UNDERGROUND SOUNDS DJ Yuka Yu and SOJI on the violin at Lion's Den in San Francisco’s Chinatown neighborhood. Yu will be teaching a class on the fundamentals of DJing at the Los Gatos Library on Thursday. (Photo by Joshua Valdez)

Growing up in Taipei, Taiwan, Ssu Ting “Yuka” Yu’s dream was to become a choir conductor.

“My mom was a singer when she was young,” she said, crediting her dad for inspiring her to pursue what had clearly become a personal passion. “I always loved singing.”

But as she grew older, Yu ended up going in a different direction, gravitating towards the biotechnology industry.

But, after throwing herself into that field, she began to feel the pull of the arts, once again.

“After I burned out from my biotech job, I was in London and attending a music school,” she said, explaining how she came to explore a role in the nightlife world.

‘I feel like everyone can learn to DJ. it’s not really so difficult. But, if you want to be a really great DJ, you have to put in a lot of time and dedication’

—DJ Yuka Yu

“Okay, it can be a fun hobby,” she thought to herself as she moved to the Bay Area in 2018 and began taking gigs where she was behind the turntables.

It went better than she expected and, soon enough, she was playing at some of the region’s biggest underground venues, from the Midway, to Monarch, to 1015 Folsom.

One of the most interesting shows she’s played was in Honolulu, Hawaii, at a private party with a renegade vibe.

“They have a very intimate dancefloor,” she said, recalling the lively event. “I still remember how excited I was.”

While Yu draws on a variety of electronic music styles, she also incorporates traditional Chinese instruments into her performances, such as the guzheng.

Yu now lives in Marin County, but she has family in Saratoga, so she frequently hangs out in the South Bay.

On Thursday she’ll be teaching a class at the Los Gatos Library about the fundamentals of DJing.

“In my opinion, I feel like everyone can learn to DJ,” she said. “It’s not really so difficult. But, if you want to be a really great DJ, you have to put in a lot of time and dedication.”

She’ll go over the process involved in creating a captivating live set, the “Rekordbox” software used to organize and perform music, and give attendees the chance to put their hands on the controls for themselves.

The session is geared towards beginners and those with more experience with live sound.

“It’s pretty much open for everybody,” she said, adding that DJing is a little bit like journalism. “You have to do your homework, do your research, and put all the good music together.”

DJing Workshop with DJ Yuka Yu from 4:30-6:00pm on Thursday, April 18, at the Los Gatos Library at 100 Villa Ave. Registration Required: https://losgatosca.libcal.com/event/11949018

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Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected].


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