How your favourite genre got its name - - Mixmag

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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Much debate has raged over the origin of the descriptor ‘house’, but the most commonly accepted story is said to derive from the late, great Frankie Knuckles. Early on his career, Knuckles served a residency at Chicago’s then hotspot, The Warehouse. He would pick up most of the records he played there at the Importes Etc. store, which led to Importes’ Dick Guenther labeling his stock with ‘As heard at The Warehouse’ in a bid to shift more copies. Over time, fans of Knuckles began to lovingly abbreviate the catch-all term for his selections to just ‘house’ music.


Illbient was coined by DJ Olive to describe the industrial soundscape based hip hop being made by a group of multidisciplinary artists in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The term is a blend of the hip hop slang ‘ill’ and the genre of ambient. Made up of pioneers like DJ Spooky and Spectre, illbient has taken on many forms mainly encompassing hip hop-influenced samples and beat programming and dub soundscapes. Illbient is also notable for its conceptual live performances which came in the form of raves, warehouse parties and lounge/chill out rooms.

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