As the EDM bubble has exploded to encapsulate much of the mainstream pop scene in the US, many have rightly lauded the achievements of DJs such as David Guetta, Tiesto and the Swedish House Mafia. However, many DJs, producers and fans alike have openly criticised the direction of the movement, with one of the major criticisms being that many fans and producers have lost sight of what house music was about, when it came out of Detroit and Chicago during the 1970s and 1980s. House music during this time was very much an underground movement, that shunned the mainstream, being more open minded to the gay movement, more open to the recreational drug scene, and more all encompassing of social backgrounds and to those more musically eclectic. It is no surprise then that as much of “house” music becomes mainstream, there is an underbelly of dedicated DJs, producers and fans keen to preserve the more soulful and underground genre alive. This has now become known as “deep house”. Venues such as the Sub Club in Glasgow, Fabric in London and DC10 in Ibiza have built reputations out of this, and for many including myself, it has provided some shelter from the new EDM scene, which although certainly serving a purpose, is not for everyone. This little article will hopefully serve as a musical introduction for those wishing to become familiar with it.
Let’s Go Back (Solomun Remix) – Kraak & Smack feat. Romanthony
What separates deep house from mainstream progressive or electro house is the more chilled tempo, usually around 120 bpm, the repetitive melodies, based more around rhythmns and harmonies as opposed to a hard hitting in your face electro hook, as in electro house. It is not designed to be played in a stadium, and usually consists of a more simple baseline, and may feature far more eclectic sounds than your bread and butter trance synths. Progressive and electro house seem to draw from a lot of the same influences that influenced trance in the early 2000s. Its fast, the build ups and breaks have the same “HOLY SHIT” feel to them, and they represent less of a musical journey.
7 Words (Adi Dumitra & Toygun More Words Remix) – Pinto
In contrast, deep house draws from more elements of different genres including R&B, soul, funk, downtempo/lounge and has more emphasis on the musical subtleties and nuances.
Hallelujah Anyway (Larse Vocal Mix) – Candi Staton
The deep house community is incredibly close knit, and features far less of the musical tribalism that plagues any genre with a mainstream spotlight. What I mean by that is that if you go and see a top deep house DJ, they will happily play music from across the genre, from their rivals and from other labels. By contrast if you go an see a Swedish House Mafia set, you will only really hear music from their own labels or proteges, possibly with a couple of exceptions.
Au Seve – Julio Bashmore
If you are a beginner setting out in the world of deep house, you are best starting off with the major labels, Jamie Jones’s Hot Creations imprint, Get Physical Records, and Crosstown Rebels. As with progressive and electro house, and virtually any genre, deep house is an umbrella term that can refer to a plethora of music. There’s disdain from some in the mainstream dance music scene against deep house who class it as boring, or without a point, but in my opinion, this could not be further from the truth. It goes without saying that it demands a more open minded approach to both musicality and perceptions of what is good music, but this does not weaken it by any means, it makes it stronger. In any case, comments on this are welcome, and remember no matter what kind of dance music you listen to, all that’s important is that you support it. No one genre is better than any other, they are just different ways to the same end product: enjoyment. Comments are welcome.
Electricity feat. Anabel Englund – Lee Foss & MK
Underground (Dennis Ferrer Remix) – Nick Curly
Knee Deep In Louise – Hot Since 82
Battle For Middle You – Julio Bashmore
About Love (Eats Everything Rework) – Roy Davis Jr
Everyday (Original Mix) – Adana Twins
Don’t Go (Dusky Remix) – Justin Martin
So Sunkin (Original Mix) – Worthy