London turntablist Duncan Beiny, AKA DJ Yoda, is bringing his trademark audio-visual set to the Metro to close 2013. Beiny, who will be enjoying his first New Year’s Eve off in over ten years with friends in Sydney, is about to begin an extended stay Down Under to work on his third solo album, following 2006’s The Amazing Adventures Of DJ Yoda and 2012’s Chop Suey.
“Part of my plan for Australia, actually, is to use the downtime in my tour to try and get together this new album that I have a concept for. It’s a good time for me to work when I’m in Australia, because during the days I don’t get disturbed by phone calls and emails from the UK,” Beiny says, noting that he recorded his latest mixtape, How To Cut & Paste (The Asian Edition), in between dates on his last Australian tour.
Beiny is coy about how he is approaching the album, although he does note that “the concept for this new album is something a bit different from just working with a different established artist on every track” – as he did for much of his first two LPs, collaborating with legendary rappers like Biz Markie and Greg Nice as well as contemporary acts like Action Bronson and Roots Manuva. “I’m really lucky because when I put together both of my artist albums, I sat down and made a list of people I would ideally like to work with, and in both instances I managed to tick off virtually everyone on that list.”
In 2002, long before he began dabbling in AV sets, Beiny had already been named one of the ‘50 Bands You Must See Before You Die’ by Q Magazine, for his ability to deliver sets that combined turntable wizardry, crowd-pleasing tunes and a good dose of humour. Since then, he has continued to push himself in new creative directions. In between a busy schedule touring his AV show, Beiny has explored a range of musical genres with his How To Cut & Paste series (The Asian Edition was preceded by Country & Western and The Thirties editions), collaborated with a classical composer on a Concerto For Turntables, and shared the stage with magicians, a capella groups and a 14-piece brass band.
“The whole idea is, with all these different projects I work on, is that I just want every year to be different for me – I don’t ever want to tread water and do the same thing, just so that I keep things moving and try new things and try different things. I’m totally into this idea of taking DJing and turntablism outside of the typical scenario that you might normally expect it to be in.”
Indeed, Beiny was an early adopter of audio-visual DJ technology, which enables him to scratch and blend videos as a DJ does songs. “It’s a real mix of bits from YouTube and movies and TV shows, anything that I think is cool, as well as music videos.”
He has since become one of the world’s most prominent AVDJs for the same reasons he was honoured by Q over a decade ago – skill, humour and a constant creative drive. “I try and make an effort to make sure that the show changes week in, week out,” he says. “So anyone that has seen an AV show by me before, by the time I come back, the whole thing should be completely different to what you saw last time.”
BY JOSHUA HAYES