What is Chillstep?
Chillstep, also known as chill-out dubstep, is a subgenre of electronic dance music that focuses on the creation of mellow, downtempo beats designed to relax the listener. The genre has been around since at least 2009. However, it wasn’t until 2012 that the term chillstep became widely used to describe the style of music that had already been popular in EDM circles for years.
A brief history
Dubstep, a genre characterized by heavy bass and syncopated drum patterns, was created in England during the early 2000s. As its popularity grew across Europe and North America, various producers began creating dubstep variations that hewed closer to pop music aesthetics. Among these offshoots were British electro house and future garage. Further, these two genres began to incorporate more melodic basslines.
How does it differ from Dubstep?
To answer that question, we must look at what makes chillstep and dubstep different. As such, dubstep tracks usually have faster tempos than many other EDM genres with an emphasis on highly energetic sub-bass. This can be heard in songs like the classic “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” by Skrillex. These are perfect examples of classic dubstep which features dominant wobbles, large kicks and loud atmospheric sounds. While there’s nothing wrong with creating these types of dubstep tunes, many artists found they had more success when they slowed things down and focused more on melodic basslines; subverting the original purpose of dubstep to create a new style.
Artists who contribute to the genre
ODESZA, Seven Lions, Pretty Lights, Porter Robinson and Adventure Club are all leading artists within chillstep. Each artist has their own unique style which sets them apart from one another. ODESZA’s 2013 release titled “In Return” took home a Grammy for best dance/electronica album in 2014. Their hit single “Sun Models” remains at number 13 on Billboard Hot Dance/Electronic songs chart. The pair have been making music together since 2007 with releases like “My Friends Never Die” (2008) and “Summer’s Gone” (2009). After releasing an EP titled “Say My Name” in 2010, they were quickly noticed by legendary singer-songwriter Diplo who put out their first full length record on his label Mad Decent that same year.
Chillstep for the future
The World of Electronic Dance Music continues to grow as a profitable business, with many international DJs making millions off their performances. DJs continue to innovate and create new subgenres that appeal to large audiences and result in even greater profits for themselves. If you haven’t traveled out of state to hear some of these artists, we highly recommend that you do so!
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