What is deep house music?


Deep house is classified as a sub-genre of house music that began way back in the 1980’s taking what was the Chicago house sound and adding touches of jazz-funk and soul music to it. The legendary Larry Heard is attributed with the first deep house track with his “Mystery of Love” release in 1984.


Deep house was pioneered in Chicago, with Marshall Jefferson also being an early star of the genre. Wikipedia has a short and inadequate list of deep house labels within it’s page which includes Naked Music, Om Records, Peacefrog and others - but I’m not sure where you would begin with seminal deep house labels - personally I’d pick Paper Recordings, Large, Solemusic, Panhandle, Nuphonic, Toko Records, Groove On, Slip n Slide and so many more!


What bpm is deep house music?


Typically deep house ranges from 110 to 125 bpm, but that line has been blurred so much since the development of digital mixers that I’m not sure that holds true today - I myself will often play a deep house set up part 125 bpm if you’re looking for a bit more of a club feel from the music.


What defines deep house music?


Beyond the bpm deep house music is heavily baseline driven with spacious use of percussive elements, rhodes, soft keyboard sounds (pads) and chord structures. Although it has to be said, the sound varies broadly with spoken vocal, soulful lyrics, beautiful keys. Ultimately the deep house sound is a feeling, not quite main room, not quite terrace moods, but somewhere in between where the music takes hold of you and makes you want to move.


Where is deep house most popular?


Deep house has a global appeal but South Africa has developed as the home of deep house in recent years with artists such as Jullian Gomes symbolising the new era of deep house there. People such as Lars Behrenroth, Andy Compton, Atjazz and more regularly tour there to huge audiences and my own social media stats show massive online appeal there. Other hot countries for deep house are the USA, India and Europe.


Who are the best deep house producers?


Everyone has their own favourites - a Google Trends search ill show you the Godfathers of House SA are huge! Although I’ve never actually listened to them at the time of writing! For me Miguel Migs, Mark Farina, Julius Papp, Atjazz, Larry Heard, Maya Jane Coles and Masters at Work are the biggest names. That said, one of the great things about the deep house genre is that is continually has new and exciting names to enjoy - many of which you can hear first on my own weekly podcasts and deep house mixes.


Who are the best deep house labels?