World-famous crowd-pleaser DJ Z-Trip will be the new resident DJ at the Rain nightclub in the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas on Friday nights, setting up his turntables on the night formerly run by his good friend, the late DJ AM. "Z-Trip's Revolution" will kick off on October 16 and the mixmaster told MTV News that after nearly 15 years of relentlessly touring the world, the timing was right for him to put down some roots for the Rain gig.
"I have done a couple of these in the past here and there, but it never really worked out because I'm always touring," he said. "They offered me this a while back and I couldn't commit because of scheduling, but this time I could make it work and I kind of wanted to make it work because traveling is great and I love it, but it's nice to be able to count on being home sometimes."
AM, who died of an accidental drug overdose last month, was the resident DJ on Friday nights at Rain, where he spun at the popular "Rain in the Desert" club night — but Z-Trip stressed that out of respect for AM and every other fallen DJ, he doesn't want to be thought of as taking over or replacing his fellow turntablist.
"We were friends and we knew each other and it's kind of hard — it's a tough subject," said Z-Trip, who has declined to speak on the topic until now. "I want people to understand that I'm not filling his spot or his shoes. I'm trying to do my own thing, but I'm not disrespecting his thing by not acknowledging it. There's no replacement for that person. I will most definitely shout him out, that's what hip-hop is based on. Every day I DJ in Vegas I'll be thinking about that dude, every day of my life. But the way I acknowledge him is the way I acknowledge all those who've fallen, like Roc Raida — it's not about one guy. Every time I get up and spin, I'm honoring and doing it for all the people who've fallen behind."
The weekly gig by the man known as the Godfather of Mash-Ups will feature artwork created exclusively by famed street artist Shepard Fairey, whose "Hope" posters in support of then-candidate Barack Obama were ubiquitous during last year's presidential election. "That's huge for me, because iconically I wanted to make sure this thing looked and felt like where I come from," he said. "He and I are from the same cloth. I always felt he does visually what I do audibly. He's one of my favorite contemporary artists."
In addition to manning the turntables himself on an almost weekly basis, Z-Trip (born Zach Sciacca) has lined up some guests to join him on some upcoming dates, including DJ P on October 30 and MSTRKRFT on November 13. He is currently scheduled to play the club on those dates, as well as November 6, December 4 and 31, January 8 and 22, and February 5 and 25. On the nights he's not there, celebrity guest DJs will step in to help, with the current roster including Will.I.Am (October 23), Jazzy Jeff (November 20), DJ Skribble (November 27) and DJ Vice (December 11).
"The concept behind the night was to bring other people in and make it be about the name of the night: revolution," Z-Trip explained. "It's about revolving and evolving, so, for me I want to keep things as open as possible." For that reason, Z-Trip will be setting up four turntables every night he's there, with an extra set for anyone who happens to be in the building who he wants to invite up.
Z-Trip, who is known for touring all over the world and opening for the Rolling Stones, was recently named America's Best DJ for 2009 by DJ Times magazine. He recently jammed on some new music with former House of Pain leader Everlast for a potential future project and completed work on remixes for the Beastie Boys and the Dead Weather. But the project he's most psyched about right now is his debut as an avatar in the "DJ Hero" video game, which also features three of his exclusive tracks.
"It's definitely weird," he said of the video game treatment. "When I started doing this, and every day along the way, I never envisioned these things could happen — I consider myself an underdog and to be in a video game, it's timeless, it encapsulates me. Any DJ would want that. Not just the vanity of it, but they are actually looking to DJs and stepped to the right DJs to push the game forward."