Zach Sciacca, aka DJ Z-Trip or simply Z-Trip, is a turntablist from Arizona known for using turntables to seamlessly compose disparate genres into cohesive wholes. Unlike other DJs who practice the art of beat juggling, Z Trip will include rock and pop in with the hip hop. He has performed with several different MCs and DJs throughout his nearly two decades of work.
Z-Trip achieved national attention in 2001 for his privately released mix Uneasy Listening, a collaboration made with DJ P. The title only held true for those listeners with a rigid idea as to which genres a DJ may hold court. This was the first time many had ever heard the Eagles, Pearl Jam, Metallica, Glen Campbell, Pink Floyd, The Who, Pat Benetar, Cyndi Lauper, and John Williams mixed with the likes of such classics of hip hop as Public Enemy, Del, Afrika Bambaataa, the Beasties, LL Cool J, and Sir Mix-A-Lot. This sonic blend became Z-Trip's trademark style.
Prior to that he mostly toured and had a few small bits on various compilations. His first full release was on the Future Primitive Sounds label; it was a live collaborative mix with DJ Radar made in 1999. This live set was shortened for the CD release; the full set was available online. The CD is still available but the full mp3 would be more difficult to track down (most of it is on youtube).
In 2001 Z-Trip did the intro for Scratch and was interviewed for that documentary.
He learned to DJ before Ableton. When that program came into existence, he was just getting popular. Similar artists such as Girl Talk have since made ample use of Ableton to sequence highly intricate breaks. Z-Trip remains a purist, relying solely on records to create a sound that is nearly as layered. For some sequences he may pre-mix his breaks and press them onto vinyl for later use in a set. Or at least that's what I remember from the movie.
Z-Trip's tours following Uneasy Listening were very successful (this was before blew up and so the idea of mash-up was still something of a novelty for many). In 2002 Z-Trip played before a crowd of 10,000 at Coachella. Z-Trip got signed to a major label for 2005's Shifting Gears. This album was entirely new tracks made by manipulating different records. Multiple MCs (including two from Jurassic Five) appeared throughout and the record was critically praised.
In 2003 he released an anti-war mix that was available from his website for free. A benefit mix for Obama, Party for Change, made use of audio from stump speeches. That one came out in 2008 on an underground label. In 2009 he followed up on this with Victory Lap, which was only available online. There were over 500,000 downloads of that. Both of those Obama-themed releases bore Shepard Fairey's iconic Hope portrait. In 2008 a two track CD put out on Obey Records was distributed at Z-Trip's live shows, which also featured Fairey's art.
Along with DJ Shadow, Daft Punk, DJ AM, Grandmaster Flash, and DJ Jazzy Jeff; Z-Trip contributed his persona an integral part of the video game/DJ tutorial DJ Hero which came out in 2009 and is available on all major console gaming systems. Like Guitar Hero, this game came with a special controller. DJ Z-Trip was not a part of the game's sequel.
He also composed the soundtrack for the football console game All Pro in 2007. Also in that year he released an album with Lateef (of the Quannum crew).
Recently he mixed a new mixtape with Talib Kweli, which you can check out here. It's available for free and is quite good. I've never heard anyone rapping over "Losing My Religion" before (check out The Corner).
I saw him perform in 2005. He spun some motown then segued to the Isley Brothers straight into Tears For Fears: you know you make me wanna—SHOUT SHOUT LET IT ALL OUT. The moment was pure genius.
His versions of Rush's Tom Sawyer is exquisite. He also did a tribute to Michael Jackson, blending several of MJ's songs into one megamix. You can find those on any decent file-sharing network. Also look for the DNA Lounge and Beta Lounge Sets. Because of the crazy way that copyright laws work, turntablism can be an expensive thing to produce in-studio. The best stuff are usually bootlegs from live shows. During live performances is Z Trip is not afraid to take the mic to amp the crowd—something not many DJs since Grandmaster Flash have done.
Z Trip currently has a weekly residency at Rain inside the Palms casino in Las Vegas and in recent years has spun at JamCruise.
Z-Trip is widely regarded as one of America's best DJs. He has helped to increase the appreciation of hip hop culture amongst those who might not otherwise take an interest in it. Z-Trip may not have the same level of attention to detail as DJ Shadow or Spooky but he sure knows how to get a crowd dancing. He has achieved commercial and critical success and is politically active. Despite all of this, he remains a humble and modest person.