Chillout – My Music Style

Where to Begin? At the Beginning?

My first foray into music came at birth. My mother was a concert pianist whose musical aspirations were ended by World War ll. I was exposed to nightly classical piano concerts, and my mother attempted to teach me the piano, saxophone, and horns. I was terrible, or at least not interested. Then, in my early teens, I was exposed to West Coast-style rock & roll that migrated to the psychedelic scene. My memories of that time are somewhat faded.   

My early involvement in psychedelic light shows overshadowed my interest in my Gibson 535, Strat, and Gold Top Les Paul guitar. My partner Tim and I were early on and did shows at Filmore West and other Bill Graham events. We performed with some top groups at the time. Then my mother stepped into my disgusting life and said you have to go to college and become an engineer. My interest in music was still there, but my guitars remained in their cases as I entered corporate America, first at Polaroid and then into the burgeoning PC industry of Silicon Valley.

Fast forward to the 2000’s when Wendy and I started Keys®. I was still a rock & roll and blues fan, but my engineering energy turned to skincare. Seriously! On an invitational trip to speak to 300+ Hollywood makeup artists in Santa Monica, I found myself arriving at the Marriott Hotel in Marina Del Rey. I heard music playing beyond description when I walked in the front door. I asked the front desk what station was playing. They did not know, but they called out the weekend manager, and he said, “Oh Yes, this is Chill. The radio station is a pirate station in Mallorca, Spain, called Cafe Cody.” I was mesmerized and discovered my passion for this style of music.

Again, fast-forwarding, I ultimately became friends with Gary “Cody” Johnson and his creation, To this day, even though Gary has passed, it is the pinnacle of the Chill movement and fostered many of the Ibiza sounds of people like DJ Maratimo.   

Most chill music is created by single artists using sophisticated synthesizers to layer music to create downtempo, ambient creations called Chill.

My first synthesizer was a very complicated KORG M3 that required a PhD in engineering to lay down a single track. A MacPro was the only computer that could handle anything close to real-time layered tracks. Most Chill was 50+ tracks layered using incredibly complicated software.

These days, the latest synthesizers do most of the work on board, and still, a Mac Studio is the minimum, but the software is far more intuitive for creating many-layered songs. Big revolutions are on the horizon, but this was my inspiration for creating the music that I make.

So what is Chill, and What Is My Music Style.

My style is a wandering combination of rock, blues, and new age, done in a Chiil, downtempo, and ambient way.  I will try to describe each below.

Chill, Downtempo, and Ambient: A Guide to Relaxing Electronic Music Genres

Are you looking to unwind with some mellow, atmospheric tunes? The world of electronic music offers several genres perfect for relaxation and introspection. Let’s explore the key characteristics and differences between Chill, Downtempo, and Ambient music.


Chill music, also known as Chillout, is a broad term for various styles of relaxing electronic music. It is characterized by:

– Slow to mid-tempo beats (usually 90-120 BPM)

– Laid-back, soothing melodies and harmonies

– Emphasis on creating a calming, often uplifting atmosphere

– Incorporates elements from various genres like downtempo, trip-hop, and ambient

Chill tracks often feature soft, dreamy pads, gentle guitar or piano riffs, and understated rhythms. The overall vibe is designed to create a peaceful, relaxing environment perfect for unwinding or background listening.


Downtempo is a genre of electronic music that emerged in the 1990s. It is known for its slow, relaxing beats and often incorporates elements from various styles like jazz, funk, and world music. Key features include:

– Slow tempos, usually between 90-120 BPM

– Emphasis on atmospheric sounds and textures

– Laid-back, groove-oriented rhythms often featuring breakbeats or hip-hop-influenced drums

– Incorporates samples, live instrumentation, and electronic elements

Downtempo tracks often have a slightly more pronounced beat compared to ambient music, but still maintain a chilled-out, introspective vibe. The genre encompasses various subgenres like trip-hop, lo-fi, and Chillout.


Ambient music prioritizes atmosphere and mood over traditional song structures or rhythms. It is characterized by:

– Minimal or no percussive elements

– Focus on creating immersive, often ethereal soundscapes

– Use of long, sustained tones, drones, and slowly evolving textures

– Encourages a sense of space and contemplation

Ambient tracks often feature lush pads, field recordings, and abstract sound design. The genre can range from soothing and meditative to more experimental and challenging. Ambient music is perfect for relaxation, meditation, or creating a calming environment.

In conclusion, while Chill, Downtempo, and Ambient music all aim to create a relaxing atmosphere, they each have distinct characteristics. Chill is a broad term encompassing various mellow electronic styles. Downtempo features slow, groovy beats and often incorporates diverse musical elements. Ambient prioritizes immersive soundscapes over traditional structures. Explore these genres to find the perfect soundtrack for your moments of relaxation and introspection.

Please listen to Cafe Cody and check out Chill Music on Apple Music or Spotify. Warning: It is addicting.

Take a look at our blog to listen to my stuff.


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