Life has been a whirlwind for Seattle DJ Four Color Zack since winning the Red Bull Thre3Style World Finals last September. In addition to judging qualifying rounds for this year's Red Bull Thre3Style competition, he's been dropping ear-popping mixes all over the place, most recently for Power 106 Los Angeles.
In Red Bull Thre3Style, the world's best party DJs battle head-to-head with 15-minute sets that incorporate a minimum of three genres of music. The winners are selected by a panel of judges.
As the Red Bull Thre3Style contest heads to Philadelphia for the regional final, where Four Color Zack will be replaced on the judges table by DJ A-Trak, Z-Trip and DJ Jazzy Jeff, we spoke with last year's top party rocking DJ to get his take on the competition so far and what styles, techniques and sounds are going to be sticking around in 2013.
What's your take away from winning the Red Bull Thre3Style World Finals in Chicago and everything that has happened since?
It was pretty crazy. It all felt like it happened, but not really, you know? It's tough to remember every single thing. I was just happy that the set turned out at all with it being so quick and no practice. It could've gone either away. Building a set in two to three days in a hotel room is not ideal. The fact that it worked at all is awesome. To see the crowd react to it right away is super rewarding as well. The night itself had so much energy. By the end of that contest, it was the only thing keeping the DJs going.
Instead of competing, you've taken a seat at the judges table. What are you looking for during the competition as a DJ turned judge?
Seeing things what connected and what didn't was a huge learning experience for me. On top of that, just seeing how different markets react.
That being said, I look for a lot of personality in the set -- not necessarily physically, but staying true to themselves musically while taking what Red Bull Thre3style is to the next level. I want to see someone who is going to come through and offer either a new technique, a new sound or just a new way of navigating a 15-minute set.
It's really easy to go through all of the sets that have been recorded and make a replica of the top three, you know? On paper, that should work -- but it doesn't sound original and it doesn't speak for itself.
"It's really easy to go through all of the sets that have been recorded and make a replica of the top three, you know? On paper, that should work — but it doesn’t sound original and it doesn't speak for itself." -- Four Color Zack
After judging the Red Bull Thre3style US Qualifiers, is there a sound or style that rise to the top of this year's cultural consciousness?
Each year offers something completely new, you know? That's a good thing (laughs). I always look at 2011 with [Red Bull Thre3style World Champion] DJ Hedspin. What he was doing in his sets was so new and so inspiring to all of us. We were amazed at what he was able to pull off.
In 2012, the DJ community wanted to take it to another level instead of looking to replicate something that everyone already knows works on paper. For 2013, everyone is trying to define what this year is going to be known for. It's still early, but by the end of the year, we'll have a better idea of what that sound or technique is. In the meantime, we just have to watch and see.
Follow Red Bull on Twitter for more updates.
- See how Four Color Zack won the Red Bull Thre3Style World Final 2012
- Hear what some of the world's best DJs say about Red Bull Thre3Style
- Go behind the decks with DJ Z-Trip