Deep house is a subgenre of house music that originated in the 1980s, initially fusing elements of Chicago house with 1980s jazz-funk and touches of soul music. Its origins are attributed to Larry Heard’s track “Mystery of Love”, released in 1985.
As explained on our short feature about House Music, in the late 80s the sound split into many sub-genres because the term “house music” became many things to many people. Much of the world associated house as either Euro-led trance, or Hard House – a purer electronic, and less melodic sound favoured by some mainstream radio stations and known DJs.
The origins of “Deep House” point back to Larry Heard aka Mr Fingers (originally a drummer in prog rock bands) who took the instruments of the time the Roland 808 Sequencer / Drum machine the Roland 303 Baseline synth and added 1-4-5- Chord progressions creating his first track “Mysteries of Love” in 1986′ It was these chord progressions that set his music apart creating more substance, feeling and depth to the music he gave the electronic sound warmth. He created the sounds that the heads call deep house.
Deep House commonly appeared as a genre in the early 90s, describing a more melodic, stylish sound with influences from soul, jazz and African beats, with many of the earlier tracks being sampled chords and beats. The jazzy sound became more apparent due to the favoured use of electronic pianos such as the Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer and Hammond B3 organ. Examples of well known Deep House artists and producers include Kerri Chandler, Joe Claussell, Mateo & Matos, Roland Clark and Ron Trent. Some of the early record labels included Henry Street, Nervous Records, King Street, etc.
In more recent years Deep House tends to refer to tracks on the “spacier” side of Soulful House and tends to imply less vocals, deeper tones, heavy organ chords and hypnotic synth sounds.
EDIT: 2016 Since writing this article the Tag “Deep House” genre tag has been somewhat hijacked by a new generation searching for something new but its now more repetitive with cheesy pop vocals over a grimey square-wave moody baseline. Fair play for making your own music style each to their own but we are fuming that our genre name has been hijacked.