Z-Trip: How “America’s Best DJ” Pushes the Boundaries of Creativity

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z-trip discusses careers with the conduit podcast

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In the ’90s, rock was rock, hip-hop was hip-hop, and the two never met. Then, at the turn of the century, a 73-minute, genre-bending bombshell exploded on the music scene, shattering notions of the limits of creativity and collaboration. Uneasy Listening, Vol. Ia collaborative album by like-minded DJs P and Z-Trip, broke genre conventions by mixing rock ‘n’ roll greats like Rush and Pat Benatar with dance and hip-hop tunes from Madonna, Redman and The Pharcyde.

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Welcome to The administration, a podcast featuring candid conversations with professional musicians, bringing listeners the unvarnished truth about life as an artist in the music industry. In tonight’s episode, host and LA-based DJ, producer and musician Dan Ubick (aka Constantine “Connie” Price) sits down with Zach Sciacca (better known as DJ Z trip) to discuss the musician’s pioneering work as a key player in the mash-up movement.

“It wasn’t like I set out to be a DJ,” says Z-Trip restless listening came on the scene in 2001 as samples, remixes and mashups gained credibility as a valid form of self-expression. “It was all about having this music and wanting to share it,” he continues. “When I realized I could do it and show people the things I liked, the DJ thing came into play.”

Widely known as the godfather of mashups and “America’s Best DJ,” an award he received from the in 2009 DJ TimesZ-Trip is also known for its engineering and production skills. Over the years he has collaborated with innovative artists such as Nas, Beck, Public Enemy and DJ Shadow, and remixed songs by artists as diverse as Bob Marley and the Butthole Surfers. In his interview, Z-Trip shares the brightest pearls of wisdom he’s collected along the way: “One thing I’ve learned throughout my career is to take risks,” he says. “Take risks and try to push boundaries. Don’t always play it safe. There is a time to play it safe, there is a time to protect yourself.”

Z-Trip also dives into his favorite cross-genre titles (see Afrika Bambaataa’s “Planet Rock”), why creative consistency is more important than big milestones, and how to find like-minded artists pursuing a similar career path. His advice to aspiring DJs? “Go into every gig like it’s your first (and last),” he says, adding, “Put all your heart and damn soul in it because you never know who’s watching.”