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A ‘how to DJ’ search sparked Zedd’s rise to stardom

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, you want to be a superstar DJ. Your first move would be to go online.

Zedd did just that.

“I literally Googled, “How to DJ,” and downloaded software on a laptop,” says the nightclub and dayclub superstar whose legal name is Anton Zaslavski. “The first gig I ever played, I didn’t have any DJ gear. I just had a laptop with the touch pad.”

It would be kind of like playing a piano outfitted with only the black keys. Zedd knows that world, as piano is his original instrument, before he switched to drums and finally explored electronic sounds.

The young artist would develop a musical direction, his own tastes and flair for live performance. Among the most famous DJs to play the Strip, Zedd returns to Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace on Saturday night.

This is the first show in his new residency series with Tao Group Hospitality. Zedd is also booked to headline Tao Beach Dayclub at The Venetian and and Wet Republic at MGM Grand.

For the 34-year-old EDM star, Saturday’s Omnia show is the Super Bowl of performances, on the very eve of the “Big Game.” But as he says, growing up in the German town of Kaiserslauter, “Football is soccer. Our entire culture is based on soccer.”

The Super Bowl halftime shows were Zedd’s real interest, “A huge splash,” is his term.

“I just remember watching them, you know, as soon as possible after, because for us it usually was in the middle of night. But I always found those performances super inspiring,” Zedd said. “I remember loving the Black Eyed Peas. Watching them really gave me an inspiration to take the production a little more seriously.”

That as Super Bowl XLV, Feb. 6, 2011, at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. Slash and Usher, this year’s halftime headliner, made guest appearances.

“That is a cool, full-circle moment,” Zedd said.

The artist is returning to Omnia for the first time in four years, after headlining at Zouk Nightclub at Resorts World. Zedd speaks reverentially of Omnia, formerly Pure Nightclub, with its long history of club superstars.

“I know the room really well. I’ve always thought it’s the best club in the world,” Zedd said. “Something about the mix between the production and the atmosphere in that room is just magical.”

The DJ promises an adventure, with new production elements in the bag, ready to party in to the early morning hours. When he’s not creating music, he’s meeting online with friends to play video games. The virtual hangs keep him centered, and the background music inspiring his own club creations.

“That’s still something I try to do daily, before going to bed, for sort of a balanced work day,” Zedd said. “My friends and I all meet online. It’s kind of the online version of hanging out.”

In this environment, Zedd has been working on his first album in nine years, since “True Colors” dropped. He will continue his shows with Tao Group, where he says, “I’m just looking forward to this journey of making this the best show it could ever be.”

A slice of Steve

Las Vegas resident DJ and resident, in fact, Steve Aoki is hosting a fan event Thursday night at his PizzAoki eatery at Aria’s Proper Eats Food Hall. Aoki’s hit time fits our calendar, from midnight-1 a.m., This is before his own set at Omnia, which will begin, I guess, at about 2 a.m.

Goodman to the window

Former Las Vegas Mayor and self-described “degenerate gambler” Oscar Goodman makes his annual Super Bowl wager at 2 p.m. Friday at Westgate’s SuperBook.

If this event plays to form, Goodman will attempt some exotic, off-the-board parlay (the first-half under, tied with the coin flip, Kyle Juszsczyk to win MVP and 49ers to cover minus-2), which will not be approved by SuperBook Vice President Jay Kornegay. There will be an argument, which Goodman will somehow win, as he sips from an oversized Bombay Sapphire martini with two showgirls at his side. Should be a blast.

Game on

The Ultimate Madden Bowl is set for House of Blues at Mandalay Bay at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Henry Leverette, the most successful Madden NFL player ever, meets Wesley Gittens. Leverette has surpassed 100 victories, has won five Madden Bowls and is seeking to reach $1 million in career earnings. Gittens is a former Madden Bowl champ and among the 10 best players in the EA Sports game internationally.

This event even has a red carpet, with Breland and Big Boi expected. In short, this is the Super Bowl of video games. Maybe I’ll invite Zedd.

Cool Hang Alert

Column fave Giada Valenti is back at Myron’s at the Smith Center with “Movie Songs.” Timeless movie classics from a classically trained singer, captivating fashionista, and wonderful yarn-spinner. Catch her 7 p.m. Tuesday. Go to TheSmithCenter.com for intel.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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