I decided to stop broadcasting my shows on radio stations. The time commitments limit me too much in my personal freedom, and the unreliability of the stations annoys me too much.
I will record LIGHTWORKS and TIME OUT sets (and other specials) whenever I feel like it and my time permits. I will then, as always, offer those for free download on Soundcloud.
As a touring DJ, I am not very active, but still accept “good” booking requests. That means you can still book me, but I’m not running after any gig. Honestly, I’m just picking out the sweetest fruits. I’m tired of lying and cheating promoters and bad marketing because someone does not understand this job.
Please do not get me wrong … I’m not one of those who announce big on social media that they’re giving up the DJ job. Once a DJ, always a DJ. And also: never say never. I love DJing and I love to play for an audience that understands and loves what I do.
Mark my words: that will never end, until my last breath.
But I do not feel like having to get upset about people in this business anymore. I am too old for such nonsense, and too young not to enjoy certain things in a different and better way.
The music business has given me a lot and taken a lot. I have never taken the easy route and I have renounced or thrown away money because I am (still) an idealist. But I have not always kept up well with my energies, have had too much patience with assholes and bunglers. Too often people have taken advantage of the benefits associated with me without even considering giving anything back. I have always put too much faith in the wrong people, that’s been one of my life-long weaknesses.
All that has come to an end.
I will stay with you forever as a musician, composer, producer, storyteller, part-time idiot, puppet master, occasional DJ, show host and smartass. Promised.
On Instagram you can have a peek into what adventures are taking place in my life. I still have endless energy, plans and dreams. Nothing (except perhaps death) will keep me from realizing my ideas. No matter what obstacles have stood in my way: I have the partner by my side whom I always wanted to have, I live where I always wanted to live, and in the future I will only do what I really want to do. Nothing and no one will stop me. Well, maybe here and there, for a moment… but in the end I always reach my goals. Because I know who I am and who I’m not, thus I have plenty of substance to believe in myself.
As both a DJ and composer, the Circle of Fifth or the Camelot Key Wheel system — amongst others — have always been handy tools for me to write and mix music harmonically. There are just too many options in chord progressions than I could ever have in my memory (maybe you can, but I don’t). Plus, I personally use 3 different DJ applications and 3 different DAWs for music production alone, for different purposes.
So yeah, I could always have a look at above mentioned helpers to orientate myself through the notes and chords jungle, in case needed, which is not always the case. I have the most common chords in my head. Just not always.
As a composer I’m fine with the musical key/chord system, i.e. “A minor“, but as a DJ it isn’t very likely (for me, again) to remember all the musical chords to know what to mix into what. So, smart people came up with different systems like the Camelot Keys (Mixed in Key, which I prefer, because of its accuracy) or the Open Keys (Traktor). Which is basically a range of 12 keys for each gender, major and minor chords. “A minor” is 8A (Camelot Key) or 1m (Open Key). In a nutshell: if you mix 1A into 2A (and so forth, up until 12A and then into 1A again) you’re generally fine. Your mixing transitions will always be harmonic, no key clashes. This example is the very basic part of harmonic mixing or composing. And also a bit boring if you do that all the time. It becomes really good and interesting when you use all the options within the world of chord progressions.
What I was missing in all those years of composing and DJing was ONE chart (to rule them all) that shows me ALL key/chord systems and their equivalents, their piano keys (very useful for composing) and their harmonic keys/chords. I searched the net in order to find out if someone did this, but no one did. At least I couldn’t find it.
So, I did it myself. 8 hours work and I had what I was looking for. And since I guess this could be useful for every musician/DJ, I want to share it here with you. This is how it looks like (click to open the full resolution file):
You can download the high-res JPG above, print it out and use it for yourself, if you like. Here’s a PDF and the original EXCEL version of it, in case you want to edit/modify something for your needs (let me know when you find mistakes or when you improved it!):
WHAT DOES IT DO, HOW DO I USE THIS?
Let’s take an example for a composing or mixing situation:
The chord we’re working with at the moment is A minor (or 8A, or 1m). What shall be next? Everything in the table below — around the 8A — is possible, it will be harmonic. The closer to the 8A it is the more harmonic it’ll be.
Western Music Scale
Piano Chord Keys
DJ Keys up/down
D | F | A
C | E | G
A | C | E
Same key (tonic)
E | G | B
A# | C# | F
Low energy boost
B | D | F#
High energy boost (supertonic)
G | B | D#
Low energy drain
G | A# | D
High energy drain (leading tone)
But your decision what to do next is depending on the purpose. What kind of “feel” do you want to give your mix or composition?
Here are some possible chord progression scenarios, working with the Camelot Keys (which I prefer, at least for DJing), starting with 8A:
That’s how I call it, it’s kind of a “secure standard”, nothing special, it’s just flowing along:
8A > 9A > 10A … 12A > 1A > 2A and so forth, until you’re at 7A and back into 8A again
Here you have a longer and progressive wave of energy rising, until it falls back to normal at 7A again, just like an ocean wave crashing and the next one building up again.
The “Wild Ocean”
It’s a bit stormy, and the waters stirred up, but everything is still harmonic and in place. This is the most “interesting” way of mixing, things shouldn’t become boring:
8A > 8B (relative major) > 9A > 4A (+7 DJ keys, low energy boost) > 4B (relative major) > 6B (+2 DJ keys, high energy boost) > 7B > 2B (+7 DJ keys, low energy boost) > 4B (+2 DJ keys, high energy boost) > 5B and so forth
I could make up a hell of a lot more examples now (with even sillier names), but you most probably already get the idea. The options are really endless, and you’ll always be composing or DJing harmonic. The above scenarios are just examples. Find out what works for yourself, I’m sure you’ll have fun experimenting with chord progressions, using this nifty chart. Oh, and don’t mind the silly names … it’s just about giving things a name. 😉
It’s free! Download, share, modify, re-publish and generally do with it whatever you want. But please, don’t pretend you did this. Credit would be nice (and fair), but is no condition.
Now, if you’d head over to bandcamp and buy my music, that’ll be rather nice:
One in four of us will struggle with mental health issues at some point in our life. It’s something however that a very small segment of the DJ community has spoken openly about. So how prevalent is it among the touring DJ scene, and why does it appear to be the last taboo to be broken?