Mismatches make for great memories: Sting singing karaoke with fans in a little bar, the Rolling Stones playing a pub or turntablist superstar DJ Z-Trip at the tiny New Parish in Oakland on Friday.
“It doesn’t always have to be the Coliseum,” says Z-Trip, who closed the Grammys with LL Cool J in February and released a mixtape with rapper Talib Kweli in 2012.
“Some of the best shows I’ve seen and loved have always been when a big band like the Stones or whoever just go in and play a bar,” he says. “As DJs, we all grew up in small venues, so to take it back to something a little more intimate is totally my steeze (style), because I can actually get a little more intimate musically.”
Last year, the Los Angeles resident played a 14-month stint at megaclub Rain at Palms in Las Vegas, the kind of place where the DJ is an evening accessory. By contrast, Bay Area rap, hip-hop and turntablism fans are saving up hard-earned dollars for Z-Trip’s set Friday, and they’ll be hanging on his every body-rocking, face-melting beat.
“Which is the best s***. That’s the whole f***ing point of this thing is to do that. In Oakland, I’ll be able to rinse out my record collection, to go wherever the f*** I want to go, and I know they’ll be with me. The Bay’s more open-minded. They’re music people, and it makes it awesome.”
Born in New York and raised in Arizona, Z-Trip is a contemporary of Bay Area turntable champions DJ Qbert and DJ Shadow, but he didn’t get huge until 2001, after the first wave of scratching broke.
It was buddies such as David Paul from Bomb, Mark Herlihy from Future Primitive and Qbert’s friends who brought Z-Trip out to the Bay Area, and it’s been like home ever since. “The mentality of music, arts and culture — it’s all here,” he says.
Z-Trip has an Oakland-specific set for Friday, he said, part of a handful of dates he is playing while he focuses on making a new record.
“I’m going to start and end with some Oakland s*** for sure. How could you not? Without a doubt, if Too Short doesn’t get played, somebody’s going home in a body bag.”
“It’s dope. I’m excited to do it.”