Tell us a bit about yourself and your music?
I’m a Hip Hop DJ at heart. I go out of my way to play every kind of music because that’s what Hip Hop was in the start. Whether it was a country song, or a kid’s TV theme - it’s just about finding the best bits from all different types of music.
When I was a kid, the first music I gravitated to that really caught my ear was Hip Hop. There was a period of pop music in the late 80’s where they had Hip Hop versions of pop songs where it would have little samples from movies, or random bits scratched in, and that’s what started me off on the path of listening to Hip Hop music.
I got a summer job, saved to buy turntables, and taught myself the skills.
How did the name ‘DJ Yoda’ come about?
I had a big Yoda toy by my turntables, and I just couldn’t think of anything else and now here I am. 25 years later and it stuck. I was never a massive fan of Star Wars but we’re way too far down the line for that…
Everyone my age grew up with it so it’s sentimental in a lot of ways, but I think sometimes people expect me to know the names of the planets and the lengths of ships and…I’m not that much of a fan!
What’s your favourite Ruark product?
I moved house recently and was looking into TV and audio set-ups and how to make them more Retro. I stumbled across the R7 with a mounted TV on it and it was exactly the kind of thing I wanted in my house. The more I investigated I realised oh this product is amazing and does way more than I thought, I can use it for all my music sources in my living room.
I’m loving it, it’s a good all-round solution for music. I’ve got my turntable plugged into it, can use it for Digital radio and Bluetooth from my phone. It’s amazing to have all my music from one source in the living room. I’ve been so impressed with that product.
What’s the best DJ set you have ever performed?
It’s hard because I’ve been DJing every week since I was a teenager, so there are a lot to choose from. There’s a great Star Wars one for you, where I DJed for George Lucas at the premiere of one of the Star Wars movies, the whole cast was there, and they’d done up the place with lots of spaceships and everything. That was special.
Then any time I get to go somewhere far flung and exotic, those are the moments I’m grateful for. The fact I have DJed in Japan, South Africa, New Zealand, and China is incredible. That to me is one of the most amazing perks of this job. Japan was one of the best for me.
What has been your favourite music collaboration?
The one that meant the most to me was getting to record with my favourite rapper of all time, who has been my idol since I was a teenager - Biz Markie. Not many people knew who he was but to me he was a hero, he sadly died about a month ago.
We collaborated on my first album. I grew up with his music and the fact I got to make two songs with him was really special.
What is your favourite album?
I would say 3 Feet High and Rising by De La Soul. I remember getting it when it first came out and was one of the first albums I bought with my own money. It was influential on the music I produce, even still to this day.
For the newer stuff, it’s my job as a DJ to keep up with new music and that’s what I do every week. A couple of Soul things I’ve liked recently are, Joel Culpepper, his album is called Sgt Culpepper, and a group called Durand Jones & the Indications - they do retro soul stuff that is really well made.
What does the day in the life of DJ Yoda look like?
One of the defining features of my days is that there is absolutely no routine to them whatsoever…it’s very random. I like it like that.
It’s difficult to say what a typical day would be. Sometimes I’m doing a tour in Asia, and I’m in a different country every day. Sometimes I’m not doing anything, and then I’ll be in the studio recording. I jump from project to project and mix it in with live shows which, before Covid, were everywhere in the world, and it’d be very random as to where I’d end up.