Dane Cobain goes to meet mixologist specialist DJ Yoda ahead of his Beach Break Live 2011 performance.
No, he’s not small, green and unable to form a proper sentence. DJ Yoda, real name Duncan Beiny, is a regular on the club and festival circuit thanks to his eclectic mash-ups and audiovisual sets that sample everything from the Emmerdale theme tune to old hip-hop records and quotes from his favourite movies.
“It’s a really simple rule,” Duncan says, talking about what makes a good sample. “If something jumps out and I think ‘that’s cool’ – I can’t really explain it better than that. A lot of the time it’s stuff that makes me laugh – if I laugh out loud at something then I’m like, ‘well that must be a cool thing to use’.”
You can see this sense of humour in action when you watch DJ Yoda perform, or when you listen to any of his ‘cut and paste’ mix-tapes. “I think it’s almost the most important thing,” he admits. “A lot of DJs forget that people have come out to have a good time. People start to take their DJing really seriously – I’m serious about it, but I don’t ever forget that people want to have fun, it’s as important that people are smiling or laughing as it is that they’re dancing.”
After starting out as a bedroom DJ (and breaking his dad’s record player while scratching), Yoda moved to friends’ parties and finally found a niche at the University of Warwick, when he started DJing at Mojo, a student hip-hop and soul night. He spent his time as a student practising in his bedroom, going to lectures and hitting the clubs with his friends in the evening.
It’s clearly paid off – Q Magazine named him as one of the top ten DJs to see before you die, while Hip Hop Connection claim he’s one of the top three DJs in the world. Yoda says, “I try not to take that kind of thing too seriously because I know how journalism works – people have just got to write stuff to fill pages. On the one hand, I really enjoy it and it’s cool. On the other hand, I don’t want to get big-headed so I can’t take it too seriously.”
It’s this recognition that has seen him perform all over the world, with a run of festival dates booked this summer including three sets at Glastonbury. “Most of my A/V show is from YouTube,” he admits. “It’s kind of like an infinite bank of samples. I’m on it every day man, the same way that years ago I was digging through vinyl. You might have hundreds of samples in a show. There’s one special sound that any DJ that scratches always uses – it’s from a record called ‘Change The Beat’. It just says ‘Oh, this stuff is really fresh’, and it’s the ‘Oh’ off that that’s the standard scratch noise.”
Fresh from performing in Tokyo at Big Beach Festival (“I was really excited about it because I’d never played in Japan before”), the DJ is also looking forward to Glastonbury (“always big”) and Bestival (“always good”). He says, “There’s a small one I’m really looking forward to this year that’s called Extalgic. I’m doing a collaboration with this orchestra and we’re going to work out a special set for that – we’ve got our first rehearsals this week.”
With shows also confirmed at Rockness and Beach Break Live, plus a first appearance with side-project Sparkle Motion in Copenhagen, the future is looking bright for DJ Yoda. Looking to the future, he adds: “I’d like to do a country and western tour with a bluegrass band, trying to show people that the turntable is a valid musical instrument. I’d like to take it away from what people would normally expect it to be involved with, away from club music or dance music and do something completely different with it.”
DJ Yoda is set to play the turntable at a number of festivals this summer, including Beach Break Live 2011, Glastonbury Festival 2011 and RockNess 2011.
Click here to see where DJ Yoda is performing this summer.
As previously announced, White Lies, Magnetic Man and Tinie Tempah will headline the Beach Break Live 2011 line up with We Are Scientists, Example, Mark Ronson (DJ Set) and many more set to play as well.
Click here for the full Beach Break Live line-up.
Weekend tickets are available now at £99 for the weekend plus camping.
Click here to buy Beach Break Live tickets.
Organisers have also confirmed the Dell Digital Festival Experience on their website. It’s a virtual world where fans can explore before, during and after the festival; checking out venues in advance, listening to playlists and seeing the site!
Once the festival is underway they will also be able to tag themselves in the photos BBL upload, upload their own, watch the coverage and keep up to date with what’s kicking off and where with live twitter feeds from each venue and backstage.