Phoenix New Times: This past New Year’s Eve, you shared a stage with LL Cool J in the middle of Times Square on national television. Where does that rank both as a life experience and a career highlight?

Z-Trip: Well, it’s incredible because the thing is, the stuff I’ve done with him has been really amazing and keeps evolving. It was our second time doing Times Square (on New Year’s Eve), which is wild to even say. To do it once is incredible, but to do it a second time is equally as wild. It’s just great to be able to push the art of DJing and turntablism and what I do into the masses in the way I’ve been able to do it. And doing that with LL, he’s a perfect person to open the doors and welcome that in as well, because that’s what he also comes from, so it’s not a foreign place to be in when he and I are sharing the stage and where we’re able to do what I think a proper MC and a proper DJ can do. It’s all rooted and based in proper hip hop culture, which is a DJ and MC getting down in front of a crowd. So he really opens that up and allows that to be a focal point. And I think it was very interesting.

What was some of the feedback you’ve gotten from the experience?
Something that caught my eye in one of the comments because I saw the footage. I actually got to see the performance a couple of days afterwards. I was able to go online and look at it or go onto whatever, just basically watch it. And there’s all these hand shots of me scratching, which I’m very aware of trying to make sure anytime we do anything on TV or on a stage where there’s a lot of people where a lot of people can’t see, to make sure that we focus and get some shots of the hands on the turntables because it’s such an important component to what I do and to share that with people.

And I think over time with DJs in general, it’s very interesting that I’ve found when I’m playing festivals, for instance, certain camera people will come up and be like, “Hey, can I get shots of you?” And they are usually shots from down looking up, and I’m always like, “No, get up here with me so you can look at my hands.” And then the camera man has been like, “Wait, you want me to shoot your hands?” He’s like, “Most of the other DJs don’t want me to shoot their hands.” I’m like, “No, I want you to shoot my hands. I want people to see what I’m doing up here.” And so it’s a very cognizant idea to actually have that stuff captured.

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