With close to two decades in the DJ booth, Yoshi Moto has been a constant presence in Dallas DJ culture. Now located in San Antonio, he still makes regular trips back home to gig out with different crews and events across the city. Moto has a long history as a musician, and that experience informs his DJ sets as he incorporates his own productions and custom edits into his sets. When he's not doing music, he's following his other passion for food, as a chef.
"They are both creative outlets for me and go hand in hand," the DJ explains. "Food feeds the body, music feeds the soul. My goal is to one day create an environment in which I can bring them both together in a cohesive way. I have a concept I'm currently working on so in time we shall see."
For this week's mixtape, Yoshi Moto brings his multi-faceted mixing skills to a one-hour set featuring tracks from Underworld, Alice Deejay, Moby and a slew of other tunes with his own customized edits.
How long have you been in the DJ game? What inspired you to go down this path?
Let’s see, I've been DJing now for 18 years. Got my hands on a set of decks for the first time back in 2001 while living in Atlanta and have been hooked since. To be honest, what sent me down this path was my grandmother. I grew up in Guatemala and my grandma owned a record store downtown in Guatemala City. I remember my mom dropping me off at her spot when I was a little kid and I would just hang out there and listen to music. Grandma had all kinds of stuff, from Latin dance to '80s hair bands and I loved it all. She gifted me my first vinyl record, it was Twisted Sister’s "We're not Gonna Take it.” I still remember the day my mom found it and tossed it ... man she was not happy, but Grandma gave me another one. "Abuelita" is pretty cool and I credit her for my early musical education as well as my eclectic tastes. Due to all this exposure to music, I fell in love with it at a young age and taught myself how to play multiple instruments and played in a few bands. I had an obvious affinity to vinyl and once I discovered turntable-ism it was natural, another instrument for me to express myself musically.
Do you produce or write music?
Yes and yes. I’ve been writing and producing music since I was a teenager. I briefly attended school for audio engineering and production, which really opened my eyes to electronic production. This, in turn, gave my DJing a different dimension and maturity. I think as a DJ and musician it's part of one's natural progression and growth to ultimately create and produce your own tracks.
What is your connection with House music?
House always spoke to me, from the first time I ever grooved to Frankie Knuckles or the raw, more aggressive sounds of Bad Boy Bill, it just made me move.
Do you have a preference for any particular type of House? Euro, New York, Chicago, Detroit …
I’ve dabbled in multiple styles and incorporate them into my sets. For example, I’m heavily influenced by hip-hop and turntable-ism, so I like to use a lot of scratching and sampling; however, my heart is in House music. Something about that funky 4/4 just gets me. I definitely have an affinity toward Chicago and Detroit House, I also enjoy bass House, tech House, and tribal House.
Are there other genres you enjoy playing or just listening to?
Yes, all of them. Honestly, for me, good music is simply good music so there are tracks I love across the spectrum. If I have to pick favorites as far as electronic though, I’d say techno, jungle and DnB. I also am a big fan of blues, punk rock and funk. Whenever I'm messing around on the guitar or bass, this is what I gravitate towards.
What drives you as a DJ to play music for people?
You know that moment when you are just dancing and everything else in the world just disappears? That moment you get lost in the music and you are just there, nothing else matters. All your frustrations, troubles, stress — all that noise just cancels out and you just breathe? That is what drives me, creating those moments. If it’s a huge crowd or three people on the dance floor when you are spinning and you are in the zone and you look up and there is that one smiling soul just happy to be alive and dancing, that's what makes it all worth it. That's why I do it, I love bringing people joy through music.
Do you have any current fave or up-and-coming local DJs or producers that have caught your ear?
Definitely. The DFW has a lot of talent. I have a lot of respect for the guys throwing down with Tree House Collective, Dee Empty, Samuel L. Waxin. Neon Kempton, as well as the rest of the crew, are phenomenal. DJs always keeping it fresh and the house bumping. I’ve been listening to a lot of Basixx, I love the energy in his production. Aaron Hensley is another very talented DJ and producer always putting out some quality tracks. I've recently been following another crew doing a lot for the local scene; the guys from OTW crew, which have been putting Fort Worth back on the map and have some solid producers and DJs in their ranks.
Any fave non-local DJs or producers?
A few, of course. I have some all-time favorites like Frankie Knuckles, Bad Boy Bill, Digweed, Faithless, Carl Cox … I could go on forever. Recently, though, I've also been listening to guys like Claude VonStroke, Ephword, Malaa and Phlegmatic Dogs. I really like what they are doing production-wise.
What was the most profound musical experience of the past year?
Honestly, listening to my son play the piano and my daughter sing. Something about watching my kids create music and express themselves musically really touches my heart. They are my kids, the most important people in my life, and I am so proud of them.
How did you get into making your own edits?
I’ve always loved messing around with audio, from engineering to sampling to edits; it's a lot of fun for me. As I began to dive deeper into audio recording and production, I began experimenting with tracks I enjoyed and wanted to use in order to better fit my sets. Messing with the tempo, keys ... adding elements to the beats for them to just have a better flow within the music I was playing out live. Remixing and mashing tracks together that perhaps aren't even considered house music but I wanted to use or even attempt to use them. I love a challenge, I love dissecting a track, see what makes it tick and then pull out the best elements of it to create my own interpretation of them.
Do you currently or ever play vinyl?
Yes, and all the time. My love for vinyl will never end, it is my go-to when it comes to DJing.
What gigs do you have coming up?
8/28 Dallas Drum Djam at the Green Elephant in Dallas, 8/29 Red Goose House Party Powered by Samsung at Red Goose Saloon in Fort Worth, 8/30 SBASS HOUSE Yoshi Moto & Friends Bday Extravaganza at the OTW warehouse in Arlington. 9/27-9/29 Tree House Campout Fall Edition 2019 featuring Sweet Charlie.
Genghis Clan, Aaaaah Sheet! (Yoshimoto edit)
Billy Kenny, Just Came For The Music
Ephword, Accelerator (Yoshimoto Edit)
Alice Deejay, Better off Alone (ETC!, ETC! Bootleg)
Swage & Ephword, Hectic (Yoshimoto Edit)
Cut Snake, Party Tutorial
Underworld, Born Slippy (Nuxx, Andrew Meller Reincarnation Mix)
Fatboy slim, What The Fuck (Yoshimoto Slippy Mix)
Phlegmatic Dogs, Keepmastik
Holt 88, Jakyn
Steady Rock, Big Guuuurlz
DJ Zinc, That Sound
JOYRYDE, Maximum King
Slice N Dice Bootleg, Renegade Maste
Damien N-Drix & STV, Let it Ring
Snap, The Power (Cazztek Remix)
Born Dirty, Get Up, Get out
The Prodigy, Breathe (Zeds Dead Remix)
Moby, Porcelain (Above and Beyond Remix)