With the Amsterdam Dance Event coming up, we decided to give producer and DMC world champion Deejay Irie a free trial for Chordify Premium. The only thing he had to do was to see if he could use it for his compositions, productions, and mashups. This is what happened.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
You’d never used Chordify before, right Deejay Irie?
That’s right! I only knew that it existed, but I’d never worked with Chordify before. It always seemed like a tool for guitarist and piano players, not for producers or deejays.
Before we go into detail, what did you think of our product from your artistic perspective?
What struck me the most was that Chordify is very easy to use. The tool doesn’t have a lot of options, and that kind of makes it so straightforward. It does what it promises, providing me with the chords. I was very surprised that it works so well to be honest [laughs]. No really, it’s kind of mysterious how you upload your own song and then a machine tells you what you played.
Yeah, Chordify magic!
It almost feels like it. I even looked up some songs which I knew were not recorded with a click track, and your tool still managed to give me a pretty solid BPM. So I was impressed.
What feature did you like the most, besides the chord progressions of course?
I used the MIDI download a lot. For me as a producer this is a super handy feature, because almost everything I do, I do in Ableton. When I can get a chord progression I like in MIDI, it’s very helpful, because it’s ready to work with.
Do you use it for mash ups, like David Guetta?
No, I primarily use it for getting chord progressions I like. When I hear a song and like the vibe, most of the time it’s because of the chords. Getting that vibe in Ableton is only one click away. I don’t have to play or draw the chords myself, which saves me a lot of time.
What are the composers or tracks you used it on?
Roy Ayers for example, he’s a frequently sampled jazz musician in hip hop. Sometimes you don’t want to sample a track, what you want is to extract the vibe of the song. That’s when it comes in handy to be able to find the chord progression, and get it in MIDI format.
We as producers and deejays often don’t have a music theoretical background. A lot of us that are awesome with sampling have learned this skill because we don’t exactly know how to extract chord progressions, for example. Or we can, but it takes way more time than we like to spend on it.
Can you be a bit more specific in how you use the MIDI chord progression?
Yeah sure, I download the MIDI file and use it as a fundament for a composition, or I transpose it to another key. Because it’s MIDI you will never recognize the old song in it, since I use different instruments to play the chord progression. In short: the vibe of the track is there, but the way it is presented is brand new and totally me.
I saw that you also have a transpose feature, which is fun if you play an instrument I guess. For me, it’s not that important because I can transpose in Ableton if I don’t like the composition I’ve made.
You mentioned that you also used it on your own compositions.
True, I’m working with artist Charlotte Beerda on a project called Pixel Pocket. She’s a great singer-songwriter amongst other things, and she sends me ideas for compositions. As I already said, I’m not a genius when it comes to filtering out chord progressions by ear, so what I tried was uploading her tracks into Chordify.
How did that go?
I haven’t heard any complaints so far, so I guess the algorithm got the chords right [laughs out loud]. But seriously, it was a bit of a game changer. Charlotte writes a lot of her tunes on the piano, and sends me the demos. After extracting the chords I could work on the songs without having to guess if I was adding sounds in the right key.
What’s your workflow in Pixel Pocket?
So what I do is listen to the music, and as a deejay you automatically start counting the beats per minute. Some of Charlotte’s ideas turned out to be really good setups for a house song, or a dubstep track. Once I have the BPM I start producing, which means I add instruments, a beat, you name it.
Then Charlotte comes to the studio to record the vocals. Now that’s when I was wondering if Chordify had provided me with the right chords. Never heard Charlotte complain though, so your product works great for the music we make.
David Guetta once told us that he would really like to have the Roman numbers for the chords. What would you like to add to Chordify?
Ah right, the Roman numbers David Guetta talked about… I don’t really care about those, because Charlotte has already written the composition. Good question though. [Thinks for a while] I guess what I would like is the option to fade out the vocals, or the beat, or even the guitar or piano. This way you can blend in with the song while jamming along.