If you’re a producer, DJ, or musician of any type, it can be helpful to have an understanding of not just the genres you work in, but all genres. Even if it’s not your area of expertise, it’s good to have a broad skillset, and you may want to incorporate variety into your work, for example through Massive packs and presets that are outside of your genre.
One of the broadest genres is electronic dance music or EDM, and if it’s outside of your comfort zone, it’s worth learning about because of its popularity, notable artists and general influence within the music world.
While there are countless EDM styles and subgenres, the following offers an overview of some of the most popular.
You’ve probably heard of house in general, but you might not know as much about the subgenres. Some of the most popular house subgenres include Progressive House, Deep House, Tech House and Tribal House.
Within these subgenres, if there was one that would be called probably the most mainstream and well-known it’s probably progressive house. This subgenre tends to be fast-paced, and there are quite a few famous artists that fall into this category including Avicci, David Guetta, and Swedish House Mafia.
Some of the general features of house include 120 to 130 BPM, rhythms driven by percussion and synthesized bass lines.
Techno can seem quite a bit like the vintage EDM genre, and it’s one that’s been around for quite a while, having gained a lot of popularity in raves and parties in the 1990s. Techno is repetitive with more under-the-radar drops, and it’s been somewhat on the outs regarding popularity, but not altogether gone.
Worth mentioning within the genre is one that’s separate but related in many ways, and that’s trance, which also tends to feel a bit vintage in the EDM world. Trance tends to be highly repetitive and have simplicity in the sound, and with progressive trance, there’s more complexity. Some trance includes vocals, but more often than not it doesn’t.
Moombahton, which is related to moombahcore is similar in many ways to reggaeton. Reggaeton is electronic-infused reggae, and if you haven’t heard of this style, you might want to learn a bit more about it, since one of the most famous artists working within this genre is Diplo.
Trap has gotten to the point where you might even call it mainstream, and some music aficionados feel like it’s on the way out, although it’s really a matter of opinion. Trap is electronic-infused rap, and this is something else favorited by Diplo.
Finally, another one that gets attention right now is dubstep, and while it was really popular a few years ago, most will agree it’s not at that height of popularity anymore. Dubstep tends to be aggressive, and there’s the use of distinctive synthesizers. Artists like Skrillex are well-known for their dubstep.
This doesn’t even really scratch the surface of all the many EDM genres, but it gives you a baseline if it’s an area you’re unfamiliar with.