How Trance Music and House Music Helped Create EDM Today

tiesto - Why Trance Will Never Die


You have heard of deep house, But do you know where electronic dance music started?

Before deep house music became popular, There was another genre of electronic music that helped pave the way for every other popular EDM genre as we know of today.

House music, Along with Trance music, Are two of the main genres of electronic dance music responsible for connecting the early 1980s Nu disco dance movement to the modern day EDM we know of today.

1980s Underground House Music In Chicago

In the early late 1980’s house music began to gain traction in the United States in places like Chicago. House music, an underground genre in the United States, was first mainstream in Europe, even though it had originally come from the U.S. and moved to the UK and continental Europe.



Acid house and rave techno began to gain attention in the late 1980s. This led the way for a more uniformed 4×4 beat pattern usually around 120-128 bpm. The new “drum marching” dance beat was born, But it was still very underground.

1990s Hip Hop, Rap, & Pop Music, Whats Trance?

Being 25 now, I grew up as a child listening to music and songs of the 1990’s mostly.

Growing up in America in the 90’s the trending music was NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Matchbox Twenty, Outkast, Dr Dre, Eminem. 2 Pac, Biggie, and Jay Z. Most people listened to Hip hop, rap, pop, or rock music. No Trance music, It wasn’t popular in the U.S. No one knew what trance music was here.

1990s Euro Dance

Rozalla’s “Everybody’s Free” set a new standard of dance music.

Never before was a four to the floor kick drum beat pattern catchier.

Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)” is a Euro Dance/Acid house song by Zambian-born Zimbabwean singer Rozalla. It was released in September 1991 as the second single from her album Everybody’s Free.

The song was not released in the United States until 1992, Rozalla signed to Epic Records after a sought-after bidding war. “Everybody’s Free” performed extremely well on the Hot Dance Club Play chart, climbing to number one. On the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the track was a modest success, reaching #37. “Everybody’s Free” has been remixed various times. In 1996, a remix reached #30 on the UK Singles Chart.

In the early 1990s some early forms of house music became popular, But was called Euro Dance, Euro Dance peaked at Ibiza‘s summer festivals of 1994 in Spain and its intense popularity then spread around the world, which carried on into late 1997. Now things begin to get fun!

Early Trance Music Begins

Around 1997 more electronic dance music with a 4×4 drum pattern started to come around and it was fast. Much faster than previous dance music. Real fast. Usually around 140-160bpm (Beats per minute). This music was happy. It made you want to move! It was early Trance Music!

A good example of some of this early Trance music would be something like Dave Davis – Transfiguration.

Euro Dance Begins To Transform

Later came another Euro Dance hit. It was the 1999 dance hit “Blue” by Eiffel 65. Which gained huge popularity. But most millennials still primarily listened to Hip hop, rap, pop, or rock music.

In 2000, Rozalla re-recorded Everybody’s Free with Richard Vission (Humpty) and had a minor US dance hit. In 2002 came the Aquagen remix of the song, which reached number 22 in Germany, followed by a Delerium & Faze remix in 2005.

Hearing A New Sound For The First Time

Somewhere around 1998, One of my first electronic songs I heard was from Aphex Twin. Ill never forget my older brother was playing the music in his room and I walked in to the room to hear more of this new sound. Ill never forget the feeling that hit me, I loved this sound! What were these noises? I couldn’t get enough of it! What type of music is this? Where did this come from?

The music was Aphex Twin, But it wasn’t Trance music.

Aphex Twin is one of the main reasons I got interested into this new kind of sound, Called electronic music. Being only 10 I began to research more kinds of this new electronic sound and artists.

Next I found ATB and heard his 1999 hit 9pm. I felt like my body had just turned into gold.

I immediately ran to my computer and searched Kazaa for ATB. As there was no Youtube, Soundcloud, or anything like the social media websites we have today.

some atb albums

Some of my ATB albums

Years later when I was older I bought all his albums hard copy. It was from here on out I entered the world of electronic dance music, made with computers, software and synthesizers. It was early Trance music.

Early 2000 Trance, Creates Way For EDM 15 Years Later

Early Trance of the 90’s and 1999 going forward to 2010 was primarily what created the foundation for how EDM started today, The new tiny genre was never heard of before. This was a new kind of disco music to dance to, But way more sophisticated and faster pace than disco. It was Trance music.

This new Trance music encompassed a faster 140bpm 4×4 kick drum pattern, A niche that quickly began to be dominated by a handful of European EDM artists and DJs, Who created euphoric melodies with uplifting energy that the world had never heard before. They quickly became the new pioneers of the new electronic dance music, Produced all on a computer DAW.

Trance artists and DJs who began producing more of this sound unknowingly created a fan base and new breed of music fans over the next 10 years that would begin to entrap the world and millenials into finding, creating, listening and wanting more of this new electronic sound, What we call EDM today.

In Search of Sunrise Compilation (series)


The In Seach of Sunrise series was another huge changing point in my life, One that pretty much lead me up to where I am today. Discovering the In Search of Sunrise series from Tiesto changed my life and led me on a journey to explore more of this high energy happy dance music sound. Trance music.

In Search of Sunrise 1

November 22, 1999, Tiesto releases the first compilation album In Search of Sunrise that will continue to span another 16 years, Which is still continuing today with the latest In Search of Sunrise 12: Dubai released in 2014.

One of the best Trance/dance songs ever, And still is in my opinion is “Lange – I Believe

Click play and listen to this song for a minute, A few minutes. Actually, Listen to the the full song. Now keep in mind that the older Trance songs usually tended to be on the longer side, about 6-8 minutes. Which i personally always enjoyed.

The 4×4 kick drum pattern was so very new still in 1999. It had been around some years now but was just now becoming more popular. The vocals begin to take you in, The song beings to start moving more at 2 minutes, Then goes into the beautiful trancey break that begins to build on the signature happy trance sound and goes into the high energy drop at 3:30 and just takes you away and makes you feel like you can fly. This song fills me with energy. Every time i hear it. Even 15 years later. Trance will never die.

Another Trance classic is; Walhalla

 Gouryella Meaning “heaven”, Was a Duo Dutch trance act comprising of Ferry Corsten and DJ Tiesto.

Trance Music with Millennials

As children, We millennials witnessed the infamous 1999 software glitch that was a problem for both digital (computer-related) and non-digital documentation and data storage situations which resulted from the practice of abbreviating a four-digit year to two digits. Remember that?

In 2001 Armin Van Buuren jump started his DJ career by entering the DJ Magazine Top 100 DJs list in November ranking in at 27th place.

As trance seeds began to sprout up in the America around 2004, Trance music began to slowly become more widespread and popular in America. But before trance music became popular the closest thing to real dance music was Euro Disco, Which started coming around in 1999. And before that Disco.

Trance was technically the first real EDM genre for millennials. Building the path and creating the way for the rest of the EDM genres we know of today, Not only in America, but worldwide. As Europe began to keep leading the way in the electronic industry over the next couple years more and more musicians and producers started experimenting with other types of ways to produce electronic music digitally. Thus creating all the genres of electronic dance music we have today. Chill out, Deep House, Drum & Bass, Dubstep, Electro, Glitch, Minimal, Progressive House, Trap, Techno and Tech house.

In 2008 Millennials started ditching Hip hop, rap, pop, and rock music for a faster, new, unique sound something never heard of before. It was Trance.

Beatport Top Selling EDM Genres By Year

Beatport Top Selling EDM Genres By Year Chart

Millennial statistics (Source: Pew Research):

  • 50 percent of Millennials consider themselves politically unaffiliated.
  • 29 percent consider themselves religiously unaffiliated.
  • They have the highest average number of Facebook friends, with an average of 250 friends vs. Generations X’s 200.
  • 55 percent have posted a selfie or more to social media sites versus 20 percent of Generation X.
  • 8 percent of Millennials claim to have sexted, whereas 30 percent claim to have received sexts.
  • They send a median of 50 texts a day.
  • As of 2012, only 19 percent of Millennials said that, generally, others can be trusted.
  • There are about 76 million Millennials in the United States (based on research using the years 1978-2000).
  • Millennials are the last generation born in the 20th century.
  • Twenty percent have at least one immigrant parent.

EDM Today

Today EDM has grown so big that Trance isn’t the only electronic music genre anymore. Today’s electronic dance music has many genres like Chill out, Deep House, Drum & Bass, Dubstep, Electro, Glitch, Minimal, Progressive House, Trap, Techno and Tech house.

Modern Trance

Trance today is most commonly associated with the big brand names Tiesto & Armin Van Buuren, But for the most part they have moved away from the uplifting classic trance sound they had created in early 2000-2010 for a more aggressive sound today.

But this doesn’t mean all modern Trance music is aggressive. Check out Kyau & Albert for example, This German trance duo have been producing awesome trance music since 1997 on their record label Euphonic.

There are 76 million Millennials in the United States, Who grew up listening to other generations music. For the first time ever, Millennials have a genre they can call their own.

With that said, I have witnessed how Trance music and house music has brought EDM from being a needle in a haystack 15 years ago, To now being the biggest and fastest growing music genres in the world. 15 years later, I still listen to trance and house over any other music genre.

This is How Trance Music and House Music Helped Create EDM Today.

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