DJ Yoda talks about his new Magic Cinema Show

Star Wars, the Eighties and breakfast cereals! on Mon 10th Mar 2008

Duncan Beiny is better known as DJ Yoda, the hip hop turntablist who utilises obscure samples to create a unique, cartoony style. eGigs spoke to the DJ who is about to unleash a brand new audio-visual extravaganza on an unsuspecting world with a countrywide tour in April.

Where are you now?
Right now I'm walking down the street in Finchley Road, I've had a nightmare today, I've been remixing, have you heard of Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip? Okay, I'm remixing their next single I've spent three days doing it this week and then accidentally after finishing it deleted the whole thing. It was one of those moments where it was empth trash.... no!

'DJ Yoda's Magic Cinema Show' is a brand new audio-visual extravaganza, can you describe what people can expect?
Basically, I can scratch DVDs with this new technology, so the same way that I would scratch records but I now scratch the video as well as audio together. What I do is get together all my favourite bits of all my favourite movies, tv programmes, cartoons, music videos, stuff I've shot myself. Just all the bits of video that I think are cool and then I mix them all up and scratch them all up in the same that I normally would with just music. There's a big screen and it's a big pot pourri of images, I control it with a turntable, exactly what my had does is what the movie does.

So what's your favourite clips you've got to run in it?
I've recently worked out how to get stuff from you tube onto that. I've got this wealth of material to use it is pretty much infinite, so I'm just finding cool stuff everyday to use. There's a kid's tv programme at the moment called 'Yo Gabba Gabba' and it's got regular appearances by the old school rapper Biz Markie and he teaches kids how to beat box on it and I'm really enjoying that at the moment.

Who are your musical heroes?
He's one of them actually, Biz Markie always been my favourite rapper because he's a rapper with a very good sense of humour and a sense of self depreciation which I really appreciate. Rapping wise him and Big Daddy 'K' another old school rapper. DJ wise there's a DJ called QBert who's the best scratch DJ ever, he's someone I really look up to. Music wise The Beatles, Johnny Cash, I listen to such varied music. The thing is I grew up listening to just hip hop throughout the whole of the nineties, nothing but hip hop, then around about 2000 when hip hop started getting a bit stale for me I suddenly that there was all this music out there that I'd ignored, I'd never listened to anything with a guitar in before.

Can you play any real musical instruments?
I play piano quite badly and harmonica quite badly and turntables quite well.

What's the last music someone else did you listened to?
Now I listen to every kind of music, there's no boundaries, no limitations anything I think is cool from techno to classical, whatever.

What's the best gig you've been to as a punter?
Good question, the ones that come to mind are hip hop ones. I saw Tribe Called Quest play in Kentish Town before they split up and they were one of the best hip hop groups of all time in my book and getting to see them live was really incredible. Probably the first gig I ever went to was Public Enemy and EPMD in 1990 I was probably about 13 years old and that stuck with me because I was so young.

Are you doing any festivals this summer?
We're still clarifying which ones I know I'm doing Bestival, I know I shouldn't say anything else at this point.

Which festival appearance has been your favourite?
Glastonbury last year was definitely a highlight for me because I DJed with Mark Ronson and it was about 10,000 people and I did some of the video stuff I'll be doing on this tour, that was a real classic moment for me. Bestival last year, getting to play support to the Beastie Boys with about 20,000 people, that was really incredible.

How did you feel doing that?
I'm never nervous when I'm DJing, that's never really issue because I just get on with it, it's kind of a surreal experience playing to that many people because it's so far removed from playing in a club for 200-300 people. You kind of feel like you're just on the stage and playing for yourself or the sound guys around you, it's better for your mental health to think of it that way.

How did you get into VJing?
Well I was always when I was DJing with audio using samples from movies, just audio samples on the mix tapes I would make I would throw in little bits of Twin Peaks, Weird Science any film I thought was cool mainly 80s stuff. So as soon as this technology came out that meant you could use the actual movies yourself rather than just the sound, it was a natural progression to move into that.

I was kind of fortunate really, as I was working a bit with one of the DJ companies Pioneer helping them design mixers and they were the first company to bring out these things called DVJs whch were the first thing you could scratch DVDs with so I was right in there from the start advising them on how they could make them better and more usable for DJs. I've helped them design this brand new mixer that I'm going to be using on 'The Magic Cinema Tour', it will be the first time it's been used in the UK. The one I've got is a crazy Japanese prototype and it's all kind of futursitic and special.

Have you got any advice for future VJs?
Be yourself as much as possible and don't copy anyone, if you try and emulate your influences you'll just be a second rate version of that Where as if you do what you love you're just going to end up unique automatically.

Who is the best guest you've had on a track?
Best guest is Biz Markie for the reasons I said earlier, he's always been an idol of mine. I got to make a track with him all about breakfast cereal, it's a shared love we both have I'm a fanatic. Expressing a love that I have for breakfast cereal, I literally collect breakfast cereals and limited edition breakfast cereals and I know that Biz Markie does the same.

You collect breakfast cereal?
Yeah, I import them from America, I keep them at home, whenever I go to America I take an extra MPC case and fill it up with breakfast cereal. The packaging and the cereal and I eat them as well, it sounds quite weird doesn't it? I just realised that.

Where would be your dream venue to play?
I reckon my dream venue would be some kind of American South type setting, a kind of barnyard dance type thing, but with a full AV set up with turntables and DVD scratching.

What's the worst gig you've ever played?
I've done loads of terrible gigs, I've been DJing for a long time, so the first few years was playing to empty rooms quite a lot. I've done more than my fair share of that, but luckily it's the other way round at the moment, there's not one specific one, it's just I've played to so many empty rooms.

You like the 80s, if you could bring back three things from the Eighties what would they be and why?
Eighties Neighbours, because it's so much better than current Neighbours on Channel 5, with Kylie Minogue. Stock, Aitkin and Waterman productions and that whole period of Jive Bunny, and cut up dance records made up out of loads of current songs. That doesn't happen anymore, that's cut and paste to me, that's what inspired me to DJ in that style.

I spoke to Dev from LightSpeed Champion the other day and he said "Revenge of the Sith is the best Star Wars movie!" do you agree? Which is the best Star Wars movie?
I thought he was a Star Wars fan why's he saying things like that? I think he's staying that to be kind of trendy. Mine is probably Return Of The Jedi not because it's the best film but for nostalgia reasons. It's the one I remember going as a kid to the cinema, the one I had the most toys. That's the same as my interest in 80s music - it's more for nostalgia reasons than artistic reasons.

If one thing from Star wars could be made real what would it be?
Well it would have to be Yoda wouldn't it? The reason I'm called DJ Yoda is that I had this big Yoda toy puppet by my turntables and for the lack of anything else I got called that. So it would have to be DJ Yoda.

What's the last thing you mixed together?
Well the last show I did was a really exciting one last Friday night with a beat boxer called Shlowmo I put a whole show together with him where he beat boxed and I did the live video scratching. So, the final thing we mixed in that show was I was mixing Brazilian ghetto music with video of ghettos in Brazil while he beat boxed.

So have you got anything else you're doing at the moment?
The only other thing I have going on is my mix release of Fabric - Fabric Live out April 4th.

Cool, thanks for your time sorry you've lost three days of work.
No worries I'm sure I'll sort it out, bye.

article by: Scott Williams

published: 10/03/2008 13:47


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