After his AV show 'The Wonderful World Of DJ Yoda' at The Roundhouse, we caught up with the scratch DJ before he sets off to tour the new show around the world.
I heard DJ Yoda’s How To Cut and Paste 2 Mixtape and instantly fell in love with it. There is a lot of comedy in your music, is this a big part of what you want to get across in what you do?
Yeah definitely, it’s really important to me because I think that especially in the world of DJ’s, hip-hop and dance music, a lot of people tend to take it very seriously and they forget about why people are listening to music, going to clubs or trying to dance, they want to have fun. For me that’s a really important part of it, not to forget. Even when I’m DJ’ing in a club, it’s just as important for me to see people smiling as it is to see people dancing.
You’ve got a tour coming up called ‘The Wonderful World of DJ Yoda Tour’. You played at The Roundhouse and it featured a full screen cinema, was it a conscious decision to change the dynamics to your shows?
Yeah well I’ve been doing these shows; mixing and scratching video along with the music and I’ve really just begun to notice that the bigger the screen the better. In fact last year I did a show in London at the Imax where everyone sat down and ate popcorn and watched which was really cool.
Going straight back to your tour, you’re playing with The Trans-Siberian March Band. How did you get involved with them?
Well I did a project a couple of years ago with a full orchestra; it was more classic music rather than dance music. It was a concerto that was written by Gabriel Prokofiev who is the grandson of Prokofiev, the classical composer. He wrote a concerto for turntables, so I was performing with an orchestra and scratching but it was classical music. It was a really interesting project; it was maybe a little more avante garde than what I would normally play in the clubs. I saw these guys, The Trans-Siberian March Band perform in Brighton and I was like “Wow, they are really good fun, they would be the ideal collaboration for this idea”, so I managed to hook up with them and we’ve been rehearsing and we’ve worked out this big show, so I’ve got like a 14 piece brass band along with my DJ’ing and video set, so that’s what is going to be happening in Camden on Saturday.
You always seem be really pushing it, like when turntablism started, it was very much two turntables and a mixer, do you like testing the limits?
Well for me it’s just like about keeping it interesting, I don’t think I would probably be still interested in DJ’ing if I was just turning up at every gig with just a box of records and just doing that. I just want to keep things fresh and to try to find interesting and new ways to take it and trying something new.
You released an EP earlier this year DJ Yoda & Friends. Is this a little precursor to your next album?
Yeah, it’s very much a precursor to my next artist album, which is about 90% finished at the moment. That EP that came out was just tracks that I didn’t feel quite fitted in with the album that I was making so I thought I’d group them all together and bring out an EP. The album like I say is almost done and in fact the first song was first played on Radio One’s Zane Lowe Show last night!
Pardon the cliche question but what do you think of the state of hip-hop at the moment?
It’s in a bit of a funny place, I think it’s been going downhill for quite a long time, for me the golden era of hip hop was the early 90’s and definitely for the last ten years I feel like it’s been on a downward spiral. I think this is because of the way it’s been going in that it has become pop music and quite throwaway and less about the skills that it used to be. That said, I think that there’s starting to be resurgence against that. From the underground, there is starting to be a few acts that are popping up and I feel like “Yeah, they are taking it back to where it should be”. So it’s been bad for a long time but I’ve got some hope at the moment! (laughs)
You said earlier in the interview that comedy is a big part of your life. Do you have any best scenes from films?
I do, I take my favourite bits from a load of comedy films but I’m watching a lot of stand up at the moment, so I’ve definitely got a recommendation for that which if you haven’t seen him you should check out the comedian Louis CK, he’s my favourite stand up comic at the moment.
You really mix things up a lot in your DJ sets. Have you ever mixed two songs that you didn’t think would work, but it worked?
Yeah, that kind of happens every time I DJ, I don’t plan DJ sets, I kind of see how it goes and if I feel like it’s time to mix a country and western song or even like a kids TV theme or something, that might work with some dubstep or drum & bass or whatever, it happens to me on a nightly basis! (laughs)
If you were invisible for the day, what would you do?
Wow! Hmm! That’s a very good question. I would probably sneak into some record stores! (laughs)
If you could fill a swimming pool with something other than water, what would it be?
Lucky Charms cereal with milk!
If you were exiled to a desert island, what three famous people would you take with you?
Wow... Johnny Cash, Biz Markie and Larry David.
You can see DJ Yoda at one of his many shows with his 'The Wonderful World Of DJ Yoda' tour. Check out www.djyoda.co.uk for more information.