Where did EDM come from?

Electronic Daisy Carnival at the Los Angeles Coliseum

A quick glance at the photo above stands as a testament to the overwhelming popularity of Electronic Dance Music in western culture. According to LA Times Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) drew over 185,000 attendants over the two-day length of the “massive” music festival. The festival included some of the biggest names in Electronic Music along with carnival rides, art work and live entertainment that resembled a mixture of a strip club and cirque du soleil. However, this was not always the case. Where did this music genre come from? Who and what were the major influencers?

The music genre owes much of its origin to the underground club scene in Chicago when artists began spinning Disco records in garages and warehouses in the city. Originally these all night parties were filled with Black and/or gay male party goers that began to shape a new underground dance movement in America. One of the most popular underground nightclubs in Chicago was known as The Warehouse. This club became so popular for playing the latest disco music that record stores began advertising records as coming from “The Warehouse.” Eventually, this was shortened to simply “House Music,” and a new genre that would grow to encompass the world was born.

One of the most influential songs of early Chicago House was Jamie Principle’s “Your Love”

An interesting note is the unity and community that quickly grew out of the cultural community surrounding venues such as the Warehouse. Minority groups such as the African American and Gay communities were the earlier adopters in this underground subculture. The culture grew out of the disco era and influential DJs used disco as inspiration to create the new House genre.

In addition to Jamie Principle, the “Godfather’s of House” pushed the genre to new heights with simple synthesizers and drum machine set ups. Marshall Jefferson is regarded as a Godfather of House, along with Frankie Knuckles, Roy Davis Jr., Steve “Silk” Hurley, Felix Da Housecat and Lil Louis.

Jefferson’s “Move Your Body” is regarded as “The House Anthem” partially due to it being the first song to officially state the phrase “house music” in it. These Chicago DJs were simply pushing the limits of a music genre and although House music had been produced prior to “Move Your Body,” the track instantiated it as a true genre.

Marshall Jefferson allowed the creation and progression of Electronic Music to be set in motion and become what it is today.


Posted on September 14, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Kyle,
    Heard a few minutes of your own sound mixing- pretty cool! Going into your blog and seeing media that is not pictures or videos made me curious about your site as a whole. I enjoyed reading about the history and origins of EDC. I might have not been interested at all in reading about this except for the fact that you asked some questions at the end of the first paragraph. I had to keep reading….
    May be I would’ve hyperlinked the “Electric Daisy Carnival” with the article instead of the LA Times name. For a moment, I didn’t know if the article you were referring to would show up or if I would have to look for it myself on the LA times website.

    • Thanks for listening to the mix. I’m about to release another and I’m going to start doing some weekly gigs around the Berkeley area, namely Beat The Clock. See you there? The history of House music is fascinating. Most people think it came from Europe, when in fact it is influenced by DJs and producers in Chicago and Detroit. Stay posted for more posts on the progression of this history in the next few days!


  2. Kyle,
    this is a really cool blog. First, I love that you have two music samples. I listened to both songs, and I have to say I think I like the second one better. I have used the term house music before, but to be honest I’m not entirely sure i knew what I was talking about. Is electric music today considered house music still, or does house music usually to refer to the beginning sounds of the electronic music revolution?
    fun site!

    • Great question! House music has evolved immensely throughout the last few decades, almost to the point that you would not consider the songs you’re referring to and current house music to even be in the same musical genre. This older house is now considered Chicago House or Classic house. I’ll get more into current house genres later, so keep checking back and subscribe to my blog to stay updated!

  3. I really enjoyed reading the post and learning about House Music’s history, particularly that the gays had something to do with it. There’s this movie I saw a while back, not sure if it is mainstream or not, but it’s titled Party Monster. It’s about the underground club culture in NYC.

  4. Honestly, for electronic music listerners like us who has been listening for almost 2 decades, we’re not comfortable with how US ppl renamed it to EDM, why not just EM? EDM could be the umbrella, but it’s not a solid roof.

  1. Pingback: Where did EDM come from?? Part II (Penetration into the UK) | Fist Pump The World

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