Words by Toyah Hoetzel
Today, one of our favourite international party DJ's and home girl YO! MAFIA dropped some killer selections for triple j’s Friday Mix Up, so naturally we tracked her down and got her to answer a few quick questions in between her very busy schedule.
STONEY ROADS: YO! MAFIA, Thanks so much for talking to Stoney Roads. Your name seems to be on everything at the moment, what have you got in the works?
YO! MAFIA: Mate, it’s a constant hustle in YO! MAFIA land. There’s a stack going down at the moment, namely the Nike Air Max Day campaign which I’ve been fortunate to be a massive part of. As a huge sneaker head, it’s a big ass deal for me, so I’m completely honoured to be working with the Swoosh brand to bring the worldwide Air Max Day into fruition come Sat 26th March. I’m representing the “OG” aka OLD CVNT! I’ve been collecting for around 30 years, and seeings as it’s the Air Max 1 30 year bday this year, it seems completely fitting and full circle that I was asked to be a part of it all. On top of that, there’s the usual headliners at some of Melb’s best clubs, a tonne of private events under my YO! MAFIA Entertainment banner (which has tripled its business since starting two years ago) and of course round 5 of the Ch 10 Logies After party haha! Five years running and those Neighbours kids just can’t get enough! Oh and of course, the epic Triple J Lunch Mix up going live today!
SR: You always have the most dapper haircuts, the freshest kicks and the sweetest jackets. Fashion is a huge thing for you. How did this all start?
YM: I was constantly thrown into a taffeta frock and Mary Jane shoes as a kid, so I made it my mission when I hit teenage hood to repel any sort of girly ethic and start dressing like my bros! When TLC dropped their Ain’t Too Proud To Beg clip in 1991, I was obsessed! I did everything in my power to look like Left Eye - short of putting condoms on my clothes. Working at Sneaker Freaker Magazine from 2007-2012 also took my obsession with sneakers and street brands next level. Plus you’ve always gotta have your fade game strong. I spent years covering up my hair in caps, but slowly got sick of looking like I stepped out of a 50 Cent music video, so finally got faded up and now I just can’t look back.
SR: You’ve played all over Australia and internationally. Who have been your favourite artists you've worked alongside over the years and why?
YM: Man, definitely Spinderella. She’s the reason I started out as a DJ so to actually now call her a “friend” is incredible. Playing with her and watching her work is insane. Add to that, I cannot go past Missy Elliott - proving that the ladies over 40 STILL GOT GAME! She’s a powerhouse and a total inspiration.
SR: You have such an affinity with your audience and are able to read the crowd so well. For up and coming DJ's out there, what would you encourage them to do to become responsive to the crowd and keep them dancing?
YM: My only advise is to have fun, be authentic, give 150% every time and actually ENJOY yourself. It’s super easy for this to translate to a crowd - especially if you’re genuinely having a GREAT TIME. I’m also a firm believer in being completely approachable and nice to everyone. You never know who you may end up playing to!
SR: To date which has been the best gig, festival or otherwise, you've ever played?
YM: Meredith Festival 2009 was a MASSIVE highlight. I was completely shocked to be playing to a crowd of 15,000 people at 2am - so took it in my stride and brought the PARTY! That feeling of receiving that much energy and love is something you’ll never forget. Also DJing for Stevie Wonder and having Leonardo DiCaprio come over and thank you for a great set on the same night. Utterly bizarre and head spin worthy.
SR: Before you run off to the triple j studios. What’s your number one dance floor filler at the moment?
YM: Nah mate, not falling for this one! There’s so many KILLA tracks to be mentioned that you can’t just say one. As long as it gets everyone singing, dancing and doing the STANK FACE, then that’s my number one track!
If you too wish to get Yo’ Stank Face on, catch YO! MAFIA’s set at 2pm for the Friday Mix with the delightful Gen Fricker.
\\//\\// TOYAH HOETZEL \\//\\//