Chillstep is a subgenre of Dubstep dance music. It’s arguably more laid-back and less frenetic than its parent genre. The style blends the steady rhythms of Deep House, the strong basslines of Dub and Dubstep, and the laid-back elements of ambient music. Chillstep songs regularly appear in DJ sets that include a wide range of electronic music. Amongst them, we can also find EDM, Drum and Bass, UK Garage, Melodic Dubstep, and Future Garage. It occasionally works in dance clubs as a downtempo “palette cleanser”. This is to help people relax after a frantic dubstep or Drum and Bass tune.
Some people claim that Chillstep isn’t even an official genre, but rather a term for music that is essentially a slower version of Dubstep. The style isn’t strictly dancing music, despite its Dubstep electronic roots. However, it has a role in its own right, attracting individuals who enjoy its peaceful, even meditative impact. It’s worth noting that it differs from typical ambient music in embellishments and melodic direction. Chillstep also stands out with its use of a wobbling synth bass, known as “the Wub,” and sub-bass. The latter is a very low-frequency bass that provides depth to the whole mix.
History and sound of Chillstep
Chillstep peaked in the early 2010s and became popular among Dubstep lovers because of musicians like Seven Lions, Skrux, Rusko, Rameses B, and MitiS. Popular Dubstep tracks would eventually have their own Chillstep remixes.
Additionally, this style captured the attention of Hip-Hop musicians, who responded by releasing Chillstep remixes of popular songs. ChilledCow and others pioneered a genre known as Lo-fi Hip-Hop or Chillhop. This combines the laid-back mood of Chillstep with Hip-Hop music. It results in a simple, repetitive sound that works well as background music. The genre appears to have been established mostly by musicians from Eastern Europe (Hungary, Russia, Poland) and English-speaking artists (England, USA). Similar remixes of electronic music songs have also been produced. Amongst websites dedicated to this genre, Chill Music Radio and Natious Records stand out.