Zedd finds new creative inspiration through his Zouk Group Las Vegas residency

Photo: Megan Blair / Courtesy

It’s the calm before a summer storm. Wearing a colorful, almost tropical shirt and looking utterly relaxed just minutes before he takes the stage at the sunny new Ayu Dayclub, Zedd (aka Anton Zaslavski) sits in a private dining room at Fuhu at Resorts World chatting about his music, his time away from big gigs like this one and his excitement for this new Las Vegas residency.

If you saw the splashy Resorts World commercial in which he plays rooftop pinball with a miniature Celine Dion, you know he has a lot to be excited about. But the 31-year-old producer behind dance megahits like “The Middle,” “Stay” and “Clarity” has clearly achieved a different kind of clarity about his career after seeing it stalled by the pandemic.

Zedd is already comfortable in his new Vegas home at Ayu (and gearing up for the debut of Zouk Nightclub next door), but above all else, he’s relieved to be entertaining live audiences again and reconnecting with the powerful inspiration that comes from these Vegas performances.

On the new residency: “I’ve done residencies in Las Vegas for … probably eight years at this point. This one feels very special, because for the first time I was able to actively be a part of an opening of a club and a hotel. The team here is super-open to feedback, which is amazing, because sometimes in the past I’ve been with corporations that aren’t willing to change anything from how they envisioned it. Here, it’s the exact opposite. It’s not just about how I feel onstage. I want every guest that comes to have the best experience. Everything has to be perfect. And this team has been incredible, not just waiting for feedback but asking for it. Everyone wants to make this the best place in Vegas.”

On Ayu Dayclub: “This is by far my favorite day venue I’ve ever played. There’s something about it not being too big. I have a great view of the crowd, and that stage fits a lot of people, so all my friends can fit. Every time I’ve played here, there’s this big party onstage. That gets me going, knowing everybody is having a good time and the crowd sees more than just me onstage, it’s a bunch of people having a good time. I feel like everybody is more connected here.”

On Zouk Nightclub: “Probably half a year ago we came out, went through all the renderings, looked at the lighting, and the same thing at Ayu applies to the nightclub—they are super-open to ideas. The person running the production is someone who used to run the lights for me at Omnia for the last three years and someone I really wanted to work with. This club is going to be insane, and I’m counting the days until I can finally get onstage.”

On the pandemic downtime: “When it was clear we were going to be taking some serious time off, in my mind I was like, oh, my God, I’m going to make an album and a half and be prepared for the whole second chapter of my life. The reality was I was not inspired at all. I couldn’t get myself in the right headspace to create the best album I can. And I realized I was so detached, because being onstage and playing sets is that close connection to reality and life.”

On restarting work on his next album: “It was always about taking a step back toward electronic music. My second album, True Colors, was a reminder to the world that, hey, I want to make sure everyone doesn’t expect me to do this [EDM] forever. Then I released an album of singles that was all over the place, genre-wise. I got hungry during that time to create more EDM-heavier music, and that is still the goal. The reason that kept me from continuing the project [last year] was because I was completely disconnected from the world where I present that music. I wanted to wait and see how the world is going to be, and now is the time to full-force work on that project with the same direction.”

ZEDD August 7, 11 a.m., $50-$75. Ayu Dayclub, zoukgrouplv.com.

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