Twitch has been a powerful and positive outlet for Codes to grow in his DJ career and expand on his community
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A Friday night on Twitch with Codes is a spectacle. He uses visuals like he spins through styles, focusing on the movement and the moment. You may be sucked into a discoteque landscape as he spins through some hot disco house track. Or, you may get lost in the continuous funhouse of an animated Codes when he wants to get freaky; his facial features are caricatured for the coolness factor. It all makes you want to be a part of his scene.
Welcome to Codes House!
Call it confidence and call it creative, Codes (real name Cody Murray) has one of the more visually engaging Twitch streaming presences. Whether it is his boat parties, vinyl therapy where he dips into his massive vinyl collection, or nights where anything goes, his Twitch persona is worth taking note and diving into the journey.
“I always knew I was a pretty good multi-tasker,” said Murray. “Now with Twitch, I am mixing, scratching, talking, chatting, and I have a little stream deck where I can control my background videos as well as troubleshoot any issues.”
Couple More Crew
Along with enhancing his DJ identity and building a brand through Twitch, the Couple More Crew was born out of a natural formulation of a community that wanted to experience and react to the same things that others were looking for. Once it happened, it just stuck.
“I was at the end of my stream one night and had some cocktails. I kept saying, ‘Okay, I will play a couple more. Just two more.’ Next thing you know three hours go by, and my friend Craze raids me. And then someone else comes in with a raid. Now I have 500 people online, and it’s a party. Couple More Crew happened right on time. It really caught on when I did the vinyl therapy stuff.”
Murray appreciates the community that he has built and nurtured. Now that live shows and festivals have opened up, he has met a handful of people from the Couple More Crew—IRL. For him, building that bond and fan relationship is one of the most gratifying parts of his career. And during the pandemic, him being there for his crew became his own self therapy.
“One of the most important parts of my job is to completely take people away from whatever fucked up shit they are going through at the time. For example, last summer when the riots were happening, there was looting that was going on right outside of our apartment in Manhattan. I have videos of people trying to break into the ATM machines from my girlfriend’s twelve-story apartment. That was just one component to what was a really messed up situation. It all was like psychological warfare, and we all were going through it together. Streaming on Twitch was the one time we had peace and forgot about hate, politics, health scares, all the things we were and still are facing as a society.”
Codes was living in Brooklyn when the pandemic hit. He was about to embark on the biggest tour of his life. Gigs were set up and plane tickets booked; all the fine details checked off. He was ready to push the limits until a friend phoned him up telling him to cancel everything.
“I could not even wrap my head around it. Just the flights alone I would have to recup. I told him that there is no way I can cancel all of this. He made his case. You don’t understand what’s going to happen. By the hour, it got worse and worse. Codes House literally had the gate shut on it.”
Immediately after things started shutting down his roommate contracted a horrible case of COVID. And people in the apartment kept getting sick. Murray was staying with his girlfriend in Manhattan. For his own health and safety, he refused to return to Brooklyn. They holed up in the one-bedroom apartment with limited resources for months as the world ground to a halt.
“I have had long relationships before, but I have not been up someone’s ass and in their space so much. We couldn’t go anywhere, but we had a blast. I was so mentally not healthy, and we just chilled and watched Netflix and played cards. I learned all of these magic tricks just to keep sane.”
Mark Martinez, better known as Subset, asked Codes to be a guest on his show. Finally, something. The only problem is that Codes was stuck in Manhattan without any equipment. His roommate’s health kept him from going back to Brooklyn. So Codes put messages on Facebook for the need of some gear. An old friend of his answered the call and drove an hour-and-a half with a DJ set up. The show was a success and gave him that jumpstart that he needed.
Streaming on Twitch
The Twitch streaming started in the Manhattan living room. Murray made a green screen out of a red plastic tablecloth he found downstairs at a grocery store. It started with a jpeg and adapted as he learned the technology.
“I thought mentally this is going to save me. I now have this outlet. I started to learn and use my creativity. Before the pandemic, I was supposed to play on this boat for the Movement Festival. So I found this video on YouTube of a boat going around the Detroit River. I Photoshopped a DJ booth on top of it. With the background moving, it looked like I was actually on a boat. This is what started the Boat House Parties on Twitch.”
Then came the pop-up streaming parties and Vinyl Therapy sessions. It’s helped him build transparency and improve on his versatile mixing techniques that Codes is best known for.
With the ten year anniversary of his first mix, Codes Around The House, celebrated in June with a re-stream on Twitch, Murray’s musical journey has been a mash up of styles and experimentations that goes beyond the genre he is best known for.
The Road To Elements: Codes
How Murray Became Codes
It started with a rave at the age of 14. He bought a jungle tape on the way out, and it blew his mind. You can say that it changed his life.
“It was Return of the Jungle Warrior from 1997. DJ Venom scratched throughout the whole thing, and I thought it was the dopest shit I have heard. I got all my friends turned on to jungle music. That was when I started to DJ.”
Murray was a hardcore junglist at the core. House music was a distant concept at the time. He ate and breathed Hip Hop, Drum ‘n’ Bass, and Jungle all day. First it was breakbeats, and then it was reggae. One night, he was in his home town of Rochester, and Codes discovered House music at a small club there. But the full realization did not drop until a New York City rave converted him.
“We went to this rave called Boo. This was twenty years ago. We just took some really good ecstasy. That was the best ecstasy I took in my life, and House music opened up my mind. After that, I bought a ton of House records.”
This was about the time Serato started coming around and Murray began using the technology to do electro, bloghouse and mashups, spinning something like Drum ‘n’ Bass into a Blondie song or Ace of Base. In New York, anything goes. This is where Codes was born.
“I was experimenting with Disco House at the time. I had met Jake from Kill the Noise and discovered he was playing some Disco House as well. That is where Codes House came from. Kill The Noise introduced me to Craze and they loved the music I was making. They suggested I make a persona. I tried to think of all of these names. Everyone has always called me Codes so my thought was that I’m going to do me. I was really into the old school House vibe and Disco House, but I was also trying to stay true to my scratching roots. That’s how it all came about and branched off from there.”
Styles progressed. Codes and Craze were in Miami when they first heard Dave Nada and Moombahton. Codes took from that moment and started messing around with the bass elements of Moombahton before EDM became a household name. But it created confusion, and he found himself being billed on Dubstep shows instead.
“This was not what I wanted to do anymore. My vision was being confused by promoters, and I took a break and started teaching. And then Skrillex blew up. Tiesto came out and EDM blew up with a vengeance. I went through a negative couple years of my life with a bad taste in my mouth for electronic music.”
That break saw him back in the studio to create “Bumps.” This jump started his music career again through a relationship with Treasure Fingers and the Psycho Disco label. With a new agent, new resources, and success of “Bumps,” Codes felt rejuvenated.
Codes: You Crazy
Holy Molė it’s a new label!
This year, Codes celebrated the second anniversary of Holy Molė. The label was originally going to be called Bumps after the song, but fate had a different idea. Murray recalls the humble beginnings of his label.
“My grandfather had passed away, and I was trying to go home. I got stuck in a snowstorm in Boston. It was the worst, most depressing shit. I’m sitting there and remember my grandfather would say ‘Holy Moly’ or ‘Holy Mackerel.’ It was an endearing memory. Then it came to me, and I just saw the whole thing with the avocado dude. It was an ode to my grandfather as his memory sparked a vision in my head.”
The Future Looks Bright
Murray now has a hectic schedule and a monsoon of projects pouring in. With new things happening on his label, mixes, and festivals and shows lined up left and right, he welcomes the traditional value of live DJ-ing. Yet, he does not plan to pump the brakes on his streaming efforts. For Codes, that will not go away anytime soon.
“If I’m not creating or being creative I get wildly depressed and lost. Twitch helped me find my way during a dark time. It’s great to just test tunes and play stuff while interacting with my community. I tell all of my friends, don’t miss this opportunity to connect with people and to share your music.”