Why Is EDM Turning On Tropical House?
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?
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.
We were far from impressed by Kygo at the Neptune
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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It might feel like longer, but electronic dance music (EDM) has dominated the popular musical landscape for the last two years. Calvin Harris, Deadmau5 and Tiesto continue to top charts and the super-sized, pyrotechnics-driven American festival bills that have opened the doors to both international fame and the Forbes rich list.
But if its ubiquity is starting to give you a headache, you'll be relieved to learn that a new electronic genre called tropical house is closing in on EDM. And with huge record deals in the offing, tens of millions of online followers, and the genre's key proponents providing support for the likes of Skrillex, it's about time we found out what the hell it is.
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Why is it called tropical house?
It was (initially) intended as a joke by its inventor, 20-year-old Australian producer Thomas Jack. Known also as 'trop house' (but not to be confused with house and dance hybrid, trouse.
Obviously) tropical house is a sub-genre of house music. But where deep house and EDM use synthesisers and compressed mixes to create
'big room' sounds, tropical house employs horns, marimbas and steel drums and takes the tempo down a few beats per minute.
Who are the leading proponents of tropical house?
A slew of young producers are responsible for its lunge into the mainstream, many of which are based in Northern Europe and the Nordic countries. While Jack is credited as the founder of the movement and is supported by a roster that includes
Klingande, LCAW, Autograf and Bakermat, the undisputed pioneer is Norway's Kygo (a hybrid of his given name, Kyree Gørvell-Dahll).
A classically trained musician, who at only 23 has generated over 150 million plays on Soundcloud alone, Kygo has signed a deal with Ultra Records and Sony International that's rumoured to be gargantuan. He also spent summer 2014 playing four sold-out shows at four different venues over three days in New York City and was selected to replace Avicii for his headline slot at TomorrowWorld.
Jack says, "at America festivals you've got Skrillex headlining and then you've got Kygo next to him...it's insane to see how it's all starting to merge into the wider scene".
What was tropical house's breakthrough moment?
The most recent surge in tropical house's popularity is largely thanks to one of its younger producers, 20-year-old Felix Jaehn.
His saxophone-infused remix of OMI's "Cheerleader" brought tropical house into the iTunes and Spotify top ten in 18 and 14 countries respectively, reaching the top spot in Australia, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.
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What's next for tropical house?
Kygo is diplomatically optimistic about tropical house's future. "There will always be people who support the genre and allow it to live on...that's not to say that tropical house won't change with the times and incorporate other elements into itself, because I'm sure it will. It's only just the beginning for this style of music, and there is so much more to be created in this realm. I'm also really excited to see what the future will bring in terms of new artists and collaborations, because that will inevitably shape the future of the sound to some extent."
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These are sentiments shared by Jack, who tells
GQ "it's hard to know where it's going, but what's essential for the growth of the genre is other young people being inspired to join onto it, and then it's up to what those people do."
One young person rising through the ranks is 20-year-old rising star Sam Feldt, who shared his interpretation of Robin S - "Show Me Love" last Monday (3,945,021 views and counting), while Tuesday saw the release of the music video for the acoustic version of Kygo's first original single, "Firestone" (2,486,215 cumulative views and counting).
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What do the critics think of tropical house?
Things aren't all piña coladas and sun-loungers. Exempting "Cheerleader", and breakout artist Kygo (who's stated that he'd like to experiment with other genres), the music itself is at present negotiating both apathy and criticism from mainstream audiences, including one barb from producer Matt Lange that it all just sounds like Toto's "Africa".
Follow Louis Cheslaw on Twitter: @lcheslaw
What We Like is a series that features genres we like in the electronic music scene. This month’s edition is focused on Tropical House!
The What We Like series focuses on a sole genre that a contributor to the team is passionate about. Each month, that contributor will dive deep into the genre they care most about to bring you some history, information, and of course some music too. Our intention is to not just to provide some music for you to listen to, but to guide you on your journey in discovering new music or help you develop a deeper connection to genres you already love. This month’s edition of What We Like is focused on Tropical House!
Tropical House is a widely popular genre of dance music that has a massive following and attracts huge crowds worldwide.
While its roots can be seen in the mid to late 2000’s, the term “tropical house” came about in the early 2010s. Originally coined as a joke by artist Thomas Jack, it is primarily used to describe a substyle of deep house that became popular in 2013.
The key factors of tropical house that make it different than other subgenres of house music are the instruments heard in the songs. Tracks in the genre usually feature sounds provided by steel drums, pan flutes, guitar chords, and marimba. Further, tropical house tracks almost always have lush vocals to top it all off.
The genre is uplifting, relaxing, and can be listened to anytime throughout the day. With tropical house’s easy listening paired with the genre’s infectious melodies, it’s no wonder the genre rose to prominence rapidly.
Artists leading the genre include Kygo, ThomasJack, SamFeldt, and FelixJaehn. While the style was popularized in the electronic music scene, it has also found its way into the world of pop music by way of artists like Justin Bieber.
Let’s take it back to the roots of the genre with Thomas Jack and Kygo.
Thomas Jack – Thomas Jack Presents Vol. 1
Thomas Jack coined the term Tropical House and made his mark on the scene early on. His biggest claim to fame was his widely popular tropical house mixes titled Thomas Jack Presents. The mixes were strictly tropical house tunes by him and his fellow friends. They gained popularity quickly and made for easy listening when you were at the gym, studying, or driving, helping expand the genre quickly in its early days.
Marvin Gaye – Sexual Healing (Kygo Remix)
Kygo began his career with a string of tropical house remixes of popular songs. The remixes were done impeccably and made a huge impact in the dance music world. Listening to this stellar remix of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing,” you can hear all the criteria of a tropical house track. All in all, it simply sounds like you’re on a beach in Hawaii watching the waves come and go.
Artists like Sam Feldt and Felix Jaehn have also left a lasting impression in recent years.
Sam Feldt – Show Me Love (feat. Kimberly Anne)
Over time it was clear that the tropical house wave could not be stopped and making moves in the genre was Dutch artist SamFeldt. Crafting incredible tropical house tunes that were released on Spinnin’ Records it seemed as if he instantly gained millions of plays. The release that caught our ear first was his remake of legendary track “Show Me Love”. Vocalist Kimberly Anne lent her beautiful voice to the tropical house reboot and left a lasting impression.
Felix Jaehn – Ain’t Nobody (feat. Jasmine Thompson)
German music producer FelixJaehn also made his mark on the scene and climbed up the charts with his hit song “Ain’t Nobody”. The song samples lyrics from Chaka Khan’s original track and features vocalist Jasmine Thompson on the tune. “Ain’t Nobody” has heavy tropical house tones that can be heard through the marimba instrument throughout. It’s incredibly catchy and will have you bobbing from side to side seconds after pressing play.
If you’re loving those tropical house vibes and want to explore more from the genre, check out these podcasts to explore more of the genre!
Sam Feldt’s Heartfeldt Radio
Sam Feldt’s Heartfeldt Radio is a weekly radio show that he produces to show off the latest sounds of the genre. Each episode has new tracks from him and other tropical house artists to explore and tune into. It’s definitely one of my favorites!
Bakermat’s The Circus
Bakermat is another prominent artist in the tropical house scene and is highlighted by his incorporation of live instruments in his performances. His show dubbed The Circus is features a wide assortment of dance tracks with varying genres, but you can surely find a lot of tropical house tracks in there as well!
Klingande’s Playground Show
Klingande is a French tropical house producer. His tracks usually incorporate tropical house sounds along with saxophone and piano instruments as well. He hosts his Playground Show which features his latest music as well as other guest DJs who host the mix as well. It’s a great listening experience from start to finish!
Additionally, you can always tune in to DI.FM’s Chill & Tropical House Radio Station to change things up and further expand your knowledge of the genre!
Tropical House can be enjoyed in any setting and is something anyone can easily get into.
Tropical House shows no signs of slowing down. Its popularity is at an all-time high, and for good reason. The genre is catchy, easy to listen to, and is just feel good dance music that is appropriate for many different settings. Next time you’re feeling down pop on a tropical house track and I am positive that mood will change!
Let us know what genres YOU would like to see in the future in the comments and stay tuned for next month’s edition of What We Like!
Check out past editions of What We Like below:
Hardcore | Future Bass | Nu-Disco | Real Progressive House | Tech Trance | Video Game Music | Electro Swing | Dubstep | Uplifting Trance | ChillHop | Vocal Trance | EuroDance
Northern California music enthusiast who listens to everything from Dubstep to House to Future Bass. Always up to be introduced to new music, artists, and people. Passionate about everything dance music related and pizza.
Subgenre of house music
Tropical house, also known as trop house, is a style of contemporary pop music, and a derivation of tropical music, with elements of dancehall and Balearic house. Artists of the genre are often featured at various summer festivals such as Tomorrowland. The genre was popularized by artists including Thomas Jack, Kygo, Matoma, Lost Frequencies, Seeb and Gryffin.
The term "Tropical House" began as a joke by Australian producer Thomas Jack, but has since gone on to gain popularity among listeners. The term "trouse" should not be confused with tropical house, as "trouse" is a genre that instead combines the feeling of trance and the beats of progressive house, using electro synths.
In the mid and late 2000s, Bob Sinclar and Yves Larock created international hits which had many characteristics of tropical house, drawing inspiration from 1980's Hi-NRG music and in contrast with other sub-types of Electronic ("EDM") music of the time. In 2012, Unicorn Kid had created tropical rave, a faster form of the genre which would become known as tropical house. However, it was not until 2013 with Klangkarussell's "Sun Don't Shine" and the emergence of producers such as Kygo and Robin Schulz that tropical house became a dance music trend. During 2014 and 2015, producers such as Lost Frequencies, Felix Jaehn, Alex Adair, Sam Feldt, Bakermat, Klingande and Faul & Wad Ad would join them with big tropical house hits. During the mid 2010s, certain tropical house producers would team up with artists such as Justin Bieber and Little Mix. This helped the genre achieve massive commercial success and gave rise to the playlist term of 'tropical pop'.
Tropical house is a derivation of deep house, and a subgenre of house music. Thus, it possesses typical house music characteristics, including synthesizer instrumentation, and a 4/4kick drum pattern. Tropical house differentiates itself from deep house, which can often have a very dark sound, whereas tropical house can be described as having a more uplifting and relaxing sound. The tempo of tropical house songs is a little slower than deep house (100-115 bpm). Tropical house does not use the pumping compression effect of "big room" electro house. It usually includes tropical instruments such as steel drums, marimba, guitar, saxophone or even pan flute, and can sometimes use dembow rhythm patterns often attributed to genres such as dancehall and reggaeton.
- ^ abcdShah, Neil. "A Beginner's Guide to Tropical House, the Breakout Music Genre of 2015". WSJ. Retrieved 2016-05-07.
- ^ abGuarino, Nick (19 May 2014). "World Premiere: Thomas Jack Presents Tropical House Vol. 3 Bakermat Guest Mix + Exclusive Interview". Thissongissick. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- ^"Kygo – Bringing Tropical House to Center Stage". EDM Exclusives. 3 December 2014. Archived from the original on 4 January 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- ^ ab"Rihanna Was Making 'Tropical House' Before Justin Bieber — It's Called Dancehall". 27 January 2016.
- ^Benrubi, William (3 September 2014). "Interview: Melodic House DJ/Producer Bakermat Talks Jazz, Soul, & What He's Got Planned on the Horizon". Casulin. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- ^Orlov, Piotr (26 May 2016). "Kygo on Birth of Tropical House, Billy Joel Fandom".
- ^"The Future Is Trouse". Miami Music Week. 27 February 2013. Archived from the original on 1 January 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- ^ ab"What the hell is tropical house?".
- ^"How Justin Bieber, OMI and More Helped Tropical House Heat Up in 2015". Billboard.
- ^"Tropical Pop". www.universalproductionmusic.com.
- ^"Tropical House Is Hot Now, But Will It Last?".
Genre tropical house music
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