Franco Zarate: Covering all Bas(s)es

Franco Zarate strolled into the studio (Looper Beat Academy now called Bounce Electronic Music and DJ School) with an unexpected mission — the self-taught, then amateur DJ was entering his first competition, and his early professional lessons evolved quickly into battle-training sessions. Luckily, his skill and natural affinity for the nuances in communicating with dance music landed him his first championship title (Reserve DJ Battle 2015)– and the latest buzzword on the scene was born.

Three years, a steady stream of DJ residencies and music festivals, battles (including the 2015 Red Bull 3Style Philippine Finals), and a label release later, Franco continues to thunder upon the scene as the #BassMonster — and is determined to share how hard work and an unrelenting courage can land you within reach of your dreams.

DJ Mag Philippines sat down with Franco to know more about himself and his music.  Read on to find out how Franco Zarate is covering all bas(s)es.


How and when did you start your career as a DJ? And what made you decide to make it as a career?

Franco: I started DJ-ing in 2011 as a hobby playing in some college events in my university. Wanting to learn more, I enrolled myself at Looper Beat Academy in 2014 and started competing in DJ competitions, which eventually led to getting booked at venues. Music as a career made me feel fulfilled and this made me decide to push through with this career. I can say that I am very blessed to have my passion as my career because doing what I love makes work very fun.


Aside from making music, what are your other passions? 

Franco: I love watching movies and TV series, playing sports (Basketball and Ultimate Frisbee), watching funny videos on Youtube and playing video games!


Who/what are your influences?

Franco: My influences are mostly bass music producers such as Diplo, Virtual Riot, Skrillex, Must Die!, Getter, Mija, Slander, NGHTMRE and Wiwek to name a few. I love how they embrace their weirdness to stand out!


How do you produce your own track? Share with us the process

Franco: I first make the structure of my track, counting how long each segment (Intro, Breakdown Verse, Hook, Buildup, Drop, Outro) would be. Usually, when I make a track, I usually start with the drop – because generally it’s the direction I would like my song to go. Filling my drop with the instruments and sounds that I like, it would branch on to the sounds that I would want to hear on the other parts of my song. I use Ableton as my Digital Audio Workstation or DAW, and having really good plugins such as Serum, Sylenth and Waves Suite helps me achieve the sounds I want. After I complete the song, I would mix it down to make sure the volume of each element would hit the sweet spot. Last comes mastering where I would get my final mix before I export my track.



Best locally produced track? 

F: Nothing On – Kidwolf

Lights on or off?

F: Off!

That one track you hate but people often request? 

F: Despaaaaaaaaa……….. nevermind haha!

Highlight of your career? 

F: Too many to mention in 1 word, so I’ll just mention them all haha! (NeverlandXRaveolution, Hydro Manila, Redbull Thre3style and being able to travel around the Philippines to play)

Best gig ever?

F: A tie between Hydro Manila 2 and NeverlandXRaveolution!

One artist you want to collaborate with NOW

F: Skrillex!


Tell us about your latest track and inspiration behind it? 

F: It’s a song about a girl madly in love with a boy, which is filled with different emotions. The track is written and sang by the very talented DJ Khai Lim and is to be released under Carpe Noctem Inc – a San Francisco based record label. The genre of this track is of course one of my favorite genres ever – Dubstep!


Are you going to launch an EP anytime soon? 

F: If things go well and as planned, I will be launching an EP within the first quarter of next year!


What’s your message to young aspiring DJs who want to make it big in local scene?

F: Always keep pushing forward, practice and continue searching for creative inspiration! Believe that one day, things will be better as long as you put in the work. For additional learning, Youtube is your friend! Haha!


Check out Franco Zarate and Khai Lim’s latest collaboration, “Last Shot” under Carpe Noctem, Inc. available now on Spotify and Beatport


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