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Feature: Depaart [Interview]

21 min read

The history behind Depaart is kind of unusual. Born and raised as a label between Madrid and Berlin, fed as a party, grown as a collective and finally cured as an artist. To be exact a couple formed by Guillermo Marraco (part of Easy Kid project publishing the astonishing “Lenai” album back in 2016) and hyper-focused Fran Zaragoza. They met each other developing the same passion for electronic sounds and local clubbing scene. They openly confess have partied hard together many times. Both Djs since young stages and producers for over a decade now had been playing together more than often as Easy Kid B2B Fran Zaragoza since 2011, so it felt kind of natural to merge under the same umbrella now. They know each other pretty well both on the dance floor and on the DJ booth. And in the recording studio, of course! Their first big day came in 2018 when the duo signed “Blowing Smoke” on Sasha’s Last Night on Earth imprint. Soon followed by music featured on Stil vor Talent, Mono.Noise and an EP on Sincopat with Lauer and Tuff City Kids remixing and Tom Trago participating in one of the tracks. The latest, an exciting remix for Bufi from the track "Guoyoro". Enjoy the chat we had with them.

Let’s start off with a question as considerable as how would you guys recap this first half of 2020? Can you ever imagine everything that has happened globally?

Well, so far so good despite the obvious challenges… 2020 kicked-off pretty well, we started the year playing at Heart Ibiza in NYE, soon after to Kater Blau in Berlin and in February we played in Lebanon for the first time and was very cool. Then the Great Lockdown came (who saw that one coming!) as a rollercoaster of emotions, where we were happy at the beginning because there was going to be plenty of time for the studio, then depressed when we thought that the apocalypse was coming and now not too bad considering the worst scenarios that were on the table a month ago.

Now that everything is possible, EVERYTHING can happen. What unlikely thing do you think is now more possible than ever before? Will we be invaded by alien ships perhaps?

Trump, Bolsonaro and Johnson doing something right could be a good possible impossible.

Ok, let’s focus on Depaart. What is the uncommon history behind this name?

Fran: To sum up it started as a label, then a party, then a live band, an artist and now back to being a label (too, we are still an artist and a party). Although all Spaniards, it was born between two cities: Madrid and Berlin. Departure. Art. Departures. You get it!

Depaart as a duo of DJs and music producers is one of the most unruly projects in the city of Madrid. How do you usually organize yourself when acting and working in the studio?

Guille: When it comes to making music we work from our home studios remotely with Splice since years ago. It took a while to sync plugins but now works nice and smooth. We both kick-off ideas but it’s mainly me doing the mixdowns and tedious detailing. When it comes to Djing its very fun actually, we’ve been spinning records together for years (before we teamed up as Depaart) so we don’t need to talk much and feels very natural, it's like a conversation between us. It actually took us a while to be happy with the result!

By the way, what’s a piece of gear that always gets used when Depaart (duo) is writing a new track? Is one of you more of a musician than the other? Who and why?

Guille: Ableton Push as an extension of our own hands! And then I really like an old Virus C that I use for many purposes. On top of that we are proud soft-synth producers. We both start ideas. The best ones are the ones that are 50-50 because there are two minds involved and you can come up with a much wider range of ideas, but I spend a bit more time in the studio than Fran so I end up putting an extra there. Fran on the other hand keeps a closer eye on the scene, releases, remixes and other trends, so he actually plays a much better role as DJ than I do.

What has been the most screwed up during all these months of pandemic by the Covid-19? How have you been keeping busy during the lockdown? 

Fran:  For me it was easy because I love being at home (like, a lot!) and for the first 3-4 weeks I barely left my apartment. For Guille was a bit harder because he lives in a smaller apartment in the centre with barely any light, but we’ve both managed quite good! We had been missing some quality studio time for a while and just before the pandemic we both renovated and synchronized our studios so it got us sort of ready. We’ve finished over 20 tracks during the lockdown and now we are pitching them to try to find out which one is cool enough for releasing and which are just going to be played. Playstation, Netflix, HBO and Pornhub have been the other 50% of home entertainment.

How have you pivoted your productivity to replace shows?

Absolutely. We’ve also worked quite hard on our live performance. A good live requires a lot of studio preparing everything to the detail before jumping into rehearsal, and that’s the part that we’ve always been missing more. Now the studio side it’s ready so as soon as we are allowed to we’ll start getting hands on it.

By the way, we’ve all seen Madrid had been one of the Spanish cities most affected regarding infections and deceased… You and all your relatives are fine? What caused / causes you the most fear?

Fran: Thanks for asking! Everyone around us is safe fortunately, but we know many people that have lost some of their beloved ones. It was crazy for over a week when we were hitting almost one thousand deaths per day and it seemed like the end of the world. A decent public healthcare system has proven to be mandatory.

To what extent are electronic music and a healthy club scene important to the well-being of society? Especially one that has suffered so much and need some good vibes ASAP…

Fran: Really good point. Partying can be understood as some sort of therapy, especially during hard times it can become more necessary to let go and release yourself. Safety is first so we need to make sure that when we come back we do it right, but in the other hand we can’t wait to dance the world to an end with our friends and loud music. We’ll open our parties as soon as we are allowed to, to be honest!

Depaart are devoted defenders of the local club scene right? What can you tell us about events like Tortilla, Fluido or Unlocked?

Guille: We take the DIY philosophy very seriously, and as an artist you should work hard to have your own party. It’s your lab, your hub and little community, sort of your little kingdom. Local scene for people reaching their 30s is key because eventually you don’t like that much to be in large places with a lot of people, and these venues need to feed on top names. There's a lot more innovation and creativity involved in the local and underground scene.

Where Depaart has decided to start keeping an eye on the international market is in as a record label. We could say restarted from the scratch with the recently released EP “Ópala” by the Mexican hero Bufi. Why this decision now and not before?

Guille: It’s going back to the roots. It’s also a good moment because with the artist facet of Depaart we’ve pushed the brand to a further level. With the parties we are building a community, a network and with the label up and running again it feels like closing the circle. It’s also on Depaart’s DNA to diversify and to do it all by ourselves.

What are the biggest influences for Depaart’s duo? Does it fully coincide with the concept of the label or does it go further?

Fran: It goes further specifically compared with the old Depaart era of releases. We are - and I’m focusing on the ones that we both openly like - big fans of Lauer and TCK, Krystal Klear, Zombies in Miami, Terr, Juan McLean, Maribou State, Pional, Hammer, Dusky… if we look further I was into Hard Dance and Guille into Boys-Noize-like electro LOL.

We’ve listened for example some kind of fresh edits called “Hack Mixes”, what the “hack” is that?

Guille: Hahaha it’s just a bunch of bootleg remixes with a more contemporary wrap-up! We don’t usually do these but it’s always fun to have them for DJ sets and we thought that would be cool to share them during the lockdown. From bootleggers to hackers.

We want to hear about your next plans for the label? 

The next release is ours and comes with two very juicy remixers, but we can’t say more yet!

A BIG question nobody dared to ask you until now? Now is the time!

(Guille) “Why is Fran so hairy?” His grandfather was coming from a small town in the mountains of Málaga where none the Romans or Vikings dared to step a foot into. It is believed that they belonged to an ancient species that just quite recently got mixed up with Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

(Fran) “How do you manage to not kill each other?” Booze! :)


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