DJ Yoda has been described as “one of the 10 DJs to see before you die”. His skills behind the decks are legendary. Originally a hip-hop scratch DJ, Yoda has now effortlessly merged the style with a whole cross-section of musical genres, blending reggae to dubstep, drum & bass and electro to country and folk music. The true king of the mash-up.
Playing to a packed-out crowd at Soundwave Croatia as well as hitting the summer festival circuit with his new audiovisual extravaganza, DJ Yoda has stepped it up once more, this time not only supplying deft cuts and sublime tracks for the party faithful, but adding an impressive retina-singing element to the proceedings...
How did you first get into the scratch DJing scene?
“I started by messing around pretending to scratch on my parents’ hi-fi system when I heard scratching in songs. Eventually I broke their record player, saved up and bought turntables of my own. I used to make mixtapes for friends, and ended up making more and more of them until shops started asking for them.”
How did you come up with the idea of adding visuals to your regular DJing set-up?
“Before the technology existed that allowed me to mix and scratch video, I would always use little soundbites in my mixes from my favourite movies and TV shows. So when it turned out that DJs could now actually mix with that stuff, it just made sense for me to start doing that. It was the next step really.”
Were you instrumental in developing the technology to use within your sets?
“I’ve worked with all kinds of DJ companies, especially Pioneer and Serato. I guess because I’m out there every week using their products, I’m a good person to run stuff past.
“When I first started using video in my DJ sets it was the Pioneer DVJs, which allowed me to mix with DVDs, like a CDJ. Now I use the video plug-in on Serato, which is much more like a ‘normal’ DJ set-up. It’s something that seems complicated to people that don’t use it, but is actually mega simple.”
How important is it for you to constantly keep developing your show?
“Very important, I don’t ever want to be one of those DJs that goes back to a club and plays the same set twice, so it constantly evolves, week in, week out. I think DJs need something that helps them stand out from the crowd. That can be skills, personality, technology — anything memorable, there are too many people trying to DJ in 2013.
I try and separate myself from any particular sub-genre or fad, because that’s a certain way to pigeonhole yourself as a DJ.”
When you see other artists like Amon Tobin take it to the next level with their shows, does this inspire you?
“Of course, what I like about video DJing at the moment is that the technology is in its infancy, which means there is no industry standard, which in turn means that everyone is doing their own thing completely differently. This definitely inspires me as well as the music and movies that I see and hear. Other DJs, oh, and American breakfast cereal.”
Are you still as excited by the scene as you were when you first started?
“Always. Musically, trends come and go, and it’s impossible to predict what will come next. Technologically, things have never moved so fast — I change the mixer I use almost every year. So these
things keep it interesting for me, as I find new ways to mix music and video.”
Where else in the world will you be touring your AV DJ show?
“I’m somewhere different every week! I’ve just got back from Australia and the USA, and over the next few weeks I’m in Austria, Germany, Norway and Dubai! Over the summer I’ll be at loads of different festivals, check out my website for specific dates.”
Musically what are you up to?
“I’ve just released my second artist album ‘Chop Suey’, which has different vocalists on every track — ranging from Boy George to Action Bronson. And the most recent single has been ‘Sega RIP’ with Scroobius Pip. And I’m about to bring out a new edition in my ‘How To Cut & Paste’ mix series — this one is ‘The Asian Edition’.”