A Brief History of EDM

A Brief History of EDM

by: Allyson


With PRIDE and Black History Month behind us we have still been sitting and reflecting on our world and the social injustices that plague it.

Many of us are daydreaming about when we will return to the safe haven that is festivals and the edm scene but so many of us fail to remember we owe the scene to marginalized LGBTQA+ black men.

In 1977 the world was alive with disco and lavish dance parties but in a club deep in Chicago two young men were creating something special.

Frankie Knuckles and Larry Levan began mixing classic disco with elements of rock, R&B, and soul which they premiered at the infamous club the Warehouse.

The unique sound of their music brought people from all over the country to come get down to the music we now call House music.

As House music cassette mix tapes were being traded around the country the love for newfound House music continued to grow.

One of the most notable people to get their hands on House music was Derrick May of Detroit.

The soul of House music held a grip over May and had him and his friends driving to Chicago regularly to get his House music fix at both the Warehouse and Ron Hardy’s the Music Box .

May and his friends Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson became so inspired by what they were hearing in Chicago that they began their own movement in Detroit.

May, Atkins, and Saunderson who would eventually be known as the Belleville Three which would also branch off into May and Atkin’s group, Deep Space Soundworks.

The trio’s music began infiltrating the Detroit party system and even made its way back to Chicago.

Collaboration of electronic music was on the rise and gave way to the electronic music we love today.

In 1988 May opened The Music Institute in Detroit, the location of the institute allowed for people of all backgrounds to come and enjoy electronic music and is one of the many places we begin to see the integration of young white suburban adults and teens during this time.

Over the next few years electronic music would take over Europe and grab interest from white America.

The electronic music scene was already about love, acceptance, and understanding and welcomed those who fell under its spell regardless of race, sexuality, or religion.

While we are dreaming of returning to the world we love so much I urge everyone to reflect on how and why we have the electronic music community that we do.

We would not have our community without the LGBTQIA+ black men who pioneered this scene. They have done so much for us, we must stand up for them and stand against systemic racism and inequality.

Not just today, not just tomorrow, but always.

We must stand not just because of the community they created for us but because we are humans, we are all equal, and we are stronger together than we are divided.


About the author: Allyson

My name is Allyson and I'm a Boston based engineer by day and raver by night. 
When I'm not chasing sets I spend my time creating art, camping, spoiling my cat, protecting the environment, fighting the patriarchy, and patiently waiting for a Pretty Lights comeback.
Let's trade kandi!


Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing