Club Music – How It All Began

Club music, often referred to as electronic dance music (EDM), is now widely played in nightclubs throughout the world, providing DJs with an opportunity to show off their skills and talent, and for the club patrons to ‘let their hair down’ and dance the night away.

It is believed that club music began as far back as the early 1970’s and has undergone many changes over the years to reach the style that is widely recognized and enjoyed today. Many different genres came under the EDM umbrella but it wasn’t until the 1980’s that it became a recognized genre of its own. What is played at any particular venue depends primarily upon the DJ and how well he (or more rarely she) mixes music to provide a sequence of tracks that keeps the patrons happy and entertained. As the name suggests the music’s main requirement is that it can be danced to.

Chicago, USA

There is some who believe that club music began in Europe but a more widely believed origin is that the dance club culture enjoyed today has its roots in Chicago and Detroit, USA. The Warehouse, a members-only gay club in Chicago for African-Americans only was where the famous DJ Frankie Knuckles began a practice that set the stage for what we know as EDM today. Knuckles began editing reel-to-reel tapes so that he could provide continuous music for those enjoying being out on the dance floor. Today a lot of what a DJ does is to compile mixes of music to keep the crowd ‘hopping’ and being skilled at mixing is what makes a DJ stand out from the rest of his peers.

DJ Equipment

It was the addition of drum machines and synthesizers that had a huge impact on club music, giving DJs even more tools to use to create their own unique style and sound. While compared to the state-of-the-art equipment available today turntables in the 1980’s were basic, DJs of that era did all that they could to utilize what they had to throw in their own signature sounds. Today all of those classic sounds can be accomplished by computer-controlled electronic equipment, providing DJs with an extensive range of choices to help them create their unique dance music mixes.


Club music in the early days was often referred to as ‘drug music’ which largely came about after an infamous week in the late 1980’s when a group of DJs got together in Ibiza and partied hard. One of the DJs, Alfredo, was playing a wide mix of tracks, and under the influence of the drug Ecstasy listeners found the music to be ‘revelatory’.

Though club music (EDM as it is widely referred to today) is a recognized genre of its own there are several genres that typically contribute to the unique sound. Hip hop, techno, house, dub reggae and even rock are all used by DJs to compile dance music mixes that each hope will be a hit with the crowd they are playing to.