Welcome to the second edition of our Music 101 series! While last time we featured trap music – a relatively new genre – this time we’re heading back to the roots of electronic music and exploring everything that has to do with House!
House music can be traced all the way back to the late 1970s in Chicago, United States. Disc jockeys such as Ron Hardy and Frankie Knuckles were known in the city for playing various types of early-electronic music such as disco, funk, and electronic-pop. As pioneers, the aforementioned DJs would often mix all of the above genres with electronic effects, drum machines and synthesizers to give these tracks some added rhythm.
Picking up on this groovy beat was record producer Chip E., who is recognized as the first artist to put out a house record way back in 1985. His debut extended play titled Time to Jack, which features the minimal sound of house paired with repetitive lyrics and samples, set the stage for the future of house music.
Listen to Chip E.’s Time to Jack EP here:
Fun fact: The term “house” is thought to have originated from The Warehouse, a Chicago club open from 1977 to 1983 that was the home to resident DJ Frankie Knuckles, often referred to as the “Godfather of house.”
By the mid-1980s, popular Chicago DJs started producing and releasing their own original works, drawing influence from their favourite disco and funk tracks and using the Roland TR-808 drum machine and the Korg Poly-61 synthesizer to make the tracks edge more on the house side.
As house music began gaining traction in Chicago, sub-genres such as acid house and deep house quickly started to emerge, which we will cover in more detail in a future segment. The former emerged from artists experimenting with a different Roland synthesizer, with Phuture being credited as the founder of the psychedelic genre.
The infectious trend of house music quickly spread through the United States in the late 1980s, before reaching overseas in the UK and Europe in the early 1990s. Soon, the genre would become global due to its innate ability to set any club dance floor ablaze, with multiple sub-genres still being invented to this day.
The quintessential element found in every house track is the repetitive four-on-the-floor kick drum beat, where the kick drum is hit on every beat in common time. In addition, simple basslines and periodic hi-hat loops give house music its groovy, danceable feel. The beats-per-minute (BPM) of a house song can vary depending on the producer, but can typically be located between 120 and 140 BPM.
Check out the video below for the ins and outs of deep house (similar to Chicago house) percussion basics:
Early pioneers in the house music scene include the aforementioned Chip E. and Phuture, as well as Jesse Saunders, Mr. Fingers, Inner City, Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk, Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley, and more. Check out some old favourites from these artists and more below!
This concludes House 101! See you in two weeks for our next installment of the series: DRUM & BASS 101 ⚡
And if you’re looking for the best electronic music events and festivals, Electric Soul has got you covered!
Welcome to our new Music 101 series! With these articles, we will introduce you to the wide variety of genres within the world of electronic music, focusing on everything from the history of the genres to their distinct styles. This week’s Music 101 segment is focused on all things Trap!
Trap music is one of the most popular and, surprisingly, one of the newest genres in electronic music. With its origins dating back to the early 2010s, trap music evolved into its own genre after artists began adding more electronic and dubstep elements to the hip-hop genre of the same name, often opting to remove the vocals to create purely instrumental tracks.
Birthed in the 1990s in the southern United States, the hip-hop genre of trap became popular through artists such as T.I., Gucci Mane and Rick Ross bringing the unique production style to the radio.
Listen to T.I.’s Trap Muzik album from 2003 here:
In its early days, electronic trap music was only popular in the underground scene and only the most passionate fans of electronic music were exposed to this new, heavy take on hip-hop. The genre’s first claim to fame came in the form of the ‘Harlem Shake,’ a worldwide sensation that took the internet by storm. Arguably Baauer‘s most famous production, ‘Harlem Shake’ brought trap music to the mainstream world through the viral meme which sees participants doing crazy dances and shenanigans once the drop hits. The track was the first trap record to hit number one on the Billboard Top 100, officially bringing the genre to the masses and introducing a whole new playing field for producers to explore.
Since becoming an internet sensation, trap music has grown into a mainstage favourite, with electronic music fans around the world gathering for shows and festivals that center around the genre.
As trap music is derived from hip-hop, a lot of emphasis is placed on crisp percussion shining at the forefront with deep sub basses lurking in the background. Trap music producers then started adding build-ups and drops around the hip-hop foundation to make these tracks appeal to the electronic music realm. The origins of the genre are rooted in crisp, rolling hi-hats, loud kicks, snares and brass, and the famous 808 sub.
Check out the video below for the ins and outs of the trap percussion basics:
Added elements of dub, house and techno give the track an electronic vibe, making it a versatile genre that one can both dance and mosh to.
Early pioneers in the trap music scene include the aforementioned Baauer, as well as RL Grime, DJ Snake, Heroes x Villains (HxV), CRNKN, Mayhem, UZ and Flosstradamus. Check out some old favourites from these artists and more below!
This concludes Trap 101! See you in two weeks for our next installment of the series: HOUSE 101 ⚡
And if you’re looking for the best electronic music events and festivals, Electric Soul got you covered!