Hip-hop's Jedi master talks technology, party records and the most important thing a DJ should do
Fresh from playing audio-visual shows through Asia, America and Brazil, the turntablist extraordinaire Duncan Beiny - better known worldwide as DJ Yoda - brings his new Stop, Look & Listen AV show to Belfast's Limelight bar on October 23.
Ahead of his Limelight appearance, DJ Yoda talks technology, favourite party records and the most important thing a DJ should do - rock a crowd.
Q. Give us the skinny on DJ Yoda’s new Stop, Look and Listen AV show.
It's a brand new show, using a brand new equipment - I'm no longer using DVDs, as I'm controlling all the video and audio from turntables. So I think this new show is a lot more like a regular DJ set - in that it's more fluid and aimed at the dancefloor. But I'm still mixing it all in with whatever video stuff I find cool.
Q. The great DJ Yoda is unlikely to be easily embarrassed by his eclectic movie collection, but what is genuinely the worst DVD you own?
I've got a 1950's dog-training DVD that just isn't funny, I can't sample it, and has no redeeming qualities.
Q. How have things changed since you first started to experiment with the pioneer DVJs, enabling you to not only mix records, but DVDs?
Technology is moving fast, so the show looks slicker and slicker all the time. Plus I've worked out how to rip straight from YouTube, so now there's no limit to my sample material!
Q. You’ve played shows in Belfast venues, returning many times. What do you enjoy most about stopping off in Belfast on your tours?
I'm a big fan of the Vodafone store in the Victoria Square Shopping Centre, as it's where I got the phone that I'm still using. Yodafone, if you will.
Q. DJ Yoda sets have evolved with the advances in DJ technology; from mixing records with audio samples of TV shows to actually projecting and manipulating movie visuals onto a screen. Have you ever felt that there is just too much technology around you?
I think the most important thing as a DJ is to be able to rock a crowd with just two turntables and a box of records - and I regularly do that, to keep in touch with the 'straight DJing' side of things. About half of my shows are video and half are just like that.
Q. What’s the last record and DVD you bought?
Record: the Big Boi album, which is my album of the year, and DVD: Favela on Blast, a documentary about Brazilian ghetto funk.
Q. Do you think consumers in future years will source all their music and movies online or is there still viability in selling the physical product in record stores?
I think there will continue to be a market for both. Although the digital thing will dominate.
Q. What three party records do you never leave home without?
Hmm that's a hard one. I'll go for one from 3 different genres. Hip-Hop: The 900 Number. Drum & Bass: Super Sharp Shooter. New Orleans Bounce: Back Dat Azz Up. Had to throw in an obscure one, sorry.
Q. Have you considered playing DJ sets in 3D?
I've thought about it, and I've watched someone try to do it - but I think it's a bit much to expect people in a club to keep glasses on - when they want to chat to friends, order drinks and have sex in the club. Different in a cinema.
Q. DJ Shadow brought his AV show to Belfast recently, DJing inside a sphere on stage with visuals projected onto it. Have you seen many other DJs pushing the boundaries in the way they entertain the crowd through visuals?
The few DJs that are working with visuals are all doing really different, interesting things - I think because the technology is still developing, so there's no 'industry standard'. I heard about that DJ Shadow thing, I really want to see it!
Q. Before becoming a DJ superstar, Duncan Beiny held down a job finding movie locations for the London Film Commission. If you could perform your new AV set at any location, where and when would it be?
Good research! To be honest, I would choose where I'm getting to play in London in November, the ultimate AV show, at the IMAX!