One of the greatest feelings in the Electronic Dance Music industry is when you stumble upon an artist that later becomes such a staple in your musical repertoire. Whether their song pops up on shuffle and you’re digging it or you take a chance and catch a live set and they blow you away, you find something that speaks to what you love about music. This is how I came across CODES.
Cody Codes, or CODES, has released on Psycho Disco!, Dirtybird, Country Club Disco, and other great labels bringing his innovative production abilities to create a fresh and original sound to an old genre. With a background in Jungle, Drum and Bass, and Hip Hop, he uses his experience to blend together a truly unique sound in today’s House music. CODES agreed to take time out of his crazy schedule to sit down with me at Ubbi Dubbi Music Festival before his set. As I fangirled just a little, we chatted about where he started, his dope new label project Holy Molé, and my must-know Freaky Five.
This transcript has been edited for readability
FMF: First, I just want to say, I’m a big fan. So thanks for taking the time.
CODES: Respect, respect. I appreciate you.
You started in the music industry doing Jungle and Drum and Bass, and then you switched to House producing. What made you want to make those big leaps into producing?
When I first started, there were a lot more DJs who were just DJs and didn’t produce. I guess the generation that I was raised in was bringing in the change. It was almost like everyone started producing and it got to a point where technology made them able to produce with a computer instead of having a $40,000 studio. If you DJ for a living, it’s the next step. Why not want to make people dance to the music that you make yourself? That’s how I got into production. I was a DJ for a while and then I started using Reason or Fruity Loops and a whole bunch of different things. When I went through, it took me a really long time to learn. I’m still learning to this day and getting better and better.
Do you ever, for old time’s sake, play around with DNB mixing?
Yeah at Beyond [Wonderland], I played a Drum and Bass track in my set. I might tonight. I try to when I can, especially at a festival, I love to play Drum and Bass out of nowhere. And for the people who don’t know what Drum and Bass is, it’s like a new kind of vibe. I think that my favorite kind of music to this day is ’93 to ’97 jungle, that era.
You grew up in Brooklyn, right?
I grew up in Rochester actually. I’ve been in New York my whole life. I spent the first half in Rochester and then over the last half in Brooklyn.
What was the first indication that your career started to take off? The first thing that made you think “I’m doing all the right things?”
Oh man, there’s been so many. I guess with any career, but especially in the music industry, your career goes all over the place. I think if you blow up too quickly, then you can disappear too quickly. I think it’s seeing people like Claude VonStroke, Martin Garrix or Idris Elba just playing my tracks. People that you never think you’d ever have a conversation with or talk to, they’re reaching out to you for your music. When the bigger top tier guys play my music, it’s like “Alright, I’m doing something right a little bit.” [laughs]
You still get pretty excited when you hear people play your music?
I saw that Idris Elba played [“100% Skills”]. That was really exciting. I got excited.
You know, it’s crazy. I didn’t know he played it until a friend of mine saw it in a tracklist. He’s like “You know your tune got played at Coachella?” I thought “How did he even get that record? It’s not until next week.” It was cool, but I couldn’t find any video of it so I didn’t believe until I saw it. Someone who follows his now wife, she had it on her snap, so someone ripped it sent it to me. It took investigating because I couldn’t find it anywhere!
That’s coming out next week?
Yeah, next Friday.
And is that coming out on Dirtybird?
Well, congrats on your new label!
It’s pronounced “Holy Molé”?
I know you’ve been waiting a long time to do that. What kind of sound are you hoping to accomplish with it?
I would say something fresh. A big part of my sound is that influence of Hip Hop and RNB, Jungle, and Drum and Bass. It’s been done so many different ways before, especially with house music, so I’ll bring my spin on that new fresh house music.
I can respect that.
We haven’t actually launched it yet. We’re launching the beginning of June. The first release is going to be June 25th with a track that I did called “Baby“.
Awesome. I heard a little clip of it. You played it at Decadence, right?
Yeah! Were you there?
No, I saw the video tho.
I’ll play it tonight. That’s one I’m really stoked on. I was just going to do a single then I was like “Fuck it. I’m going to get a bunch of my homies to do remixes.” I’ve got an astronomar remix, an E.R.N.E.S.T.O remix, Ant LaRock, and a Proper Villains remix. It’s going to be very well rounded.
Very cool. Are we going to hear some more Holy Molé tonight?
Yeah. A bunch of it. Then we’re working on the launch party and everything. June is when everything’s going to happen. So I’m anticipating that right now.
Well, I was lucky enough to see you with Ardalan in Milwaukee.
Oh shit. At Site 1A, right?
Yep, that was the first time. Then, I saw you at Electric Forest. Both great sets. I know I asked you on Facebook all the time to come back to Milwaukee but you have any plans to come back? Maybe like a tour?
Yeah, that’s the next thing is we’re putting together. A tour very heavily based on the releases. Hopefully, the plan is to be bringing other label mates on the road and started doing these parties with avocados and tacos, all kind of like a fiesta. Holy Molé though, the whole idea behind that is that is like a mole sauce. There are all these different kinds of it, but the proper way to make takes anywhere from like, 24 to 48 hours. You take all these crazy peppers and ingredients and grind them and roast them. It’s a process. And that’s how I want the music to be. So much love and time is put into this tasty sauce, it’s unique every time you make it. Somehow we’re going to tie all that in. We’re going to start doing the parties all over. I think LA is gonna be the first one. It’s just not announced yet.
We’re going to move into what we at Fresh Music Freaks call the Freaky Five. Just five really easy questions to help people get to know CODES the person rather than just the artist.
What are some new tunes that you’re listening to outside of your own music?
I like my dude Steady Rock, Sage Armstrong, and Franklyn Watts who’s playing right now [at Ubbi Dubbi]. Their new label has got so many songs about booty. I play that other Steady Rock song, “Big Ol Booty”. I really like that. Proper Villains, for a long time, I’ve been playing his music. I think he’s a very underrated producer. I always play at least two or three of his tunes when I DJ. I love it. “That Thing” by astronomar I like that too. I’m fortunate enough that those are my homies and they’re just killing it right now.
If you could fly anywhere right now, where would it be and why?
I would say right now, just because I’ve been at this festival since Friday, I would fly to go see my family. My mom, my sister, my dad, and my grandma are all back in Rochester. If I could go anywhere, I would do that. If I was to go somewhere cool, not that Rochester isn’t cool, it’d be Australia. I really like Sydney.
What do you put on your tacos?
Definitely guacamole. I go through phases of being fit and Pescatarian and I’ll have chicken tacos because it’s easy on the road. But if I was to make one at my house, I would probably saute` some mushrooms with peppers and onions. I’d make my own fresh guacamole with garlic and maybe mango or something.
Spicy or not spicy guacamole?
It depends. If I’ve been on the road, my stomach gets beat up from road food and all the late nights. I like spicy but sometimes spicy doesn’t like me. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t.
The last one is very serious. What do you think cats dream about?
I think ruling the world probably. Every time I look at a cat, it’s like she’s looking at me saying “Why the fuck are you here? What are you doing? I should be running shit.” Or maybe they do run shit. I think they do.
Yeah, I think my cat owns everything in my apartment honestly.
Unfortunately, I’m not around enough to have a cat, but I found this bean bag cat and it kind of looks like a real cat. It sits on one of my speakers and that’s the only animal I have right now. I get home and I’m like “Hi kitty,” and my roommate is like “Dude, you’ve been on the road too long.”
Well, that’s all I have for you! But do you have any last words for your fans or for the haters?
Oh, I don’t pay attention to the haters, but I definitely appreciate all my fans and all of the people that support me and my team. My family, anyone who buys music, steals music, or finds a way to get my music and my tunes to their friends, that shows. I appreciate you all a hundred percent.
CODES won the day on Sunday at Ubbi Dubbi with my favorite set of his to date. Every single person in the crowd was loving him from the longtime fans to the fresh ears he drew in. Mark your calendars for Holy Molé’s first single release “Baby” on June 25th. I am highly anticipating what CODES has cooked up for us with Holy Molé and everything that goes along with his new label. I am betting on some extra spicy beats!
If you haven’t heard “100% Skills” yet, check it out HERE.
*Featured Image Via Oh Dag Yo Photography*