Press play. What do you hear? Some simply call it all “house.” Others call it “tropical house” or “melodic house.” Some even call it “summer house.”
No matter what you want to label it, one fact is for certain: as of late, a new wave of house music has swept over the blogosphere, consistently dominated Hype Machine charts, attracted the attention of major labels, and gradually infiltrated the club and festival circuit.
Although it’s quite apparent that a fresh sound has rapidly caught on with those who once considered themselves “EDM” fans, it’s less clear as to where this genre originated, how exactly it’s characterized, and if/how it will expand in the coming years. For these questions we turn to a panel of experts, a refined selection of artists who are not only extremely knowledgeable on this topic, but who also pioneered the creation of melodic/tropical house themselves.
After reading about the genre from the artist perspective, we encourage our readers to chime in as well–what are your thoughts on the “tropical house” craze?
“My musical tastes are ever-changing. Last year, I really found my footing in acoustic styles, drawing inspiration from European artists like Robin Shulz and Bakermat. Kygo is also a close friend and we often exchange music and share our latest inspiration.”
“It’s interesting that all the Tropical House producers are from places that are cold as fuck. You think it’d be some dude from Jamaica making all this stuff, but instead it’s a bunch of nordic and northern Europeans. Thomas Jack might be the only exception, though it still gets cold from where he’s from in southern Australia–it’s no Rio de Janeiro. I think this musical movement draws more from a longing to be somewhere warmer and more exotic rather than inspiration being drawn from actually living or being in the tropics like reggae did. That’s why I think the music inflicts so much feeling. When you’re making music from such a cold, dark place, you don’t finish the song until it really makes you warm, happy, and tingly inside. You don’t finish until you nailed the right melody or instrument to make you really feel like you’re on a beach in Thailand.
That being said, I think people are too quick to categorize, name and create new genres. We got a marimba for our live show and started incorporating it into our songs along with steel drums, so now that makes our music Tropical House? We’re all guilty of labeling, us included. We like to poke fun or mock all the genre labeling but really there’s nothing wrong with it because it’s just an attempt to describe something in words that can only be described by listening. So Tropical House or not, it’s just good music!”
“I think this music exploded in Europe and now in US and the rest of the world because people wanted to come back to real music, with melody, acoustic instruments, and vocals. After listening to so much hard sounds in EDM, people want music to chill, share happiness and peace together. That’s why all these artists and this music break through blogs, YouTube channels etc. I think this is following a global tendency over the world, back to the roots, natural things, and looking for more peace and love.”
“I think that after the last four years of EDM’s hegemony, people’s ears are simply tired! This is what happened to me and is the reason why I went back doing something more melodic and passionate; I felt that I needed to get back to real emotions because music is made of this. That’s why I call my kind of music EMOTIONAL, and I think that the secret is only that people are feeling the same emotions that led me to make these tracks. It’s something that starts from love and not from business, and I think that makes the difference.”
“I don’t really know if it’s good that deep/melodic/tropical/whatever house is blowing up. Every time something becomes really popular, certain people come around and try to make the most profit out of it, and that results in a huge loss of quality most of the time. When this deep house hype started, most of the popular tracks were bootlegs. It was a gray zone, and I believe this made the whole thing so interesting. The tracks got millions of views and were available as free downloads–it wasn’t about making money; it was just about good music and reaching as many people as possible with it. SoundCloud played a very important role here because it made it possible for music creators to release music on their own and still reach millions of people. Ever since SoundCloud gave in to the major labels’ pressure, it’s changing. It’s about money and power/control now, and some people try to get every last penny out of this hype. I’m happy that there are still some influential people that have as their main goal to keep the quality as high as possible and don’t care about money that much, people like the Future Classic crew, TheSoundYouNeed, Soulection and more… not to forget countless producers around the globe that bless us with some great music.”
“When I first started to release tracks that are now seen as “tropical house,” there was no such term or genre yet. I was, and still am, making and mixing the music that I enjoy listening to myself without thinking about it having to fit into a specific genre. Before, I just called it “house music” and it is cool to now have a name (or actually, a couple of names) for the style of music I make. For me “melodic deep house” or “tropical house” is all about emotion: really feeling the music and the emotions it transmits, instead of just looking for the biggest drop or kick drum. Looking at the general direction house is going in, I would say melodies, percussion and emotion are actually becoming more and more popular and might eventually overtake the big room “EDM” sound that you are hearing at all the big festivals lately. A good example to illustrate is Kygo playing the Main Stage of TomorrowWorld, in a lineup of only “EDM” artists, which is a pretty awesome thing if you ask me.”
“The term “melodic house” really explains itself. It’s house beats with melodies. I love it because compared to most other genres, it’s not so much about “tracks,” but rather proper “songs,” if that makes sense. It’s really emotional and musically more interesting. What’s cool is that everyone loves listening to it when chilling, traveling, studying, etc., but it still perfectly works at clubs. Since it also works so well in the mainstream, being played on the radio and everything, but without being cheap or cheesy, I think it’ll get a lot bigger all over the world.”
“My inspiration comes from deep house along with a variety of other genres. To me, deep/melodic House is a type of music that relies heavily on acoustic and instrumental influences with the combination of energetic, rhythmic, electronic elements. All together, they evoke an uplifting sound that can similarly alter one’s mood. People have mentioned that my music has helped them zone out of their daily worries and make them feel happy and relaxed, which is a very accomplished feeling. It’s so exciting to see this kind of music blowing up right now. It’s given so many artists, such as myself, the possibility to open peoples minds to new and different sounds.”
“I think it’s fantastic that this genre is getting recognition! More and more people seem to appreciate music that’s not only about how big the drop is, but the beauty of melodies and feelings the song gives you. I don’t think I’m the only one to say that the current “mainstream” electronic music scene is starting to sound very repetitive and predictable. For a long time, big room has ruled the many main stages over the world. In my opinion, people are ready for something to replace that. Seeing as the genre of tropical/melodic house has been on the rise for the past year or so, I think it’s a good candidate to take over the main stages. I’m sensing a greater appreciation for good melodies and chill beats, and that’s where we’re heading.”