One of the most recognizable names in DJing, Z-Trip's hunger for all of the best music, no matter where it comes from, has made him one of the most accessible DJs around, acting as common ground for all varieties of music fans. The person who has deep respect from serious hip-hop heads and major ravers alike is a rare and wonderful thing and there might be no one who strides through the deep streets those two worlds with such ease as Z-Trip. In the vast career of Z-Trip, bookending a decade of Rifflandia might seem like a small thing. But to me, Z-Trip's name being high up on lineup of this massive festival in my hometown is representative of both the genreless taste of the festival and my own natural disdain of genre labels. I was honoured to get the opportunity to talk to an OG and ask him my silly questions before he lay down the days most exciting and unpredictable set. Despite hearing nothing but stories about how nice and welcoming the homie was, I was understandably nervous coming to the meeting, but within moments we were into the goods, nerding out on music. Once he had his phone out, showing me video of him rocking the night before with A Tribe Called Quest, LL Cool J, Melle Mel and Scoprio of the Furious Five, I knew everything was going to be a-okay. The diggers are always the most fun to talk to and this one is no different. We cover Star Wars and the availability of media, veganism and the legend of his family's cuisine.
1. Do you remember the first album you bought with your own money?
It was the story of Star Wars. It was a narration, long play. Basically it was the movie on an album with a booklet with pictures and shit in it. And I memorized the shit out of it.
Did you buy it thinking it was the music?
I didn't know what the fuck it was. I was just a kid and was like, “Star Wars! Yeah! I'm gonna get it!” I still have that record.
Do you still listen to it?
I've sampled it in things. I haven't sat down and listened to the record in a very long time...but I don't need to because I know it all. I know the sound effects and shit because I listened to it religiously. Back in the day you grabbed whatever media you could that had a connection to the movie or whatever. You couldn't just get Star Wars, you had to go the theatre to see it and that was it. Now everything's just out there. But I had a piece of this movie on that record that I could listen to, close my eyes and envision it. See the movie all over again. It was dope.
2. When's the last time you did something for the first time?
It's probably some stupid, mundane thing like, “Oh, I tired this mushroom or something.” Not mushrooms! I don't like the taste of mushrooms, I'm not talking about hallucinogenics. <laugh> These days, I try to do these cleanses. I'm not 18 years old anymore, just raging and going nuts. Whenever you do anything – I run a lot, and if I'm running and hurt my ankle it takes three weeks instead of three days to heal. So I've been trying a lot of different things. Right now is my first time trying to go vegan. I've been vegetarian in the past. I'm about two weeks into being a vegan.
How do you feel?
I love it. I actually don't miss it. It's harder on the road though. Travelling fucking sucks for food anyway, but try adding these levels of not eating dairy or meat or anything. Oh yeah, good luck, you're just eating french fries. Fucking veggie burgers and french fries. Trying to find the good vegan spots is the thing that's on my list now.
3. Have you ever seen or felt a ghost or ghost-like presence?
I don't wanna say no, because I know that I probably have in some capacity. But nothing has really struck me like a horror film moment. But I don't discredit that kind of vibe. “Ghost” is a hard term because it's such a literal thing. To go deeper on what you're saying, I have experienced the feeling of vibes, strong vibes in a particular area or space. There's a spot that I go out to in Joshua Tree. My homeboy Brillz and I are working on a project and we go to the same spot. There's a lot of energy there. It's a very interesting, spiritual kind of place. There's energy and whatever, ghosts, whatever you call them but there's definitely a high vibration there. I definitely believe in that. Joshua Tree is where I've felt it the most, in the desert.
4. What's the last thing that truly made you laugh?
It's probably my girlfriend. We joke a lot and we have a very funny relationship, constantly making each other laugh. She does some really funny shit that you should never do in or around a crowd of people. There's a lot of that that happens at home, so that's probably the one.
5. If you could spend the day with anyone living or dead, who would it be and what would you do?
These are really good questions, man. We need to have a joint and an hour to have a really deep conversation about this. The amount of people racing through my head right now is incredible. I think it would be my grandmother. We had a great relationship when I was a kid. She was 100% Italian and she made the best food. There's a family recipe that she had that she passed on to my aunt. My aunt passed away. I have it now. But you know how it is when someone makes something a certain way. I remember having her food as a kid. I would spend the day with her and have her teach me meticulously so I knew exactly how to do it. It'll never be as good as grandma.
6. Your guest question comes from the mighty WBBL, who also worked at smashing up Shambhala this year, and he asks...If you sneezed skittles, would you be opposed to eating them?
No! Snot, no. Skittles, yeah. They're Skittles. That's a slam dunk.
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