Q&A With Paul Z (DJ Blaze One)

In our newest blog, we sit down with DJ and IPR Lab Staff extraordinaire, Paul Z (Paul Znascko) to discuss how he got his start in the world of professional DJing, as well as great projects he’s been a part of in the Minneapolis music scene.

How did you get into DJing?

IPR Lab Staff and DJ, Paul Z (DJ Blaze One)When I was 15 years old, a friend from school passed me a flyer to a party that he told me went until sunrise and featured DJ’s from all around the world. Everything he told me about the party sounded unique. You had to call a number that was on the flyer on the night of the party to be given the address. They would give you detailed instructions on how to get there and how to enter the venue quietly and discreetly. Remember, this was at the dawn of the internet and before social media and smart phones were the norm. GPS wasn’t really a thing yet either, so things were much different and kinda tricky to coordinate back then.

Upon my surprise come the night of the party, I found out the event was taking place at an ice arena! We almost thought it was a prank while on our way there until we pulled into the packed parking lot and saw tons of people standing in line to get into the event. It was crazy! Later I  would find out that this kind of renegade late night party with DJs was called a “rave”. Until this, I had only gone to heavy metal and rap concerts and traditional music festivals, so this was something very new to me.

What inspired you to DJ?

After attending the party, I was instantly drawn into the culture and scene. After the 2nd one, I was hooked! And by the 3rd one I realized I wanted to be one of these DJs that were getting paid to fly around the world and play music. DJ’s were treated like rockstars, so as you can imagine it was very alluring to me as a teenager growing up.

At my third show, I watched a DJ named Danny the Wildchild from Chicago throw down a Drum’N’Bass set. He did all sorts of scratching and tricks that I had never seen any other DJs do before. The music he played resonated with me, and his style stood out among the crowd. I remember standing in the middle of the party, with my jaw dropped nearly touching the dancefloor, thinking “this is it… this is what I wanna do… this is how I want to do it… these are the kind of sounds I want to make that represent who I am… I’m gonna be a DJ like this!”

I went home that night and couldn’t stop thinking about the idea of me being a DJ and playing music at parties like that! After that moment, things happened really fast for me. I was exposed to many other amazing scratch DJ’s like DJ Q-Bert, DJ Craze and DJ Hype. These DJ’s really inspired me to do what I do to this day!

How did you get involved with Hotel MinneSnowta?

I’ve been involved with Hotel MinneSnowta since the 2nd one that was promoted a few years ago. I go pretty far back with Mark that runs MJG Productions who is the mastermind promoter behind Hotel MinneSnowta, as well as tons of other awesome events in the Midwest showcasing talent from jam bands playing bluegrass and psychedelic rock to hip-hop performers and DJs.

I’ve thrown my own hotel party called Heartbreak Hotel for many years with MJG Productions as well as a couple of EDM music festivals and many 1-off shows that they have set me up with. MJG Productions also manages artists in the Midwest and work as booking agents for artists as well.

What was MinneSnowta 2019 like?

AMAZING! The event took place in a new hotel in Plymouth that we had never used before which was a nice breath of fresh air being able to change playgrounds this year. It was a 2-day event, but I was only able to make it out for Saturday night.

The music I saw was on point, the crowd was really nice and friendly and it looked like everyone was having a good time. I had the honors of playing the final set Saturday night and had tons of fun being able to send off the crowd with smiles on their faces! Good times fo sho!

What’s next for you?

We’ve been in talks about getting Heartbreak Hotel 5 going, so hopefully we can get things locked in for this year for that. Also am working on putting recording a few different DJ mixes I plan to release this year.

My next gig is February 15th at Rogue at the Lounge with Kasper, Chemosit, Modest and MC Hyde. So definitely got some fun stuff coming up this year!

Where can people follow you on social media?

The best place to keep up with me on social media would be my Facebook fan page.  Please “like” the page to stay up to date on new DJ mixes and upcoming shows! Hope to see some new faces out on the dancefloor this year! Much love and respect everyone!