Now that the EDM scene is nearing its peak (still climbing at this point), other genres are starting to carve out their own little niches in the dance music community. Recently, deep house has dramatically increased in popularity. Spinning Records’ deep house arm “Spinning Deep” accounts for nearly half of the label’s output, and others have created their own deep house branch. The newest one on the horizon though seems to be the tropical house genre, spearheaded by artists like Kygo and Thomas Jack. While deep house was greeted with some respect, and even admiration, tropical house has been met by some in the music community with apprehension.
Tommy Sunshine started a conversation of sorts on Twitter in which juggernauts Kaskade and Deadmau5 joined in. Tommy’s rant was far more aggressive, especially towards Kygo, than Kaskade and Deadmau5′ contribution to the conversation. All that aside, it actually exposed a sort of non-acceptance of the genre throughout the electronic music scene. So why are artists so against this burgeoning new genre?
Plot twist: new EDM is actually smooth jazz/adult contemporary re-branded as tropical house to keep white kids dancing.
— Kaskade (@kaskade) February 12, 2015
There seem to be a lot of factors that are weighing in on this situation. First and foremost is the money. Record labels and management companies are snatching up producers faster than a movie production studio snatches up rights for various comic book series. They are trying to capitalize on the relatively new found recognition of electronic dance music, and if you’re going to make money in this business, it’s first-come, first-served. Tropical house new enough that there are only a couple of artists with big name recognition in this relatively unfamiliar landscape: Thomas Jack and Kygo. Sure, there are a few others out there, but those two are the ones making waves right now.
This gold rush of sorts has drawn a lot of DJs to remember the story of Avicii. Avicii came onto the scene as an unrelenting force and was world-famous within a month after releasing his single, Seek Bromance. Avicii also was never a DJ (many argue that he still isn’t). Avicii was just producing tracks in his apartment when Ash Pounori came along and turned Tim Bergling into the globe-trotting DJ that is Avicii. Tim literally needed to learn how to DJ in a couple of weeks before heading out on tour, a situation that doesn’t breed learning the craft the way many feel artists should. That same seemed to happen with Kygo. Kygo was a producer forced to learn how to DJ in a short period of time, and some could argue that it shows in his live performances.
Tropical house has also brought electronic music almost full circle musically. Electronic music has, for the most part, required some sort of electronic manipulation of instruments. But with this new genre, there is very little manipulation, and it almost seems like it could be performed live with a band. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; it just goes against the status quo for how we develop within genre. For example, if you have ever seen a video of how deadmau5 manipulates tones in his studio, your mind might explode. So it’s understandable that people who are so invested in the scene would have some apprehension to this new way of doing things.
Regardless, tropical house is going to be here for quite some time. This sort of music is a nice contrast to the huge energy that all the other genres have. A sort of yin to the yang. But what do you think of the music? Is it “Lullaby Music” like what Tommy Sunshine says, or is it more to you? tell us in the comments below.
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