convey through his music. That is where a lot of South African musicians have been able to distinguish themselves from the rest of the world. According to Punch, they have been successful at developing a sound that is “very ethnic and very urban at the same time.” That is the source of his inspiration: “i want to recreate that i same feeling i had [when] hearing something on the radio at night when i was recording back in the day on cassette… That feeling is hard to explain to somebody.”
Even if that something is difficult to explain, tracks like “Dreams” convey a particular energy to listeners that distinguishes Punchuashen from the millions of other Soundcloud song-makers. “Dreams” begins with a percussion loop that imprints his personal stamp on the audio waves with kicks that reverberate through all solid and spiritual matter in one’s body and mind. After a brief introduction to the rhythm, poet Oneil Abercrombie interrupts (almost literally) with a well thought and beautifully delivered soliloquy about personal shortcomings. In a world that demands each individual to submit to its havoc, Oneil has been “been plotting, planning, scheming, dreaming, dying for some resistance,” but is stopped by and trapped in her own manifestation of a prison cell. As she delivers these, and other thought-provoking lines, Punch accentuates them and re-interprets them using his music.
“Dreams” is but one display of Punchuashen’s current talent and his potential. Listening to “Feeling In My Soul” which features vocalist Laila Davids, and “Visions,” would cause one to believe that they’re listening to a world-renowned musician/producer. The diversity of sound across his releases and the movement within each track demonstrate that Punchuashen has a knack for creating sounds, which will earn him the respect We give to the people to whom he looks up. What makes his music even better, is the humbleness and pure love that Punch embeds in his sound. He admits that he’s still got much to learn and fine tune (who doesn’t?) with regard to incorporating more sounds into his already rich catalog and improving his technical skills.
There are many ways that you can keep up with Punchuashen, even as he fine-tunes is already superb production. You can peep his latest tracks on Souncloud and get information about his gigs and projects on his website. The Facebookers and Tweeters can also get his real time updates.