Big room house
|Cultural origins||Late 2000s Europe, mostly Sweden and the Netherlands|
|Big room hardstyle |
Big room is a subgenre of electro music. It has become one of the most 'appealing' forms of electronic dance music. It is regarded as a combinative form of progressive , electro and techno. It has gained mainstream popularity after artists like Hardwell, Nicky Romero and Sander van Doorn began infusing it into their musical style.
The genre is generally 126 to 132 bpm. It is composed of 'lengthy trance-influenced build-ups, a powerful and driving electro-style drop'. It is also known to include a 4/4 hard style kick. A typical big room house track features bass-heavy kicks, with minimal musical elements and sometimes only a syncopated supersaw or percussion. It often incorporates drops, minimalist percussion, regular beats, sub-bass layered kicks, simple melodies, and synth-driven distorted breakdowns.
In the early 2010s, big room began developing and gained popularity at electronic dance music events and festivals such as Tomorrowland. Despite being considered a subgenre of electro , big room music has been developing into a genre of its own throughout the years.
Swedish House Mafia members - Steve Angello, Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso are regarded as the pioneers of big room. Martin Garrix's best selling single, "Animals", is regarded as one of the most notable big room songs. The genre gained notability in the early 2010s as DJs and producers began playing big room house songs at festivals and clubs. In 2016, Beatport reclassified electro as a subgenre of big room , putting notable producers such as Deadmau5 and Wolfgang Gartner under the category.
The genre has been criticized by several musicians, describing it as 'stereotypical EDM sound lacking originality and creativity', and that it sounds homogenous. Mixmag described the genre as composing of "titanic breakdowns and spotless, monotone production aesthetics". Wolfgang Gartner described the genre as a "joke", and disregarded it, alongside conglomerates such as SFX Entertainment, as "digestible cheap dance music".
In mid-2013, Swedish duo Daleri posted a mix on SoundCloud entitled "Epic mashleg", consisting purely of drops from 15 "big room" songs on Beatport's charts at the time (including artists such as Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Hardwell, and W&W) played in succession. The intent of the mashup was to serve as a commentary on the "big room" movement and the lack of differentiation between tracks; member Eric commented that "the scary thing is that there are new tracks like this every day. Every day, new tracks, all the same. It just keeps coming all the time." The duo defended their use of big room characteristics in their own music (particularly their releases on the Armada Music imprint Trice, which releases many big room tracks), by emphasizing their complextro influences. In the midst of a feud between Deadmau5 and Afrojack over social media regarding originality in dance music culminating with Afrojack creating a style parody of Deadmau5's music entitled "something_", Deadmau5 posted a song on SoundCloud, "DROP DA BOMB", satirizing the style of "commercial" house music and big room.
The structure of bigroom is similar in terms to that of progressive usually inspired from American progressive of the late 2000s. I.e., there are two build-ups complete with breaks, two drop sections, and one or two breakdowns, one of which may or may not include the intro/outro phase. Unlike progressive house, however, bigroom is adapted to radio edited format, and hence, features either the first or the second build-up usually much longer than the other one. In case of remixes, one usually features the whole vocal/riff sample of the initial song, while the other build-up is in fact a simple break that is significantly shorter and prepares the listener for the drop.
The basic characteristic of bigroom lies in its minimalism. One bassline, often aided by one or two highs and lows, creates the mood for the whole composition. This bassline is reverberated so that the echo is cut and spontaneously released only on 1/4 of the tab, usually the last. Unlike in electro house proper, where the bass itself is subject to additional wave effects (such as attack, threshold and sustain) in order to beautify the melody, in bigroom, only the way the sound is released plays a major role. Henceforth, the drum beats are made minimal, sometimes with only a kick/tom and a couple of hi-hats.
Origins and popularity
Big room first appeared in early 2010 and was influenced by famous early electro tracks, such as Benny Bennassi's "Satisfaction". techno, a similarly build-up centric, reverb-heavy genre, was also central in the genre's formation, with some EDM commentators even dubbing big room "Trance 2.0." The increasing role of North American progressive (such as deadmau5 and Kaskade) and the introduction of electronic sounds in mainstream pop music at the same time also influenced the scene significantly. Swedish groups such as Swedish House Mafia and Dada Life were among the first to experiment with bigroom by mid-2010, when it found increasing popularity through international dance music festivals such as Tomorrowland, Ultra Music Festival, and Electric Daisy Carnival.
The implementation of "big room" elements in tracks by producers gained prominence on the level of popular music artists, who by 2012 started to include bits of big room into their songs. Examples of such tracks include "This Is Love" by will.i.am featuring Eva Simons and "Work Bitch" by Britney Spears.
By 2013, bigroom gained international prominence, with its base across Sweden, France, the Netherlands, Italy, the UK and Russia. Certain tracks such as "Animals" by Martin Garrix and "Levels" by Avicii have topped the radio charts for over a couple of months, extending well beyond the EDM scene.
Critics of big room have pointed to a purported lack of originality, diversity, and artistic merit within the genre. DJ, producer, and prominent EDM figure Wolfgang Gartner called big room house "the EDM Apocalypse", saying "real music should have some soul and authenticity to it, and not just be a big kick drum and a techno breakdown with a cheesy one-liner and a 'big drop'".
Russell Smith of the Globe and Mail observes a "fiery friction" between fans of traditional underground electronic music and the newer, typically younger fans who have arisen as a result of big room's movement of EDM into the mainstream.
- Martinez, Amsley (September 18, 2014). "Big Room House Killing Hardstyle". illmind. Magazine. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
These big room- hardstyle collaborations are anything but bad. DJs willing to push the boundaries, are the same DJs who will push all EDM forward. These collaborations are opening the door for more hardstyle, not killing hardstyle.
- "Why Big Room House Is Already Dead". EDM.com. 2014-09-17. Retrieved 2017-02-20.
- "Big Room House - Beat Explorer's Dance Music Guide". thedancemusicguide.com. Retrieved 2017-02-20.
- "Swedish DJs Daleri Mock EDM Cliche With Hilarious Viral Mini-Mix ‘Epic Mashleg’". Spin. 2013-07-15. Retrieved 2017-02-20.
- "Five big-room bangers to get you psyched up for Creamfields". Mixmag. Retrieved 2017-02-20.
- McGovern, Travis (2016-09-12). "Beatport Adds New Genres & Re-Categorizes Deadmau5 As The Most Despised One In EDM". Your EDM. Retrieved 2017-02-20.
- "EDM will eat itself: Big room stars are getting bored". Mixmag. Retrieved 2017-02-20.
- Staff, Your EDM (2014-01-08). "Wolfgang Gartner's Reddit AMA RECAP, States His Distaste For The Big Room Movement & Claims There Is An "Over saturation" of Festivals". Your EDM. Retrieved 2017-02-20.
- Anthony, Polis (2013-05-02). "Wolfgang Gartner Discusses "EDM Apocalypse"". DJ City. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
To be perfectly honest, and I hate to sound negative, cynical or condescending in any way but that’s probably how this will come off, I’ve been really bummed with most of the new music that’s been making waves in 2013. I feel like the “big” sound in dance music right now is just this mashup of every single subgenre possible, to try and appeal to the most people possible, with these cheesy played-out techno pads and vocal hooks, it all sounds exactly the same and it’s really bad for the most part, and the scariest thing is that people are reacting to this stuff, crowds at festivals and clubs are wanting more of it. A few of us have deemed it the EDM Apocolypse. Dance music is in a really weird place right now. I don’t know where it’s going to go. In some way I’m hoping Daft Punk single-handedly destroys this phenomenon we’re experiencing and un-brainwashes everybody into realizing that real music should have some soul and authenticity to it, and not just be a big kick drum and a trance breakdown with a cheesy one-liner and a “big drop.”
- Smith, Russell (2013-12-26). "Electronic dance music and the rise of the big night out". the Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2013-12-29.