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Ninja Unmasked

music_ZachDeputyOne-man band, Zach Deputy, loses beard, gains insight
Just the other week, Zach Deputy—the full-time funk, rock, and soul sensation from Bluffton, South Carolina—underwent some major physical alterations while in the hands of paid professionals. Not only was his famously bushy beard cut loose during what he refers to as the “Brooklyn Barbershop Disaster,” but he also received a navy blue front tooth from a temporary cavity-filling-from-hell, causing the ever-so-friendly and accomplished 29-year-old to feel unusually self-conscious, naked and afraid to smile.

Shaken by such traumatic events, it makes you wonder: what on earth will Deputy’s upcoming LP Another Day be like?

“It’s a warm, good-feeling album,” Deputy says of the projected September release, that was recorded in just four days while he endured a pesky sinus infection. Deputy worked alongside Grammy Award-winning producer Scott Jacoby, in addition to top-notch performers Graham Hawthorne on drums, Al Carty on bass, and pianist/organist Will Buthod.

With such an impressively efficient time schedule, you’d think that the performers have a long and windy musical history together, but here’s the catch—this was the first time they all met. Talk about off the chart first impressions!

“I always do the impossible,” Deputy laughs. “I guess that’s why I became a ninja.” The jokester makes reference to his website, which classifies his music as “island-infused drum ‘n’ bass gospel ninja soul.”

As it turns out, Deputy has more artists in mind to collaborate and tour with, all of whom have been enormous influences dating back to when he was a kid, listening to his mother’s and grandmother’s favorite records. Of course Stevie Wonder and Bobby McFerrin are at the top of his list of heroes, in addition to the deceased, but nevertheless entrancing, Ray Charles, Donny Hathaway and James Brown. It is these men, amongst “everything and in between, from God, to life, to death,” or what Deputy generalizes as “everything that is life,” that caused his younger self to be fascinated by music.

He started singing once he could remember his own name, picked up guitar at 14, and began playing professionally at 16. Over the years, Deputy has been sponsored by several popular guitar companies such as Godin, who he refers to as “the leader in the world of synth guitars”: a staple instrument in the musician’s act. Presently, he is sponsored by the German guitar manufacturing company Framus.

Through synth guitar, Deputy uses looping technology to deceive all of his fans—if you were to close your eyes during one of his performances, you’d swear that you were listening to a four- or five-member band, rather than one innovative and technologically savvy musician.

Fortunately for Santa Cruzans, as “Two Steps” off his debut album Out of the Water suggests, Deputy will be practically “two steps from your doorstep” this Friday, when he returns to Don Quixote’s with his crew. And you better be home when he comes knocking, ‘cause this self-proclaimed connoisseur of large-scale dance parties knows how to put on quite the show.

“Everything I do is live. I don’t consider it music unless it’s live,” says Deputy. “What I do is organic and in front of your face.” In fact, that’s his favorite part about touring: “the moments onstage that could never be created again in life. They’re euphoric; everything is perfect at that moment. Sharing music with others and seeing them smile—it’s  the reason why I’m on the road.”

Zach Deputy plays at 9 p.m. Friday, July 8, at Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. $10. For more information, call 603-2294.


Comments (1)Add Comment
written by Raj, July 10, 2011
great article! Definitely made me want to look up his stuff!

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