Tech house is a subgenre of house music that mixes elements of both styles that give it its name. Actually, the term originated as a shorthand record store name for a category of electronic dance music that combined musical elements of techno, such as “rugged basslines” and “steely beats,” with the harmonies and grooves of progressive house.


The Wiggle, Heart & Soul, the End, and the Drop were some of the most important events in the history of London’s tech house scene. The Wiggle, hosted by Terry Francis, Nathan Coles, and “Evil” Eddie Richards, coined the more contemporary name for the musical subgenre. Urban legend has it that Eddie Richards received a mixtape from Mr. C, who was the regular DJ at the Drop. “Tech” was printed on one side, while “House” was written on the other.

The record shop known as Swag Records, located in Croyden, London, and once owned by the late Liz Edwards, popularized the style. When it first opened its doors in 1993, it quickly became the epicenter of the growing genre. There was more to Swag Records than just a record store. The company’s own in-house label released the recordings and served as the forerunner to a large number of early house imprints. Several labels and radio stations contributed to the expansion of the UK house sound. These included Funknose, Surreal, London Housing Benefit, Pirate Radio, and Uhuru Beats.

Tech house dominated the UK music scene. Chicago had house music, Detroit had techno, and then London had its own distinctive sound that defined the dance floor. The purpose of this growing genre was to highlight the local DJing style. Ravers and clubgoers in the United Kingdom reacted favorably to the rougher edge of acid house music and jungle music. Tech house achieved the optimal balance between heavy and funky.

Musical and production elements of tech house

As the 1990s faded into the 2000s, progressive house music and minimal techno replaced tech house. However, the genre did not reach its peak until 2010. Then, labels such as Jamie Jones’ Hot Creations began to redefine and popularize it among the mainstream. Musicians such as Steve Lawler, Lee Foss, Miguel Campbell, Solomun, and Marco Carola created the new breed of tech house.

Since its inception, production skills have advanced significantly, and the introduction of streaming has enabled this style to reach a global audience. During the last decade, hundreds of DJs and producers that lean toward tech house have gained prominence. The genre has begun to replace harder-edged EDM forms as one of the most popular music genres.

As a mixing style, tech house frequently combines deep or minimal techno music, the soulful and jazzy end of house music, and often, dub elements. There is some overlap with progressive house. This is especially true since the turn of the 2000s, as progressive-house mixes got deeper and occasionally more minimal.

As a musical (rather than mixing) style, tech house follows the same fundamental framework as house music. However, elements of the house sound such as realistic jazz sounds and booming kick drums get replaced with elements from techno, such as shorter, deeper, darker, and often distorted kicks, faster hi-hats, noisier snares, and more synthetic or acid-sounding TB-303 synth melodies.