Yoga Yoda : The DJ in a higher place

DJ Yoda is a world renowned mixologist with a nomination for Best Dance Act at this year’s Virtual Festivals’ UK Festival Awards. The legendary ‘How to Cut ‘n’ Paste’ mix series and his acclaimed debut album, ‘The Amazing Adventures of DJ Yoda’, have attracted nothing but praiseworthy views. A triumphant main stage outing, warming up for the Beastie Boys, saw DJ Yoda proving his credentials as a Cut ‘n’ Paste king, spreading his unique brand of good vibes dance music to the masses, and earning him the deserved nomination for Best Dance Act. (Voting is already underway at link and by casting your votes you get a chance to win tickets to every winning festival in 2008! Voting closes on the 28th October 2007.) But enough about that, let’s hear from the man himself.

Hi Yoda, thanks for taking time out for this, we’re really big fans and we really appreciate it.

AS: First off, why the name? Just kiddin'! Why did the turntables appeal over all other options?

DJY: Ha ha! I always had a lot of records around the house, as my parents worked in music, and I used to just mess around with them, so it seemed like it would make sense to get some turntables.

AS: What’s your goal as a DJ?

DJY: I guess my goal is pretty simple – to make sure that as many people are having as much fun as possible! I think it’s important not to read too much further into it as a DJ, as things start getting pretty boring when you over-analyse them.

AS: How important do you feel visuals are in relation to music?

DJY: About half the shows I do at the moment are full DVD-scratch sets, as opposed to just DJ-ing, and that’s working really well for me. The visual shows are a lot harder work, more intense, but more creative too. I also have to be really sure that the venue and the event are suitable for VJ-ing – if not everyone can see the screen, or if people have come out to just dance and don’t want anything more then it’s not going to make sense.

AS: Do you enjoy your VJ work?

DJY: if you get it right, like at Glastonbury this year, then I really think it’s such an original experience for the audience. I’m going to be touring a new AV show in February, so watch out.

AS: What was the highlight of your summer?

DJY: Is it too predictable to say Glastonbury? It was such a good gig though, playing to that many people with Mark Ronson. But also Bestival – I got to support the Beastie Boys and DJ to 20,000 people!

AS: Did you have a good time with the Beasties then?

DJY: Yep, it was wicked. I’m always so impressed with Mixmaster Mike, their DJ, that it almost depresses me into never trying to scratch a record again.

AS: I’m sure you’ve done a few but, do you know which has been your best ever gig?

DJY: There have been a few really classic ones. I played at the premiere of the last Star Wars movie, to George Lucas and all the cast in Monaco, and at the Grand Prix. But maybe one of my favourites was playing at the Lake of Stars Festival in Malawi, as it’s the only time I’ve ever got to play in Africa.

AS: Your inspired ‘Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra’, what brought that about?

DJY: A music student called Will Dutta put me in touch with Gabriel Prokofiev, who is a producer, composer, and the grand-son of the well-known Russian composer. Gabriel wrote a Concerto, but for turntables, rather than piano or whatever. So I ended up performing this avant-garde classical piece, with a conductor, music stand and shoes instead of trainers on. Pretty different to my normal kind of thing!

AS: Audi produced the shows, do you drive one?

DJY: Weirdly enough, I do drive an Audi already!

AS: You’re hour long mash up A-Z of 40 years worth of BBC Radio 1, tell me, are you crazy? Oh, please don't forget Jo Whiley's interview with Fun Lovin’ Criminal Huey!

DJY: When Radio 1 approached me with the idea of cramming their entire history into a one hour mix, I jumped at the chance. It’s just a concept that really appeals to me, like doing the 5-minute Mini-mix for Annie Mac’s show. I like cramming too much music into too short a space of time!

AS: Any secret projects coming up?

DJY: Yes, I’m just putting together a tour with a 40-piece orchestra – we’re going to be playing all the kind of music I would normally play when I DJ, but orchestrate parts for all the musicians – it’s going to be really cool.

AS: Any career highs or lows you care to share?

DJY: (Laughing) Having to DJ with Pat Sharp in Taunton was a career low.

AS: How will you celebrate if you win the Best Dance Act at next months Virtual Festivals awards?

DJY: With some Liquid Cereal, Google it for more info!

AS: Who should we be listening out for at the moment?

DJY: I’m going through a very up-tempo mood in my music tastes right now, so I would recommend checking out DJs like A-Trak, Sinden and Justice. Musically, I’m checking for a lot of the Brazilian baile funk stuff, club music from Baltimore (which involves a lot of hip-hop influences mixed with house), and some of the better grime and drum’ n’ bass.

AS: Kid Koala and you are good buddies, aren’t you?

DJY: Kid Koala is definitely one of the other DJs out there who I can most relate too. I recently got him flown over from Canada to London for the night, just to play at this event in Old Street where I was curator.

AS: Do you share and compare techniques?

DJY: He’s definitely of the same school of thought as me – out there buying silly old records and scanning them for funny or relevant things to scratch up.

AS: Who could you quite happily take down, mid way through their concert, with a sniper rifle?

DJY: Sydney Youngblood.

AS: WHERE do you go when it all gets too much?

DJY: Bikram Yoga.

AS: WHAT time is bedtime?

DJY: Depends on the night of the week, it’s very random. Last night it was 1.45am – rock and ROLL!

Thanks for your time man! Visit link for information on the mix-man monster.

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