World Famous Hip Hop Turntablist Talks Inspiration and Fresh Ideas

DJ Yoda takes the hotly anticipated second slot of our new music series ‘Your Bedtime Music‘. Follow The Plus for an original short film series in which we pick the brains and the beats behind some of the music industry’s most interesting talents.

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DJ Yoda
is the DJ and producer whose unique approach to music has elevated him to the dizzying heights of multi-award winning and international headline touring talent. Marked out by his innovative audio-visual performances, which splice together scenes and samples from cinema, games, and the whole gamut of musical genres, his “wry invention and humorous intent” has made him a firm public favourite.

DJ Yoda, A.K.A Duncan Beiny, takes us through his style and sampling in the second instalment of Your Bedtime Music…

The London-bred DJ Yoda’s roster of bespoke collaborations works to take turntables out of the club scene, and ranges from classical composers to neuroscientists – alongside artists as diverse and celebrated as Dr Dre, Banksy, and Mark Ronson.

There is no sample too off-topic or oblique for DJ Yoda’s meritocratic taste. A film and TV buff, his music is laden with references to and influences from eclectic sources. “I come from a background of hip-hop DJs – all the skills I built up started with using vinyl and scratching records,” he tells. His fresh turntable style nevertheless has firm and familiar roots.

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Who’s the man in which these disparate tastes are tied together? We have a dig around, in this episode of Your Bedtime Music.

The Plus: DJ Yoda, tell us how you came to be a DJ.
DJ Yoda:
I grew up literally surrounded by records, because my parents both worked in music – my Dad kept his record collection in my bedroom so there were records all around me. When I first started hip hop, the sampling and scratching really appealed to me; I started practising and teaching myself to DJ. That set me off on the path.

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TP: You sample a lot of classic TV and films in your mixes. Where do you get your inspiration?
DJY:
I have very simple rules in terms of how I find my sample source material: it is just stuff that I love! I’m constantly taking in all this media, and when something jumps out at me I don’t set any rules or boundaries about what kind of thing it is- whether it’s old, or new, or whatever style it is. If it is something that I like, I find a way of incorporating it into my work.

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TP: Do you find yourself drawn, though, to certain genres or periods?
DJY:
I think I do naturally find an affinity with certain things, obviously hip hop. But then I find that I’m into country and Western… it’s just too random. In terms of decades I would say the ’80s and ’30s, those are my two favourite.

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TP: What sort of films do you enjoy, with taste this diverse?
DJY:
I think some of the best sci-fi films are some of my favourite films. But I’m not really into anything that isn’t kind of the best. Once it starts to get into average, and bad, territory, then I have no interest.

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TP: Do you have a favourite among the themes and mixes you’ve worked on?
DJY:
I don’t actually listen to anything, or watch anything, that I make after I make it. So a lot of the time I have a bad memory and forget about it. So the most recent thing I did is always my favourite.

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TP: You have done a lot of interesting collaborations, particularly with people like Beardyman. Do you like working with other artists?
DJY:
Yeah! The best parts for me with my work are when I get to collaborate, no matter who it’s with. I think those are the special moments in any industry- finding good collaborations with other people.

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TP: What are you other interests? Do you like to cook, when you find the time?
DJY:
I definitely am a foodie – my two big great motivators are music and food. I love food as much as I love music. I have this new Syrian cookbook, so I’m cooking a lot from that region.

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TP: Music-wise, what are your future plans?
DJY:
It changes the whole time. At the moment the project that I am working on is a virtual reality set-up. I’m interested in new technology – I’m trying to do the first DJ set with no physical equipment in front of me.

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TP: Any more teasers or secrets you can share with us?
DJY:
I guess my top secrets are the samples that I use. Some of it I don’t want people to know about, because it might be that I’m using samples and people don’t know, because I have twisted them up so much. So my secrets are my record collection and my movie collection.

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