While working on "DJ Hero," DJ Z-Trip nearly broke the upcoming rhythm video game.
For one of his musical contributions to the "Guitar Hero" offshoot, the mash-up maestro crafted a strand during his mix of Public Enemy's "Bring the Noise" and Justice's "Genesis" that would have required wannabe disc jockeys to scratch on the game's turntable-shaped controller for several seconds. The developers at FreeStyleGames told him it wasn't gonna happen.
"They were like, 'Yeah, we love that tune, but that moment where you are extending that scratch for those eight bars, we can't actually do that because the game will not allow it,'" said DJ Z-Trip. "You can't hold a scratch for that long. They had a laundry list of stuff you could and could not do because of the game's logistics, and that was one of them."
DJ Z-Trip — whose real name is Zach Sciacca — relished the task of creating three original tracks that would be both interesting to listen to and challenging to mimic. He's one of several DJs providing their mixes and likenesses to "DJ Hero," the Activision-published music game set for release Oct. 27 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and Wii.
"I've never made a song with gameplay in mind," said DJ Z-Trip. "That was a brand new concept to me where you have to make a song, have it sonically be something, if you close your eyes, that connects at all the right parts. I had to really rethink about how to put in something that wasn't abstract and weird but would still work with the flow of the tune."
Unlike "Guitar Hero" or "Rock Band," which usually feature unaltered tunes, "DJ Hero" is comprised of over 90 tracks mixed by DJs specifically for the game, such as a DJ Jazzy Jeff mash-up of LL Cool J's "Rock the Bells" and The Verve's "Bitter Sweet Symphony," and a mix of Bel Biv DeVoe's "Poison" and the Beastie Boys' "Intergalactic" by the late DJ AM.
"I'm glad that he's in the game," said DJ Z-Trip of DJ AM, the celebrity spinner who was found dead in his Manhattan apartment of an accidental drug overdose on Aug. 28. "It's been really hard to process AM's passing because he was a friend. I'm glad that his legacy is able to live on, but it's tough. It's been a tough thing to process for me."
Playalong music games continue to be a popular genre among gamers. Both "The Beatles: Rock Band" and "Guitar Hero 5" were among the top 10 best-selling games in September, according to market researcher NPD Group. Besides "DJ Hero," other rhythm games set for release this later this year include "Lego Rock Band," "Band Hero" and "Guitar Hero: Van Halen."
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