AV-pioneer DJ Yoda, has a unique style of using his turntablism skills to combine music and movies. His AV tours such as “DJ Yoda Goes To The Movies” and “National Video Vacation” were groundbreaking and Q Magazine called him “one of ten DJs to see before you die”. We caught up with Yoda, as he was putting the finishing touches on his new artist album “Chop Suey”.

DJ Yoda

DVJ Vision: How did you get started as a DJ?
Yoda: I started off just messing around with my parents Hi-Fi pretending to scratch, as the music I listened to as a kid had a lot of scratching in. Eventually I broke their record-player, saved up and bought myself turntables. Then it was a long period of practicing, making tapes and slowly starting to play at some local parties.
What prompted you to add video to the mix and what gear where you using at the time?
The mixtapes I was making would always include audio snippets from my favorite movies and TV shows. So I would cut up some beats and be scratching lines from Star Wars, Scarface or whatever on top. So when the technology caught up and you could suddenly start scratching and mixing the movies themselves, it made perfect sense to me. I started putting together these shows where I would be DJing, and clips from my favorite movies would be timed to work with all the music.
What does your DJ-booth set-up look like these days?
I’m really happy with it right now, as it’s so simple: two turntables, a mixer and Serato Video. I toured for a few years with the whole Pioneer set-up – DVJs and an SVM, but it was cumbersome. Now I really feel like I’m just DJing again – it’s a lot freer.
Where do you get your visual content for your live sets?
100% YouTube now! It’s an infinite sample bank!
What kind of software and hardware do you use to prepare your video content?
Really simple again – I never learned Final Cut Pro, and I treat all the Video as part of my AUDIO DJ set, so everything gets prepared in Ableton Live, as I would with audio remixes.
How do you think the rising popularity of AV-performers will affect technology? What kind of gear do you see yourself using in 5 years time?
Technology is moving very fast in this area, as we’re still in the early days of all this. There is no “industry standard” like there is in other areas of DJing. And one cool thing about that is that everyone seems to be doing something different and unique, so in a way I wish it would stay like that. But some people need this technology simply to mix music videos together, others are creating atmospheric abstract visuals, and then you got people like me scratching Will Ferrell over Dubstep – so everyone has different needs!

DJ Yoda

Tell us about your upcoming artist album.
It’s 90% done and it’s taken me a very long time, as I’ve been touring so much year in year out. The title is “Chop Suey” and it features different guest vocalists on each track. I’m really happy with it, and I can’t wait to get it out there.
Your list of achievements is long: your first album in 2006, performing with the likes of Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse, your Fabric Mix-CD,… Does anything stand out as a career highlight?
I feel really lucky to be doing this as a profession, and things happen all the time that I consider highlights. I can’t believe that I’ve got to perform in places like China, Brazil, South Africa or Kenya – it’s crazy to me!
Do you have any advice for the up-and coming AV-performer?
The best advice I can give is to stay true to your own tastes, and not to try and copy what other people are doing. It seems obvious, but that way you will automatically be doing something original and interesting.
What’s next for you? Any US tour dates planned?
I hope to be in the US early 2012, I have a big Australia and New Zealand tour to get done first! Keep an eye on my Twitter and website, as any news comes out there first.

This interview was conducted in October 2011