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Artist///Endo

Endo's harmonic beats By Lee Ann Jastillana • Photo by Wayne Chargualaf

M

ichael Henderson came home from his first rave in 1999 with a newfound passion for DJing and electronic music. The then 17-year-old immediately bought turntables and immersed himself in the music by reading manuals, mastering software and practicing late at night. Flash forward almost 20 years later and Henderson, whose stage name is Endo, has played for events across the globe including: Pacha, Marquee and Cielo in New York, Sound in Los Angeles, Guvernment and Coda in Toronto, Club Vertigo in Costa Rica, Sands in Ibiza and this year at Electric Island Festival in Guam. Endo’s sets are all harmonic progression — every song is in key, or intentionally out of key and adjusted harmonically. “Beat matching was the addiction originally,” Henderson says. “But now I’m very big on mixing songs with complementing harmonies and keys.” His sets are also adjusted according to setting and audience mood. For example, he’ll play happier tunes on a sunny beach and bass-driven tech house for moody after-hours. Henderson enjoys how he can control the effect of his music on an audience, and he even has a unique method for doing so. He goes through every song on the piano, figuring out the musical key signatures of each. He then writes them down and has a code system that tells him what keys go together. When he’s playing, he’s able 8

to filter his collection based on what keys are compatible with each other. In this way, Henderson is able to keep his audiences hyped and energetic. “I also have a color coding system and a rating system for energy level and vibe — it’s kind of nerdy, but that’s what I do,” Henderson says. “It’s all about finding the right songs for the right moment.” Henderson grew up a musician, and being a drummer got him immediately hooked on beat matching. His current musical influences include DJ Craze, Z-trip and Bad Boy Bill. “I’m really just a music junkie,” he says. “I live for the groove and the melody.” Apart from his visit to Guam and recent shows in Hawaii, Henderson has been busy working on his DJ booking app, “AGNT,” and his new 12-week DJ course for Berklee online, “Learn to DJ with Traktor,” a DJ software package developed by Native Instruments. Behind his successes are years of hard work. One of the biggest difficulties in his career, according to Henderson, is his inveterate focus on DJing instead of producing. He feels he could have quickly gone much farther had he shifted his attention toward producing. After finishing his first DJ album, “Keys,” he hopes to begin making his own music. “I’m going to be moving into the production world and making albums and finding my sound,” Henderson says.

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