DJ Yoda


Written by Johny Chhetri
22 Monday 22nd November 2010

When you think of Yoda, you usually tend to associate your thoughts with that wise little cherub from Star Wars, and certainly not hip-hop turntablism to the highest degree. Dubbed as one of ‘The 10 DJs you must see before you die’ by Q Magazine and ‘One of the Top Three DJs in the World’ by Hip-Hop Connection magazine, I think you’d agree with me saying that DJ Yoda is definitely doing something right.

Don’t Panic caught up with DJ Yoda before his big show at the BFI (which you may have caught last week), a few days after coming back from shows in Asia, America, Brazil and, the less exotic but culturally rich, Manchester.
Are you feeling fresh after coming back from travelling the world?
Yeah, it’s all going well. This is the most exciting week of the as well.
How does it feel to be back in London after being to Asia, America and Brazil?
It feels good; it’s been an incredible year. I think I’ve performed on every continent now, except for Antarctica, I need to get that gig on the South Pole! I’ve been touring since September with the new show and have been playing some amazing places. I was at the Warehouse Project in Manchester recently and that was really good and I’ve got the IMAX this week.
You’ve been going strong for over a decade now (since 1998!), how do you keep going?
Haha! I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t love it. I think when I stop loving it; I’ll stop because I think there’s no point doing it otherwise. Especially as a DJ, it comes across if you don’t have that passion for music, the crowd can tell if you’re there for the money or whatever. I’ve had a rule from day one: to play stuff that I love, and so far other people like hearing it and it’s worked out well.
Have you seen what Q Magazine have tipped you as?
Yeah! I can’t take that really seriously, haha! I don’t really care for stuff like that; I just don’t take it very seriously. I can already name 20 DJs that should be ranked higher than me!
You’re a very modest man, who would you say would be in that list?
A lot of other DJs. I think it’s to do with the way that I play, because I like to play different types of music. Whether I’m a scratch DJ, hip-hop DJ or even a dubstep DJ, I pretty much cater for people who like different types of music, like me.
Do you find it hard playing different types of music to people, do some not respond as well as others?
I find it natural to do that, I think it’s a more honest way of DJing. It seems weird to me that there are DJs that just play drum and bass or techno house or whatever, ‘cos I know when DJs go home, they like to listen to all sorts of music, no one likes just one kind of music so I just try to be honest with what I like.
Plus, if they don’t like it, they don’t like it, right?
Yeah, if they don’t like it, they don’t like it. That’s the good thing about it. There are gonna be people out there who don’t like reggae music while I’m playing reggae but in 10 minutes time I’ll play some Baltimore club or something completely different.
So take me through a set of yours, what would you usually start off with?
I don’t really have a rule; I just like to throw stuff out to the crowd. Sometimes it just comes down to what kind of mood I’m in or what music I’m listening to during that week. I think one of the important things about DJing is that you’re down with the crowd and that they’re not particularly into just one kind of thing.
With the new show, a lot of it is new stuff. Before I was mainly sampling movies that I liked, now the technology has changed so I’ll be able to rip off YouTube which means I can have an infinite amount of material.
Can we expect some Charlie Bit My Finger?
Ooh, I haven’t used that yet. I’ll be using stuff similar to that though!
The Yoda and Friends EP is coming out soon isn’t it?
Yeah, I’ve been working on an album for so long and it’s been difficult to get it done in between all this touring. So in the meantime, seeing as I hadn’t done enough tracks to release an album, I thought I’d get stuff out with the EP. Each track on the EP is a collaboration with a different producer.
I did one track with Hervé and one track with A-Skillz too, they’re all different types of music as well so some of them are gonna be more funny stuff, some are gonna be more traditional hip hop.
Best show of the tour so far?
Probably the show in Manchester at the Warehouse Project. It’s pretty much my favourite club in the country at the moment. They’ve changed the venue for a few times, but the sound is always brilliant and always has good lineups.
Future plans?
To get the album finished. The touring has been holding that up. Then I’m gonna have a break for Christmas then continue to finish off the album.
What message do you have for the youth of today?
Eat your vegetables and get an early night at least once a week!

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