Zarnaz “Zee” Zandi was named Wynn Las Vegas’ Director of Nightlife Entertainment last summer and nary six months into the job she is already making some serious waves. Since her arrival to the tony resort, the music programs at XS, Tryst, Surrender and Encore Beach Club have seen a chrysalis from open format to house. This similarly mirrors a broader mainstreaming of the genre. Now with a slew of newly inked residencies and some of the biggest names in house music (or music in general) playing at Wynn, the resort’s clubs seem to be hotter than ever. Here we tap some of Zandi’s thoughts on Vegas nightlife, music and being a powerhouse.
Getting started: I moved here 16 years ago to attend UNLV. While in school? I worked at Utopia [Nightclub] and opened a coffee bar while going to school to make ends meet. Doing it all: At Utopia I cocktailed, then bartended then became one of the first female VIP hosts. I have always had a huge passion for music and into DJ’s. House DJ’s? Yes, and house had a wave. It’s been a roller coaster ride. Expand. There was nothing on the strip. I moved over to [this off-strip club called] Ice to VIP host and eventually landed a big job with the Light Group as a talent booker. We had an electronic night with Roger Sanchez back in 2005. Wynning: I then worked at Angel Management Group for 3 years and came to Wynn back in June. Moving: Before I came, Encore Beach Club did a great job with Kaskade and XS had a great vibe when Afrojack spun. Jesse [Waits, co-owner of XS and Tryst] and Sean [Christie, managing partner of Surrender and Encore Beach Club] brought me in to open up more house nights. Easy decision? It’s the best product on the strip. Not only the venue, but the property is a key factor. We do not simply book an artist, but get behind them in terms of photos and videos and assist in pushing them in social media. Relationships: I have a genial relationship with a lot of artists regardless of where they play. Business is business and I give the artist their respect by not involving them in the business aspects [but instead work with their management]. Who’s hot? Skrillex is the first electronic artist to take the country by storm [and he is up for multiple Grammy’s], Alesso, Thomas Gold, Porter Robinson, Nicky Romero and some younger kids as well. Free time: Spending time with my son – he’s a little athlete. I also go out on the town and travel. Where? Ibiza is my favorite, but I also [like to go] to LIV in Miami and Playhouse and sbe properties in LA. When I travel I like to support others who support us. –David Morris