By Pooja Shah (@Pooja_Shahnanigans)
EDM comes in many shapes and sizes: from the raging beats of hardstyle to the funky sounds ofdDisco, no genre knows diversity like Electronic Dance Music. To the outsider, it may seem as though all these genres appeal to the same “Dubstep Fan,” but true ravers know EDM genres and subgenres run diverse and deep. Entire stages at festivals are devoted to captivate the best in Electronic Dance Music sub-genres. Artists work tirelessly to appeal to diehard fans of the scene; there is so much more beyond just the mainstage!
Here’s a basic guide to the EDM Genres and where you can find music of each type.
Notable Subgenres: Big Room House, Progressive House, Deep House, Bass House
Notable Labels: Spinnin', Anjunadeep & Dirtybird Records,
House is one of the old and most popular forms of EDM. More than just “boots and cats”, house music spans 4 decades. In the United States, House grew from a rising aftermath of disco, and the sound is one of the most recognizable forms of EDM in clubs and on the mainstream radio.
If you’re looking for traditional or big-room house music, at EDC you’re best off checking out one of the main stages (Circuit Grounds or Kinetic Field.). If you’re looking for the Tech House or Dirtybird vibe, Neon Garden may be more appealing.
While the most popular, house is also the most diverse genre of music in EDM, also making it the most difficult to provide recommendations. My best advice is to get out there, find record labels whose sound you like and then dive more into their artists. There’s more to Dirtybird than just Claude Von Stroke!
Notable Subgenres: Tech House, Experimental, Minimal, Dark Techno
Notable Labels: Boyz Noise Records, MUSIC ON!, Drumcode
Looking for Techno at EDC? Head on over to Neon Garden. Another American born genre, Techno is characterized by its repetitive beat and in a shorter BPM than House. Notable for simpler and produced by sequencers or drum machines. Carl Cox, Deadmau5 and Richie Hawtin are just some of the DJ’s who categorize this distinct brand of music Techno often gets a bad rep by people who are not fans of EDM due to its simplistic or repetitive nature. That being said, there’s to EDM than just that: and don’t let their miscatagorization be your downfall.
Notable Subgenres: Psytrance, Progressive Trance,
Notable Labels: Dreamstate, Ajunabeats
Do you like Sandstorm? Trance might be for you! trance was born in Germany, and is one of the most popular styles of EDM in the WORLD. Ranging from 110-150BPM, trance is known for repetitiously building up and breaking down huge melodies, not unlike dubstep. Trance has always been popular in America, but its an entirely different beast once you hit Germany or anywhere in Europe. Psytrance in and of itself is an entire community.
Notable Subgenres: Riddim, Grime, Brostep
Notable Labels: Bassrush, Destriod Music, Monstercat
Calling all headbangers, this genere is for YOU. Excision and Skrillex fans unite with a passion to heavy bass and even heavier drops. Clocking in at 140BPM, Dubstep in its earliest form took place in music common in video games and move soundtracks in the United States. A step up from its UK counterpart in Drum and Bass, Dubstep has taken on a life of its own in America with entire music festivals dedicated to the subgenre. Residents of Bass Canyon, Lost Lands and Forbidden Kingdom know that aggressive buildups and drops are where its at.
Notable Subgenres: Happy Hardcore, HARD Dance
Notable Labels: Fusion, Basscon
150BPM is where you’ll catch the hardstyle family. Popular in Latin America and Europe, Hardstyle music has taken on an emerging crowd in the United States, with DJs such as SaymyName fusion genres. For Insomniac fans, Hardstyle can be found at Wasteland all day everyday of EDC, with the stage notably closing the festival as the last set to finish at EDC on day 3. No surprise that Hardstyle fans GO HARD.
Other Major Genres we could not cover worth an honorable mention:
- Drum & Bass/Garage (UK Apache, Todd Edwards, Jamie XX)
- Trap (RL Grime, NGHTMRE)
- Moombahton (Dillon Francis, JSTR JSTR)
No matter what genre of EDM you love, we are all one family under the Electric Sky, Can’t wait to see you all under the fireworks soon!
Pooja Shah is an LA-Based IT Consultant and the FestivalAddicts Website monkey. When she’s not posting articles, getting sponsors, or headbanging to the latest Lost Lands Compilation Album, you can follow her festival adventures on Instagram @Pooja_Shahnanigans