The beginner’s guide to underground electronic music

The underground music scene comes with a lot of connotations, and it is an intriguing place for those who don’t understand it.  Underground electronic music emerged during the late 80s and early 90s, and it can technically span several genres at once.

Whether you’re looking at hiring a band or DJ for an occasion (tip – book a winter event to save money if so!), or you want to try your hand at spinning some tracks yourself, here is an easy beginner’s guide to underground electronic music.


As the Two Rhodes track famously dictates: “Gotta have house music, all night long”. House is one of the original dance music genres, originating from Chicago in the 1980s, and it seems to make even the most reluctant dancers take to the dancefloor and lose themselves in the music.

Thanks to its recognisable kick drum beat also known as the ‘four on the floor’, house has a BPM of 128 and can be distinguished by popular artists such as Sash in the heart of the 90s, or Swedish House Mafia in more recent years. And of course, the White Isle (aka Ibiza) is a home to house if there ever was one.


Trance’s claim to fame came out of Germany in the 90s. Originating in the underground scene, trance music came to light on much bigger dancefloors thanks to DJs such as Judge Jules and Armin Van Buuren during the later years of the 90s and early 00s.

Although it takes the same ‘four on the floor’ beat as house (and many other genres), it’s usually a lot speedier, with less emphasis on the percussion. As the name suggests, clubbers can easily get lost in trance music, with its repetitive style and haunting tones.


Born in Detroit during the 1980s, techno is often mistakenly related to all underground electronic music, but that’s not actually the case.

Identifiable through atonal samples and other-worldly atmospheres, techno usually sports a BPM of 120-150 and is loved by DJs such as Carl Cox. Techno sounds tend to have a wider range than other electronic music and can take the dancer from one world to another in the space of minutes.
Prepare to be worn out at a techno rave – it’ll have you dancing from dusk till dawn on many an occasion.

Drum and Bass

Drum & Bass and jungle are both British born and bred, and a speedy drumbeat and extremely deep, enticing bass distinguishes this genre from others. Names including Goldie, Fabio & Grooverider and Andy C have been pioneers in taking it from unknown raves to some of the hugest events across the globe, although it remains very grounded in its underground roots. Drum & Bass can also be categorised into liquid D&B, a smoother, trancier style as the name would suggest.

As well as the traditional dance music connotations, electronic does also encompass other sounds such as trap, dubstep, and future bass. Electronic music is a whole world of its own.

Featured Images:

Yvette de Wit, Antoine Julien, Jan Střecha on Unsplash

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