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How your favourite genre got its name

Explaining the origins of house, techno, dubstep and more

  • Mixmag crew
  • 6 July 2016
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Gabber is the name for the nails techno that emerged out of Rotterdam in the early 90s. The word itself is Amsterdam slang for ‘friend’ or ‘buddy’ and the genre was coined when the Dutch capital’s DJ K.C. The Funkaholic described the Rotterdam scene as “just a bunch of gabbers having fun” in a magazine article. While it sounds lighthearted enough, the comment fed into the rivalry between the two cities and in response, Rotterdam’s De Euromasters crew engraved “It’s not a disgrace to be a Gabber!” in the run-out groove of their 1992 record ‘Amsterdam Waar Lech Dat Dan?’ Translated that is, of course, ‘Amsterdam, Where Is That?’ and a new tribe, calling themselves gabbers, was born.


In the early noughties, key producers like Wiley and Jon E Cash were making their own styles of what would later go on to be called grime (eskibeat and sublow respectively). And during its early stages it was also called 8bar.

But as a catch-all name? Well, long-serving London DJ and music journalist Martin Clark remembers that "as grime began to disrupt and break out of UKG, the purist UKG lot were like 'we're not playing that grimey garage.'" The word grime was also being used by journalists such as Clark (writing for Mixmag at the time), although it's documented that producers were wary of the name at first.

Funnily enough, Wiley named a 2004 single 'Wot Do U Call It?' which kind of sums up the germination of this one.


Simply, Goa Trance originated in Goa, India in the late 80s. As one might imagine, Goa acted as a home to the free-spirited due to its low cost of living, widespread interest in spirituality and ample availability of hashish and LSD. The vagabonds these factors attracted liked their music to be psychedelic, and they travelled round the region sharing their cassettes and hosting beach parties. As the sound began to spread beyond South-West India, its roots were recognized in the naming of the genre. Paul Oakenfold was one of the first to grab hold of the Goa Trance phenomenon in 1994 – so much so, that he named his 1994 Essential Mix the Goa Mix.

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