The Hippo


May 25, 2020








Zach Deputy. Courtesy photo.

Zach Deputy

When: Sunday, Nov. 27, 8 p.m.
Where: Jewel Music Venue, 61 Canal St., Manchester 
Tickets: $15 at (18+)

One-man wall of sound
Zach Deputy is a solo dynamo

By Michael Witthaus

 Unless you’re looking directly at Zach Deputy as he builds a tower of grooves, it’s impossible to believe he’s the only one on stage. At one point in his show, he might introduce a trumpet player, then no one appears as the horn sound cuts loose. It’s all loops, pedals, hand and foot percussion, jaw-dropping guitar work and a half-dozen other instruments.

It’s a funk, rock and soul orchestra, built notes upon beat, all created by Deputy, a beaming, bearded Buddha.
It’s not like the Georgia native can’t play well with others; his band Zach Deputy & the Hashtags put out an album this year, and he has other collaborative projects cooking. But there’s enough power in his one-man show to light a small city, and anyone sitting still while he’s throwing down is either dead or in need of medical attention.
As it turns out, playing in a band set him down the solo dynamo path. Deputy explained in a recent phone interview that his first foray into doing it all himself came when his bass player was incapacitated on the night of a show. Rather than cancel the gig, he arrived at the venue with a DL4 delay pedal that a friend had once used for looping, plugged it into his regular gear and used his guitar for the beat. Presto — a one-man band. 
Deputy, however, was mightily unimpressed with the results.
“I played that night and remember thinking, ‘This is horrible!’ But everybody liked it a lot,” he said. “I thought, if it sounds this horrible and people like it, imagine what they would think if it was actually good? That sparked the idea that if I could make looping good, I would blow people’s minds.”
Deputy recently released his fourth full-length album, Wash it in the Water. A tour in support of the new record stops at Manchester’s Jewel Music Venue on Sunday, Nov. 27. He enjoys coming to the Northeast, a region where he tasted his first real success as a touring musician, starting out with small stages on the summer festival circuit.
“The first time I ever went up there, it was the most impactful gift I ever had,” Deputy said. “I played ‘Wormtown,’ and they they liked it so much the promoter asked me if I would play the next day. ... I came back and they said it was the biggest show they’d ever had out there to date. There were people everywhere; it was just a throw-down.”
It gave a much-needed lift to the anxious Deputy. 
“Before that moment, I was still really nervous on the road, wondering, ‘Will people like me; will people care?’  That gave me such a boost of confidence in my career,” he said. “It affected me to this day. When I go back, I have so much love for the Northeast; the whole area of New England.  A lot of people even think I am from there.”
Deputy makes his sonic magic while perched with his guitar behind a table full of gear, including a huge touchscreen, a pair of guitar synthesizers and four microphones, each with a singular purpose. A row of high-tech pedals is arranged at his feet. His musical process is more alchemy than construction. 
“I don’t really have a plan, it’s more of a feeling,” he said. “I play the first thing and then I just imagine the whole song right from the beginning ... as soon as I feel the puzzle pieces start to fit together, I start the song.”
It goes without saying that every show is different, but even Deputy will be surprised on occasion. Often, it will happen during a song. 
“Sometimes you’ll get to where all the pieces that you started with are there, but still the picture isn’t all you wanted it to be. Then you tweak it to make it different. There’s some of it that you write with your imagination, and then some of it happens naturally, just by being in the moment.”  

®2020 Hippo Press. site by wedu