Spinning His Own Beats

DJ Kevin Yost's new CD of original songs will be featured tonight at Mosaic


If there was a DJs' bible, sampling other artists would be the first commandment. The idea of borrowing older beats, hooks and progressions and using them to create new songs has been a staple of the movement since its inception.

House DJ and producer Kevin Yost understands this kind of sampling but doesn't subscribe to it.

Yost, who spins at Mosaic tonight, starts from scratch with a recording of his own drumming and layers other new recordings on top. He then enlists other musicians to play the instruments he can't - like a saxophone or a flute.

"The worst thing for me is [for someone] to listen to a track and say, `Hey, you sampled that beat,'" Yost said. "It's very important that the music I make is my own."

A few years ago, Yost said he stopped spinning other people's material altogether. He's been seriously playing out since about 1994, and in the years since, he said he's built up a repertoire of about 700 songs.

"This way, it's like a special thing," Yost said.

Tonight's show is the CD release party for Yost's latest work of original songs, titled Future Flashback. Part jazz and part electronica, this is the first album Yost made with a concept in mind, he said. He cut his previous records by compiling a mix of songs, he said.

Future Flashback is also a bit of a compromise, Yost said.

"I really wanted to go in more a sophisticated jazz type of area, but I had to keep it housey too, because that's the market I'm known in," Yost said. "I had to kind of make everyone happy."

By everyone, Yost means Europe, where most of his fans reside. He tours there twice as much as he tours domestically, though he lives in Pennsylvania - smack in the middle of the East Coast, an area of the United States more receptive to electronic music.

Overseas, Yost routinely plays to larger crowds than at tonight's show. His biggest was 50,000, at the 2002 Exit Festival in Yugoslavia. Yost said he enjoyed such a huge audience, but spinning for a bunch of little bouncing dots in the distance isn't all that.

"It's definitely cool, but it's so far away from the people, and it's hard for me to communicate with them," he said. "It's cool - don't get me wrong - but I prefer a more intimate setting."

People party hard in Europe - Yost's shows there last four to five hours, compared with the two-hour shows he spins here, he said. Tonight's show, which runs about that length, is part of Mosaic's seasonlong Thursday night guest DJ series.

Two hours is almost rushing it when he's used to playing all night long, Yost said. "People in the States are like, `Come on, one more,' and I'm like, `I'll play a set until tomorrow afternoon.'"


Kevin Yost spins at 11:45 tonight at Mosaic Lounge, in Power Plant Live, 34 Market Place. Cover is $5. Visit mosaic lounge.com. For more information about Kevin Yost, visit kevinyost.com.

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