Storytellers of a new generation
A Dummy’s 101 Guide To EDM Genres (Part 1)

A Dummy’s Guide To EDM Genres (Part 1)

  • 1. House

    Born around: Mid-eighties
    Birthplace: Chicago
    Popular Contemporary Artistes: David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia, Avicii, Afrojack and Hardwell


    Photo source: David Guetta/Facebook 

    Say dhish-dhish-dhish-dhish. Continue doing so. Try it on any tempo you like. Ask your friend to sing a melody over it. There you go; you have right in your mouth a freshly-baked house tune. Yes, house music is that simple to understand. It is also by far the favourite child of EDM. Having risen as a phoenix from the ashes of disco music, house has been embraced by everyone, from Madonna and Paula Abdul to even Aqua (yes, those ‘Barbie girl’ guys). Can’t understand why it is called house? Well, legend has it that during the glorious mid-eighties, this kind of music was played in a popular club in Chicago called The Warehouse. Hence. 

  • 2. Techno

    Born around: Mid to late eighties
    Birthplace: Detroit
    Popular Contemporary Artistes: Carl Cox, Adam Beyer, Richie Hawtin and Carl Craig


    Photo source: Carl Cox/Facebook 

    Techno is the kind of EDM that features repetitive beats, and occasional drops/changes. And yes, it’s all instrumental. Early techno sounded a lot like monotonous machinery sounds (say taka taka taka taka taka); its birthplace Detroit was a car manufacturing city, hence the connection, and although the genre has come a long innovative way in the last three decades, you can still spot those raw, purposeful, machine beat underneath a modern-day techno song.  

  • 3. Trance

    Born around: Early nineties
    Birthplace: Germany
    Popular Contemporary Artistes: Above & Beyond, Tiesto, Dash Berlin and Armin van Buuren


    Photo source: Above & Beyond/Facebook 

    A typical trance track is like a man (a singular relentless and a very unmusic-y beat) running in linear motion, say along Marine Drive, for a long period of time. He is eventually joined by other men and women (other somewhat music-y bits) who run along with him without disturbing his motion. The fun parts in the music are the occasional build-ups and slow-downs. Trance music used to have more monotony than its other EDM siblings, but of late, producers have been trying to make it more exciting to the layperson’s ear by employing vocals and live instruments.

  • 4. Dubstep

    Born around: Late nineties
    Birthplace: London
    Popular Contemporary Artistes: Skrillex, Skream, Benga and Flux Pavilion


    Photo: Skrillex/Facebook

    Urban Dictionary defines dubstep as the music that is created from transformers having sex. You get the idea. This EDM baby is more erratic, featuring wobbles, frequent breaks and sudden changes, mostly bass drops that cause jerky mood swings. It is also very bass heavy and is spiced with I’m-getting-electrocuted kind of sounds. Very dance floor friendly, we must say.

  • 5. Drum ‘n’ bass (DnB)

    Born around: Early nineties
    Birthplace: London
    Popular Contemporary Artistes: Chase & Status, Goldie and Bad Company

    Drum ‘n’ bass (DnB)

    Photo: Chase & Status/Facebook

    This EDM genre, as the name suggests, is more about the drum work and the basslines. Thanks to the immense stress on these two, DnB tends to feature some very oh-my-god-what-was-that prodigious rhythms, breaks and grungy sounds. And it can get very, very fast. And headache-inducing too. This music is your best buddy during your post-endorphin-release-highly-creative spell.  


    Don’t forget to watch out for Part 2 of the series!

    PS: Each one of the above-mentioned genres houses within its ambit many, many sub-genres, which haven’t been discussed here.



    Words: NS
    Cover Image: Kaiserdisco at Enchanted Valley Carnival 2014