On Deck With Zach Deputy
Musicians are undoubtedly influenced by the music they listen to. An artist's musical selection can sometimes even foretell what a next album might sound like. So if you've ever wondered what the artists who grace your stereo are getting funky to, here's your chance to find out. Every week, I'll ask traveling musicians as well as locals the fated question: What's playing in your CD player or tape deck right now?
Zach Deputy is one of those reinventing the term "one-man band." While he has plenty of experience playing with a live band (the latest album Another Day was recorded with a whole band in studio), Deputy spends an average 300 days a year on the road playing a solo set to crowds at Electric Forest Music Festival and Jam Cruise, as well as hundreds of cities around the country.
Don't be fooled by the term "solo" in this case, however. Deputy has a multitude of ways that make him sound larger than life. His songs start with just a chord progression, which is looped and then layered beneath a bass line, some beat boxing, drums from a beat pad, live vocals and live guitar. Deputy also has four microphones with different effects -- one that gives the illusion he is backed by a choir, one with lots of reverb and two for crisp melodies.
The overwhelming awesomeness of Deputy's set was intoxicating when he passed through 2826 Arnetic in Deep Ellum last week, so much so the crowd practically followed his vibe on command. When he played something funky, every person began their own dance party, which eventually morphed into one huge communal rock out. When he played something soulful, everyone coupled up and slow danced like it was still in style.
Deputy is taking some time off touring to relax and spend with his three-year-old daughter back in Savannah, Ga., but luckily we caught up with him after the Dallas show to talk music and find out what he's been jamming lately.
Currently jamming: Donny Hathaway
"He's one of the greatest soul singers of all time, who was popular in the '70s. He's got some of the best recordings ever. His music makes you feel good on the inside, not just the outside."
Aspires to be: a musical liaison between emotions and mind
"I grab inspiration from all the six senses. I say six senses because of the extra sense, which is your spirit - the things you feel that you can't relate to with the physical senses. I pull it in, I vibe with it, I try to relate it and try to explain it to other people through music, which is a better medium than the English language in my opinion."
Where the two roads meet: innovation, both in production and mentality
"I'm an advocate of the next generation of what is soul, what is gospel, what is blues? I believe in carrying it to another level instead of trying to regurgitate everything as it was; respecting what was and bringing it into the future ... Plenty of times I've played with a live band and I love it. I do more soul-esque things when I have a band. My most recent album Another Day was recorded with a live band and I do very [chord intensive] songs and movements of songs that I can't write with a loop machine. The loop machine is stuck into a groove, which is cool if you know the box you're living in. But I thoroughly enjoy having a band and being able to have progressions that are bigger and longer."