Maike Depas

Young Milanese DJ-producer MAIKE DEPAS (born Michelangelo De Pasquale) has seen the future of music and it’s called metaverse: “In the future it will blow up,” he predicts. “And its going to revolutionise the way we experience music.” Bowled over by Skrillex and Martin Garrix at the age of 8, and DJing at small Milan clubs by the time he was 11, Maike Depas went on to study composition and piano at the prestigious Milan Conservatory before learning ‘life-changing” lessons from the best in the business at Catalyst’s 4-week Advanced Sound Design course in Berlin’s Funkhaus last year. Inspired by the Italian groups MEDUZA and ANYMA at the epic end of the techno spectrum, his cyberpunk-inspired video ‘Voyager’ is his first step towards incorporating virtual reality into his productions and offering his audiences an unforgettable, immersive experience.

For the son of an art collector, being born in the cultural capital of Europe was something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it opened his eyes to the fundamental concepts behind art. It helped me to better understand the idea behind a painting or a track,” he explains. ”The artist is not just doing normal work. He is putting all his feelings, all his ideas into a masterpiece.” But on the other hand, the conservative Italian culture became an obstacle on his career path. “As you can imagine, there is this stereotype of being an artist in our society,” he says, smiling, which implies this stereotype is not a very flattering one.

Not that it was enough to put a damper on  Maike Depas’s plans, though. Ever since he had heard ‘Kyoto’ by Skrillex for the first time when he was only 8-years old, his heart had always been set in electronic music. “It was really, really strong, and I said: What?! This is amazing…!” he recalls, laughing. Id never heard anything like that before.” From dubstep the tracks lead to Martin Garrix, the big room EDM, and eventually to trance and melodic techno of Sven Väth with whom he is “really in love with.

By the time he was 11, his father helped him out by booking DJ-gigs for him at small venues around Milan. “I used to play in really small clubs, not the most beautiful in Milan. And the people were not so great, as you can imagine,” he describes. “My father used to take me back home at 2am so it was quite demanding to do this kind of stuff,” he admits. And it was not only the venues and the staff that left a lot to be desired. “Unfortunately I was able to have one EDM song in every 2-3 hour set… Im not joking,” he says, sighing. And the rest of the set? “That was mainstream pop, tracks playing on radio or Top-50 on Spotify Italy,” he says, chuckling. “So it was quite difficult.”


Without a doubt one of the most important turning points of Maike Depas’s career was his entry into the Milan Conservatory where he became musically literate by studying composition and piano, his main instrument. “For me, its the pure sound,” he sums up, and goes on to describe his creative process. “The first thing to do is to sit at the piano and start to improvise something. When the main chords are right, I try to figure out my direction.” The influence of the Conservatory and the lessons learn on classes are ingrained in him: the importance of structure, even a habit of jotting down the notes on a piece of paper.

But even if the time at the Conservatory were well spent, none of it makes the grade compared to arriving in Berlin for Catalyst’s 4-week Advanced Sound Design course at Funkhaus in 2022, “it was a life-changing experience” reflected in the name of the single ‘Berliner’ released shortly after. Being taught by Christopher Jarman of Kamikaze Space Programme and Laurence Osborne aka Appleblim left a lasting impression on Maike Depas  and deepened the understanding of his craft. The most important maxim was “Everything is a sound.” A case in point, he cites, is the American avant-garde composer John Cage’s score titled 4′33″ which explicitly instructs performers not to play their instruments for the entire duration of the composition. “The main idea about this is that the sounds that come from the audience and the atmosphere in the chapter is the music,” he explains. “Thats when I realised that folly sounds and all this kind of art can be implemented in my vision and in my works.

Discussing with Maike Depas, the term ‘vision’ comes up often in relation to his work, especially the new music video of Voyager, an entry into the world where techno and virtual reality turn into an unforgettable, heightened sensory experience. “I would love each listener to create their own vision of Voyager,” he muses. “The character has no face so there is no identity behind the character, everyone can be the character, and everyone can do their own journey into my world of music.” For any masterpiece to become complete, the artistic vision needs a counterpart, a mirror image, and that is the vision of an audience member. “This is what Im talking about.

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