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Zapéd on how to juggle music production, study, and running your own music festival

11 July 2017 | 9:47 am | Staff Writer

Jordan De Pas wears many hats. You might have seen him on stage as Zaped, performing with the likes of Baths, The Kite String Tangle or Glass Animals. You might have also seen him at last year’s Arcadia, behind the scenes as the organiser of the boutique electronia festival. Brisbane locals, you might have even spotted him at gigs in the Valley and it’s surrounds. 

From being ‘forced’ to learn the guitar at an early age and ‘hating it’ at first, music is the now the most fundamental aspect of Jordan’s life today.  Specialising in ‘future groove with intelligence and character’, his Zaped moniker has drawn comparisons to Flume, Disclosure and Chet Faker – but retains an unmistakable R’n’B flavour underpinned by monster beats and melodic ambience.

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The emergence of Zaped into the live arena in 2013 coincided with the release of his debut single ‘Feeling’ followed by ‘Come Black of the Year’ and ‘Paradise’ featuring vocals from the sultry and smooth Georgia Potter. 

In between study, trips to Berlin and with another release set for the near future, Jordan has been busy planning the second instalment of Arcadia, to be held in September in the Goomburra Valley, just outside of Brisbane. We asked him to shed some light on how he manages to fit it all in, and how he has seen Brisbane’s music scene grow in recent years.

You’re pretty heavily involved in Brisbane’s music scene, and it’s something you’re very passionate about. How has it changed in the last few years and what do you think has contributed to this?

When I started out in the Brisbane music scene I was a 16 year old punk/emo rock kid with a fringe down to my nipples so I’ve definitely seen growth within myself and the scene simultaneously. I’m really excited with the cultural and entertainment growth Brisbane is going through at the moment, which is evident through all of the events and festivals that have been popping up locally. I think creating more awareness around these events and different genres is key to building upon the foundations of the Brisbane music scene. There are so many great electronic acts coming out of Brisbane and I feel like if I can help facilitate that growth somehow then I’m doing a good job! 

Tell us about Zaped, how long have you been producing music for? What inspired you to make music?

Zaped started out as a side project back in 2012 while I was recovering from surgery. I wrote three or four demos and ended up recording one of them in Danny (from The Kite String Tangle)’s home studio. I had been writing music for a good 12 years before Zaped and had reached some levels of success with previous bands. In 2014 I eventually moved to Berlin to further explore electronic dance music and production. I ended up falling in love with house and techno music, which has really really inspired me to hone in on my own sound and production techniques. My time overseas really inspired me as I was previously stuck in a rut with writing and creating music, so I would recommend spending some time abroad to anyone going through similar problems.

Can you tell us a bit about your new music that will be released soon?

I have been quietly chipping away at an EP whenever I get a chance between uni and Arcadia stuff. I plan on releasing a new single by mid July which I’m pretty excited about as it will be the first Zaped track with my own vocals. I’m a little nervous about it but also just want to get it out there already!

You must be pretty busy with producing music, organising Arcadia, and studying in amongst this. How do you juggle it all?

It’s definitely a balancing act at times. I like to think they all work in conjunction with each other in helping me figure out who I want to be and what I want to do in life. I’ve been going to events and playing as an artist at events for the better half of 10 years so it’s really interesting being on the other side of it all with my Arcadia duties. The real juggling act will start when I’ve got three assignments due the week of Arcadia so maybe ask me this question in a few months time? 

What are you studying?

I’m currently in my second year undertaking a bachelor of creative industries, majoring in entertainment and minoring in music.

What does an average day in your life look like?

I wake up; go straight to coffee, then either to uni or work or into my home studio. I’m currently on uni break so I've been working on some new music with a friend, which takes up a decent chunk of my time. I find playing some Playstation whenever I get the chance pretty relaxing also.  I’m currently fully immersed in this game Horizon Zero Dawn, which has been goddamn amazing. Plus it’s always a good idea to give your ears a break if you’ve been mixing the same hi hats for four hours.

How did the idea for ARCADIA spark?

I was lucky enough to experience some really interesting events and club nights while living overseas, which pushed me towards creating Arcadia. When I arrived home I was asked by Arcadia Co-Director Eddie Kingswell if I’d be interested in starting an event out at his family’s farm. The timing was definitely a sign as I had just moved back home and was looking for a way to incorporate what I had seen work overseas here in Aus. Things kind of just took off and here we are now gearing up for round two!

What’s the core ethos behind Arcadia?

Our main goal with Arcadia is to create a unique experience for people who share similar interests in music and in life. It’s a safe haven away from the big city lights and an exercise in creating a community of like minded people.  

The inaugural Arcadia was a huge success last year, what were you most proud of?

Definitely the team who worked tirelessly behind the scenes. We had friends and family come through for us in a big way last year and without them I don't think Arcadia would have been a success at all. Also, the people who came were so positive and excited about the whole experience, which made me feel like we didn't completely fuck this thing up!

What did you find most challenging last year?

EVERYTHING…. but seriously, we had so much help from friends and family which really helped out when things were becoming challenging. I’d say the actual festival set up in the days leading up to the event was the hardest part but the most rewarding at the same time.

What can we expect from this year’s event?

We’ve managed to book some unreal talent both live and DJs this year so expect some quality music! In saying that we are super proud of last year’s lineup, which is why we have invited a few of the artists back for round two!

Do you have any tips for anyone who might be thinking about starting their own music festival?

Just pull the trigger and do it. If it’s what you really want to do and you have a passion for this kind of stuff then go for it. Having contacts in the industry will help you immensely as well when it comes to reaching your audiences or booking artists. I have been lucky enough to meet some amazing people during my time as a musician in Brisbane, which has helped me build a solid contact base. The Brisbane and Australian music festival scene right now is going through a revitalisation stage with boutique festivals and events popping up everywhere. It truly is an exciting time to be a part of this industry and I urge anyone with a passion for this kind of stuff to get involved and help contribute to the future of Australian music and events.


30 September - 1 October

Goomburra Valley, QLD

Live Acts: