There is no denying the importance and influence of electronic dance music in the creation of club culture in Chicago. It has been said that without DJ’s, house parties would cease to exist. Many DJs began their careers in clubs and ended up going their separate ways years later. Chicago though has seen its fair share of DJ’s go their separate ways, yet others have remained and created a legacy that continues today. While this still could be considered a new era for electronic dance music in Chicago, there are still many of the same DJs who continue to set the pace and continue to make history.
The beginnings of electronic dance music in Chicago were highlighted by two DJs that changed the way everyone thought of DJ’s. Friends of DJ Pauly D and his partner Alba de La Rosa brought rave to the North Side of Chicago. They combined the best of what electronic dance music was known at that time with a more “mainstream” approach by offering some more “high touch” dance music. They began playing at venues such as the Metro until they gained popularity, which led to them being signed by Def Jam. This gave them a little more exposure and allowed them to gain a little more fans.
When electronic dance music in Chicago began to move from clubs to radio stations, the style was immediately changed. Two DJs from the Hot Club in Chicago, John Covington and Alex Goad, began to air their shows on WLS, a community station. It was their first time working with a major record label. The success of their programming led to other DJs starting to offer similar programming.
The sound that electronic dance music in Chicago began to offer soon became recognizable by people outside of the music world. People began to compare it to hip hop and other popular forms of electronic music, which then created a sub-genre known as “EDM”. Eventually, people identified electronic dance music with the “new wave”, which had completely taken over popular music at the time.
Today, electronic dance music is still offered through independent artists and DJ’s in the Midwest. Most popular music in the electronic music industry is offered by DJs who work independently. However, because of the growing popularity of DJ’s, many labels have begun signing these up-and-coming stars to develop their careers. Labels like Cashmere Records, Diplo Records, and XL Recordings have made the electronic dance music industry in Chicago and the surrounding area even more popular.
DJs have also begun to incorporate certain sounds from DJ beats out of Chicago to their sets. This has increased the popularity of electronic dance music in Chicago and the surrounding area. This new sound brings a unique angle to the electronic dance music genre. It gives the DJ a chance to add some flavor to the songs. In turn, the Chicago music scene has continually grown.
There are numerous clubs in Chicago that specialize in electronic music. These clubs offer not only party type electronic music but also private intimate performances by local DJs. Many of these DJs work out of their own homes, making electronic music as part of their jobs. DJs that run their own parties take pride in offering high quality parties and the latest electronic trends. These DJs will frequently travel around the city and show off various venues that feature electronic dance music. Their shows will often include guest stars from local hip hop, jazz, techno, blues, and alternative music scenes.
Even though Chicago is known for having a huge electronic dance music scene, it is very different than most cities. The party atmosphere of most Chicago nightclubs is very laid back and is generally not conducive to dancing to loud electronic music. Most clubs offer dance floors that are only large enough to hold a few people. Most DJs who are performing at a club will mix their songs with electronic beats from a CD or a soundboard until the crowd becomes familiar with what is coming up on the dance floor.