DJ Yoda is nothing short of a Jedi master. A London, UK born mixmaster and turntablist with one of the more impressive lists of credentials out there today. A master of multimedia and manipulating music and video, he is definitely a groundbreaking creator, and he's still just getting started. We had a chance to chat with the man himself, enjoy, and make sure you check out the great music of none of other than DJ Yoda.
-growing up in london, you were probably exposed to a ton of music and culture, do you remember when you knew it was something you had to be a part of? who or what first inspired you to get involved?
My parents both worked in the music industry, and my dad kept his record collection in my bedroom, so I was literally surrounded by records as a kid. The first music I was into was 80s pop, but at that period in time there was a big hip-hop influence on the pop I was hearing. So you would get sampling and scratching in all these pop records, and that really opened me up to hip-hop and DJing.
-how do you stay inspired? can you tell us a little about your creative process?
All these years of sampling have just put me into this permanent state of readiness to sample - so if whether I'm watching TV, listening to the radio or watching a movie, things just jump out at me, and that normally kick-starts the creative process. I try and keep recording as turntable-based as possible, because I think getting too "computer"y bogs me down.
-when you started out djing in the 90's did you think It could take you all over the world? what do you love most about your job?
I never thought that I'd be DJing for a job, and the fact that I get to travel around the world is my favourite thing about it. I feel constantly blessed that I can make a living out of something that's already my passion, and I love being somewhere different every week.
-we read in an interview that you said your fingers are all "fucked up and misshappen" from scratching since you were 15, which makes us think you may be the definiton of Fingers on Blast. would you be inclined to agree?
Haha - that might have been a slight exaggeration, but I sure do have muscly fingers from years of scratching!
-You've been a judge at the DMC's, can you tell us a bit about that experience?
I don't really have much of a competitive streak, or a desire to prove that I'm better than anyone else, but in the 90s I was into the whole turntablism scene, where it was kind of standard to enter competitions. So rather than compete, I judged, which was a cool experience. That whole thing seems to have died a death now, I think mainly because the competitions didn't keep up with the pace of the change in technology. Although the Red Bull 3Style comp is pretty cool.
-What inspired you to start bridging the gap between djing and movies?
I would always drop audio samples from movies into my mixes - anything that I thought was cool, from Star Wars to Scarface or whatever. Then the technology changed to allow me to scratch and mix the movies themselves, so it just made perfect sense for me.
-Can you let us in on any upcoming film projects you've got in the works?
I tour my AV show constantly, as well as regular DJ sets, and the show is always changing as I add to it, so that takes up a lot of time. But I'm also always uploading cool little video bits to my YouTube, and I have a much larger movie documentary project that I've been working on slowly too.
-we have to give respect for the twin peaks/cool kids mix. we recently just watched the whole series and were blown away. how do these incredible ideas come to you, and how do you stay so prolific?
I just try and stay really honest to my tastes. So rather than jumping on a bandwagon and trying to copy what anyone else is doing, I take a step back and think about what I love. Twin Peaks is my favourite TV show of all time, and the soundtrack is also my favourite too. At the time I made that particular blend I was really into Cool Kids. Done!
-you've worked with artists like People Under the Stairs, Danger Mouse and Jemini and M.O.P., have you got any new collaborations in the works? Any artists you'd really like to link up with one day?
I love working by collaborating with different artists, as everyone bring something different to the table. That's why each of my albums has a different vocalist on every track. My latest live collaboration has been with these girls called The Tootsie Rollers - they're kind of a retro acapella group, but I have them covering all new hip-hop stuff!
-Q magazine called you 'one of the ten djs to see before you die', who are some of your favorite djs?
I'm inspired by every DJ I get the chance to hear - even if they're terrible (because it inspires me to not be that bad!). But the DJs I look up to are mainly old school hip-hop DJs like Ron G, Kid Capri, Doo Wop, Spinbad and Q-Bert.
-your newest release "Chop Suey" is filled with great tunes and an all star lineup of guests, can you tell us a bit about it?
I wanted to work with different vocalists on every track, and have the range of guests be representative of my music tastes. So I had some people heavily associated with the 80s to show the music I grew up on (Boy George, Michael Winslow from Police Academy), some "golden era" 90s rappers (M.O.P., Greg Nice) and then some artists that I thought represented the future of my music tastes (Action Bronson, Man Like Me). I'm really happy with the end result, and there is a video for every track on the album.
-when your not working on music and djing how do you spend your spare time?
Watching a lot of movies, cooking a lot of food. I'm in Australia right now, so spending a lot of time at the beach too!
-what advice would you give to young creatives and musicians when they inevitably hit that wall of resistance that sometimes makes people want to quit and get a 'real' job? how did you get past it yourself?
I never really thought of it like that, and I think it's a bit dangerous to "try" and make creativity your profession - I think it has to come naturally. If you are really passionate and original then it should be easy.
-thanks so much for chatting with us, is there anything new we should know about, or anyone you'd like to shout out?
No! Big shout out to you guys and peace from London/Sydney!