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Revolutionary party: The Z-Trip interview

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Z-Trip inside Rain on October 3 said he hopes to push boundaries both musically and conceptually in Vegas.
Photo: Jacob Kepler

Revolution. Revolve. Revolt. Evolve. All variations on a theme. And all part of what Z-Trip hopes to bring to Vegas with his Revolution Fridays. “I guess you could call Revolution equal to pushing boundaries, musically and conceptually,” says Z-Trip, born Zach Sciacca. “It’s left to be ambiguous; you can take what you want away from the whole thing,” he says. “It’s more of a feeling than it is something you put on paper.” We’ll try anyway.

The significance of Z-Trip coming to Vegas is massive. He’s fresh off his America’s Best DJ win and proved during his September 12 appearance at Paul Oakenfold’s Perfecto his ability to win over music fans of all tastes with his skilled and unique brand of blending. “I have the widest variety of fans that come to check me out,” he laughs. “Anyone from the clubgoers or the rave kid to metal guitarists, rock bands and country people.”

But stop before you label Z-Trip as just another “mash-up” DJ and don’t judge until you’ve heard him spin. Though Rain’s newest turntabilist is widely credited as one of the founders of the genre, he’d prefer to shy away from the classification. “Here’s the deal,” Z-Trip says. “I mix records. That’s what it’s about … It’s always been a hard thing for me because I didn’t create the name, I just got thrown into that pile.”

When Z-Trip is on the ones and twos, he flirts with mixing old school hip-hop, dubstep, rare groove funk, house, rock and even drum and bass. “I can and will rock anything,” Z-Trip says and even browsed the children’s albums for possible sampling material on a recent trip to the record store (incidentally, he left with two crates of vinyl). “The people need new tunes and new anthems not dictated by radio or any sort of media. It’s got to be dictated by who’s up there [in the DJ booth].”

And exactly who will be joining Z-Trip up there will often be a surprise. Though scheduled on-stage collaborations in the near future include MSTRKRFT and DJ P, Z-Trip’s setup of four turntables will allow other DJs to drop by and essentially jam with him, MCs might also hop on the mic or guest vocalists could appear out of Rain’s faux woodwork.

Z-Trip’s Revolution extends not only to the music, but also to the look of the party. Custom installations are being created by Shepard Fairey, the graphic artist behind Obey and the Barack Obama Hope posters—and a good friend of Z-Trip’s.

“They reached out to me to do this a while back,” Z-Trip says of his residency, which begins October 16, but it wasn’t possible at that time because of scheduling. And as excited as Z-Trip is about Revolution, there is still an elephant in the room thanks to media sensationalism. With the passing of DJ AM, who previously commanded Rain’s tables on Friday nights, Z-Trip almost considered not becoming a resident.

“He was a friend of mine and he passed away. Naturally the thing that hovers over this night is the passing of the torch from AM to me,” Z-Trip says and is still coping with the loss. “I’m hoping to continue moving forward with people recognizing that I’m not trying to replace him. There is no replacing him. It hits too close to home to have a friend die and to have somebody be like ‘you’re his replacement.’… Every time I come to Vegas, every time for the rest of my life, I’ll be thinking about that guy.”

Z-Trip hopes to honor not only AM, but others such as DJ Roc Raida who have impacted his life and music and passed before their time. And with Revolution, he’s also looking to bring all walks of life together. “We’re all connected, whether we like to admit it or not,” Z-Trip says. “A party for the people isn’t about me and my night so much as it’s about getting people to have a good time and open their minds a bit.”

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