Spanish label Depaart is starting fresh, and not because something was wrong or not working but because with growth comes change. Depaart has evolved and shifted direction. Expanding from a label to a collective they do it all: events, music and are their own artists. In Madrid, they’re widely known for their monthly day time parties Tortilla & Fluido that feature a blend of music, art, and of course, Spanish tapas. Original founding members Carlos Palop and Jorge Primo now primarily focus on the business end working behind the scenes. Taking the helm and driving Depaart as an artist are Guillermo Marraco (Guille) and Fran Zaragoza (Fran). With new music on the horizon, Depaart is reaching new heights.
Let’s start off by tackling the elephant in the room: COVID-19. How are you managing personally and professionally?
Fran: For me, it has been great actually, I love being at home and it’s kind of nice to skip the FOMO and slow down for a while. We’ve been making music and moving forward but also “scratching our balls” as we say in Spanish.
Guille: I’ve personally dealt with better than I could have expected. No one close got too sick, and it’s been nice to spend this amount of time in the studio. The challenge came about three or four weeks ago when it started to be hard to stay locked up and creativity and ambitions felt down a bit, but I guess that’s pretty normal. It will go away!
Do you feel your creative drive has suffered?
Fran: Not really. In fact, I think I’ve been more productive and inspired than I was before this started. I’m a home person, and I’m feeling good and clean after this two months.
Guille: Yes and no. As I mentioned before at the beginning it was good to be able to spend long hours in the studio and not partying, but it’s becoming a bit tedious. Nevertheless, we’ve finished more than 20 tracks during the quarantine and started working on a new live set so not bad at all.
LISTEN: Ópala EP, Spanish Label Depaart Relaunches with Mexican artist Bufi (aka Theus Mago)
Tell us about your Tortilla & Fluido parties in Madrid.
Fran: Our weekends in Madrid are a bit crazy! Fluido is a house party every Friday night that I run with other local artists and collectives. As Depaart, we are just residents. We’ve had in our short life artists like KornelKovacs, Marvin& Guy, Demuja, Project Pablo… but it came after Tortilla.
Guille: Tortilla is something that we created almost two years ago now, to fill up the Saturday afternoon gap in Madrid and as a cool mix of food, art and music. It takes place in Costa Social Club, a small venue with great sound and two massive windows that make it nice being indoor.
Not only are you event organizers but a label too. Your debut release is Bufi’s EP Opala. What’s your relationship like with Mateo aka Theus Mago? Why kick off with him?
Fran: I’ve been playing some of his tracks for a long time, especially as TheusMago. We heard that he was touring in Europe and invited him over to play. At that time we were starting to program the label’s return so we asked him and he said yes.
Carlos: It’s a sick EP to kick off with because it’s super playable, fresh and versatile. We wanted to enter in with heavy weapons. There will obviously be a fully owned EP coming from [Depaart] but the aim of the label is to be a label and not a self-promotional tool.
Born as a Label, Fed as a Party, Grown as a Collective & Cured as an Artist
I believe that getting too focused on fame and glory [will] actually backfire. We’ve seen many people [drop] out because of the rush. It’s easier to burn out. — Fran is in it for the love of the game
Your label Depaart is actually going through a rebrand and launching this May. What made you go back to the drawing board? Do you see this and a complete rebrand or more of a side step?
Fran: It’s a really good moment (despite COVID) for us because we’ve been growing as artists and promoters. [It] feels very natural to relaunch our own platform.
Carlos: Well, it was born as a label. Then we turned it into a collective where only [we] were releasing. Then the parties and finally the artist. It feels that we’ve learned a lot during these seven years, and we wanted to apply this knowledge back to the label. I personally enjoy running this part, and since Guille and Fran are more focused on the artist facet it’s great for me and Jorge to step in again.
There are ways to do “sustainable partying” and I don’t mean it related to the environment. You have to know when to go home and you know that there’s another weekend after 5 days — Guille on balancing work and play
You say you like to party, and the nightlife industry can eat you alive. Seeing as your businessmen also, how do you balance work and play?
Fran: Can you do such a thing?
Guille: At some point you find balance (or die trying). There are ways to do “sustainable partying” and I don’t mean it related to the environment. You have to know when to go home and you know that there’s another weekend after 5 days, so you can’t push it too much. We’ve been very active since 8 years ago with events or gigs almost every single weekend, so you learn to force yourself to eat healthy, sleep well and do a bit of workout in between to balance it up a bit.
Depaart Opts for DIY, All the Way
As artists you have three EPs and two singles, right? What are you looking for to be known for?
Fran: I believe that getting too focused on fame and glory [will] actually backfire. We’ve seen many people [drop] out because of the rush. It’s easier to burn out. It’s a matter of moving forward and putting just the right amount of time and dedication so that you don’t get frustrated but continue to improve yourself and your music constantly.
Guille: For me, it’s very important the “DIY” philosophy. I would love to be known as the guy that did everything by himself, minimized his participation in an industry that can be horrible, and stood by the right values. It applies to music too, the dream is to consolidate a unique sound. Something that is recognizable and that flows naturally out of our minds without commercial formulas or hit-chasings of any kind.
For Spanish Label Depaart, It’s a Marathon Not a Sprint.
Anything in particular aspiring artists should consider when submitting music?
Fran: I wouldn’t encourage aspiring artists to submit music to everywhere because reality is that this industry is supersaturated. Unfortunately, it’s not only about the music. By that, I don’t mean that music doesn’t matter, but since there’s so much good music out there, the music quality gets taken for granted. As a step 1, step 2 is being relevant in any form, but to stand out. F*ck followers or social media, but at least be an active person in the industry (promoter, press, label manager, booker, etc).
Carlos: I would encourage them to focus on direct to fan actions. There are plenty of tools out there that can help find your right audience, rather than spending time sending music out to labels.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Fran: I can make Cocido Madrileño.
Guille: Do it yourself guys! It takes a lot of work and it’s a big risk, but you can’t depend on other people to build up your career. Make your own music, mix it yourself, release it yourself, host your own parties, be active digitally, go out and build a community around you. Eventually, it should pay off!