Electronic dance music is the fountainhead of countless sub-genres, including techno, house, drum and bass, trap, trance, and many more. Big room house has undeniably become one of the prevailing subsets of the genre due to its widespread magnetism and minimalistic yet appealing qualities. Call it what you will: progressive house, electro house, electro trance - it's big room house.
Although the genre has been around for a little while now and picked up by some of the biggest names in the industry such as Nicky Romero, Sander Van Doorn, Hardwell, and many others alike, a solid definition of what a big room house track is really varies depending on your perspective of the EDM community. Recently, "hipsters" of EDM spend most of their time disparaging big room house and hold the genre responsible for the common fallacy that: 1) Progressive/Electro house isn’t actual music, and 2) These producers cannot be considered serious musicians. On the other hand, the scene has experienced an outburst of popularity in recent years, as EDM has solidified itself as the music of this generation.
Big room house is generally 126-132 BPM, and is more often than not referred to as the most commercial type of EDM in today's music scene. Big room differs from most sub-genres of EDM as a result of its inability to deter from the tightly knit structure it adheres to. Big room is best defined as a hybrid of multiple sub-genres, comprised of lengthy trance-influenced build-ups, a powerful and driving electro-style drop, and is also known to include a 4/4 hard style kick which will forever remind you of Martin Garrix’s #1 selling track “Animals.” The genre displays minimal elements production-wise with an overkill of reverb and an underlying percussion that has undoubtedly been used over a thousand times already. However, the biggest thing with big room house is to remember that repetition is key.
Right around the time where dance music really took off stateside, notably towards the end of Swedish House Mafia, is where big room house entered the scene for better or for worse. In 2009, the legendary triumvirate released one of their biggest tracks “Leave The World Behind,” a track that I can guarantee you’ll hear at any major electronic music festival in the near future. With big room predominantly forced into the industry by SHM members Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Axwell, the three influential producers truly left a mark on the scene. We can thank trance-gone-house producers such as Ferry Corsten for dropping the popular track “Check It Out,” which was released back in 2011 and laid a concrete foundation for what we know today as big room as well. At this point in time, big room house has successfully infiltrated and conquered all major music festivals, main stages, arenas, and stadiums. Fast forward a few years to the present day, and we are now facing what some might call an "epidemic" within the EDM community. More plainly put, it seems that nearly every "big room" song put out by a major producer sounds iconically similar to the last. This past year at TomorrowLand, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike produced the TL 2014 anthem “Waves,” a track that exemplifies all the significant aspects of any big room house track to have ever been produced.
Big room house has for the most part negatively affected the EDM scene, as it has seduced the minds of many up-and-coming producers and even superstars of the industry. Probably one of the most prominent metamorphoses to take place in the history of EDM would be the king himself Tiësto. In an interview with DJ Mag, Tiësto explains how irrelevant he felt as the “trance guy” and wanted to be more connected with the current sound of the rising generation. Now, the former trance king can be seen headlining essentially any major music festival and incorporating much of what people consider to be big room house music into his live sets.
It would be fine if big room house was left to be its own subset of electronic dance music, but what makes the sub-genre so controversial is the difficulty people experience in labelling what tracks are big room house versus progressive, electro, or even trance. Obviously, there is a difference between them, and this reasoning alone can support the notion that big room house is, in fact, already dead. Big room is dead because with this genre, the ability for a producer to utilize their full potential is lost, and thus makes it near impossible to evolve past the point of where they currently stand. It is so easy to produce big room that the genre has become the figure of fun within the EDM community.