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We're Living in House's House

Welcome to WEEK 209 of MUSIC is Not a GENRE (Video Episode #35) We’re Living in House’s House

Chip E. INC. featuring K. JOY – “Like This” (1985)

Four on the floor. Boom boom boom. Nothing sounds quite like an 8-0-8. All about that bass. The vast majority of modern music is built on electronic drums. And that vast majority of THAT music is structured around a steady 4/4 beat – y’know something you can dance to. Sure, dance music has existed probably since music was first invented. Rhythm is way to important for it not to have been a key element in separating random noise from deliberate creation. And music doesn’t even have to be labeled as “dance music” for you to be able to dance to it. But there are certain kinds of music designed and labeled specifically for dancing (gavotte, anyone?). Which brings us to house.

House started out as basically electronic disco with a deeper kick. It was a way for people without a band to make music they could spin at clubs. In fact, most historians say the term “house” came from the late great Chicago club, The Warehouse, which closed in 1983, right at the cusp of house music’s invention. People wanted music like the music they spun at “the ‘House”. And from there was spawned just about every kind of electronic dance music (EDM) since then.

Is all EDM house? No. And though house wasn’t the first ever EDM, it became so influential that just about every kind of electronic music today owes something to house. Now, house isn’t my favorite type of music by any means. Repetition is essential on so many levels, but for me there needs to be more texture, more layers, to keep my attention. That said, I have huge respect for house – as I do for its parent, disco – because it was created to be a safe & inclusive place for the disenfranchised to come together and celebrate being alive. People of color, the LGBTQ community, anyone who felt “other than” among their friends & family. And just as important for me, house emphasizes my belief that DANCING is an essential part of living a good life.

Chip E. was a house pioneer. Some even call him the “godfather of house”. I own Chip E.’s “Like This” because I was a DJ in the mid-late 1980s. I knew even then that I couldn’t live without dancing, and moreover wanted to provide the music other people could dance to. I’ve been doing electronic music since the very beginning of my career, and dance music of all kinds. Since my band REC’s album, Distance to Empty, almost all of my music has been electronic in some way. It’s why I classify what I do as “progressive electro power pop”. As for any of my music being a direct descendent of house, there’s less of that. But it’s there. And in fact, REC’s newest single is very clearly house-inspired:

“All Kinds of Right (The Highway 28 Song)” -

Do you know house music? Are you into it, or any kind of EDM? Or are you into any of the many artists influenced by house – like Madonna, Rihanna, Daft Punk, Calvin Harris? Discuss dammit!

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