By Jake Krzeczowski March 15, 2013 4:10PM
Originally Appeared for Chicago Sun Times
For his upcoming March 17 set at Mayne Stage, English-born turntable specialist Duncan Beiny, better known as DJ Yoda, may need The Force with him.
Controlling the audio is enough for the majority of DJs, but the hands-on Beiny makes sure to stay busy onstage, also handling the visual duties of the lights and video monitor.
“It definitely keeps things interesting for me,” said Beiny. “My theory about going somewhere to DJ, especially outside your own country, is to bring something to the table that not just a computer can do.”
The elaborate light show is reflective of the style in which Yoda cuts records and uses samples, incorporating sounds from movies to radio to everyday life. The hands-on video setup allows him to pull from a variety of movies and Youtube clips on the fly.
While hip-hop music has its roots in the urban landscape of America, DJ Yoda has carved himself a niche from across the pond that has added another chapter to the art of deejaying by using these odd and sometimes wacky samples.
“To me, that is the definition of hip-hop; just sampling whatever you want and trying to make a beat,” said Yoda. “What set me apart is that I don’t consider anything ‘uncool.’ I’m just honest about what I love.”
His drive to make music that he enjoys has vaulted him to the forefront of the United Kingdom’s DJ scene, winning a DMC DJ of the Year award for scratch deejaying in 2001. He now serves as a judge for the competition, something like the Super Bowl for DJ artists.
The English publication Q Magazine touted Yoda as one of the “ten DJs to see before you die” and it’s easy to understand why. To watch the blur of motion Yoda creates with his hands as he deftly handles both components of the show, tailoring the experience to the crowd, it’s hard not to draw comparisons to his fictional namesake.
“I like to work hard when I’m deejaying. I hate when people just stand up there and watch the record,” said Yoda. “Honestly that makes me sick because I put so much effort and time into my deejaying, perfecting the art form.”
Fresh off a two-month stay in Australia, and preparing for the release of a new album, the University of Warwick graduate is enjoying his short stay in the States, although without much rest.
“Just to get to come to the States from the U.K. is very special to me because I grew up listening to American hip-hop music,” said Yoda. “I also have the album coming out, so it’s a great time to get to play Chicago.”
Jake Krzeczowski is a local free-lance writer.