Deep House Music

Deep House music has its origins in the 1980s. Since then, the genre has seen significant evolution from its historical origins. Between 2000 and 2010, the genre grew in popularity. However, by mid-2010s, there was confusion as to which music can be labeled Deep House and how to differentiate this music from other kinds of House music. So how exactly can we define Deep House music?

Deep House music is a subgenre of House music. House music encapsulates various types of bassline-driven music. Deep House was born by fusing elements of Chicago house with 1980s jazz-funk and hints of soul music.

The typical instruments used in Deep House music are synthesizers (Juno), keyboard, drum machine (Roland TR-909), sequencer, sampler, and turntables. It is known for its slower tempos of between 110 to 124 BPM compared to 125 to 128 BPM synonymous with other House music. It has muted (lower octave) basslines, deliberate use of percussion elements, soft keyboard sounds (pads), complex chord structures, and ambient mixes. It may or may not have vocals, but they are soulful, predominantly female vocals. The complex chord structures might sound dissonant but undoubtedly pleasant.

Chicago producers largely pioneered deep House. If you want to experience classical Deep House, pay attention to Marshall Jefferson’s On the House and Larry Heard’s (Mr. Fingers) Mystery of Love and Can You Feel It?. The latter has become a Deep House blueprint for its use of Roland Juno-60 synthesizer to create a deep bassline and a Roland TR-909 drum machine to create the beats.

To save you from all the jargon, Deep House music is just ‘deeper,’ literally. Think of how people differentiate between electro and electronic music. Electro music has more of a dance feel to it, while electronic music is more of background feel on which to lay vocals or chill instrumentals.

Similarly, while most House music is danceable, Deep House is a sort of ambient music. Most House songs will still use bass, but they'll only use them as a background sound to give more place to the more "electro" sound of their keyboard. Deep House also uses the electro sounds, but their bass is way higher in volume than regular House sounds, so it appears to be a "deeper" sound because it's the main beat of the song, not just a background.

The definition and perception of Deep House is quite personal as people internalize music differently. However, there are a few words that can be used to describe this genre to set it apart from other sub-genres in house music. Deep House is jazzy, minimal, subtle, flowy, chill, sensual, and maybe a little somber.

Since it borrows heavily from African American music (jazz, soul, and gospel), expect it to have a slower, liquid, mature groove and expect it to be hypnotic. It never really reaches a crescendo; it hovers on a comfortable, relaxing pulse. Deep House is the kind of music that you listen to at 4 AM after a night out of dancing to the cloy sounds of other House music genres.