It's hard to believe that just one month ago, all eyes were on Chicago as Red Bull Thre3style 2012 reached it's thrilling finale. After a five-way World Final at the city's historical Metro Theatre, it was USA's Four Color Zack who was named as the World's Best Party Rocker.
We caught up with him to find out what his life is like after that unforgettable night of Thre3style mayhem.
How did it feel the moment you were crowned winner?
Unreal. We had all been working so hard all year to get to that point. I think we were all equally excited to be performing together as we were all hoping to win, so I was already feeling high just off the event itself. The win just pushed it over the edge, I couldnt believe it.
There wasn't long between you being announced as a wild card and the final - how did you prepare you set so quickly?
I tried to pay attention to what worked and what didnt so that when I started building the new set I was on a better track, to have it more tailored to the Chicago crowd. I had a few things I was hoping to do but for the most part the set was built from scratch. The little time I had between the announcement and the final event was spent in the hotel room coming up with ideas and doing mental math to hit the 15 min set time. In the end I finished the set about an hour before sound check and had never run through it so I was hoping that it would flow naturally.
How did you feel when you didn't make it through on your preliminary round?
It was unexpected but DJ Drummer was amazing so I was thrilled for him. I was happy that his creativity was rewarded! I was happy with my set and how I played it but there were some things that didnt connect with the crowd the way I was hoping so it was more just a learning experience. But I still do like that set a lot so I wasnt too bummed, I had high hopes for the wild card spot.
How did you friends and family react to your win?
They are ecstatic! Very proud. It was great having my wife and a bunch of friends there with me in Chicago so we got to celebrate instantly. It's great having the support of friends and family. Makes it feel like a group win that we can all be thankful for.
Can you describe how it felt to have the crowd behind you?
I was actually surprised by the support on the final night. I didnt feel quite as much in the semi final night and didnt have any reason to think it would be different. The hope was that the new set would be able to get people more charged up and thankfully it paid off. It ended up being the unifying feeling we all strive for.
How would you answer critics who perhaps think you had it easy as you were on home turf?
HA! I dont think that home turf is an advantage the way people think. You can never bank on unconditional support to carry you through the
competition. Think about this: The DJ's job is to unify people, create an amazing energy, take them on a journey... and the DJs in the world finals have proven that they are the best at what they do so expectations are already high. If someone stands out, its undeniable. Look at how it worked on for me on the semi final night. It's fair to say that Chile was not the unanimous #1 pick for that night but he showed people why he was the best and it was undeniable. Thinking that home turf is going to get you ahead will get you in to trouble for sure. Thankfully I went into it with that in mind.
Are you still in touch with any of the other competitors from this year?
Yes for sure, and I hope to stay in touch with them consistently. They are all amazing and I know we all want to spin together again soon. So many great people with inspirational talent.
What did you learn about yourself throughout this year's Thre3style?
I learned more about what I have to offer the competition and to DJing. I've never had the best scratches or juggles in the world but it was really great to see that there can be a lot more to it then that. The year taught me just how important it is to be yourself in what it is you care about. To carve out your own path if it feels right.
Are you going to defend your title next year?
Ahhg, it's such a tough decision. I really want to, it is such a fun experience, so rewarding. But I think I will be taking the opportunity to get into more showcase sets instead, hopefully being extremely involved with Thre3style. I'm so excited to see this next year's events and be inspired by all of the competitors.
What advice/encouragement can you give to any would-be Thre3stylers out there who might be interested in competing next year?
The more you put in the more you get out. It's a competition but its also a chance to focus on becoming a stronger DJ. Be yourself and have fun.
Other than winning, what was your highlight from Chicago?
Hanging out with some of the best folks ever.
How has winning affected your DJing career?
It's helped me take it a lot more seriously thats for sure. There are tons more opportunities now and I'm equally charged up to take advantage of them!