In the early 2010s, a type of electro-house known as “big room” began to develop, particularly gaining popularity through electronic dance music-oriented events and festivals such as Tomorrowland. Big room songs straddle dutch house, often incorporating drops built around minimalist, percussion drops, regular beats, sub-bass layered kicks, simple melodies and synth-driven breakdowns. The layout of a big room track is very similar to the layout of a typical electro-house song; this is thought of as a subgenre of electro-house.
Big room has become controversial in the EDM scene, being criticized by some producers for becoming a stereotypical “EDM” sound lacking originality and creativity, and that the whole genre sounds homogenous. Mixmag described big room tracks as consisting of “titanic breakdowns and spotless, monotone production aesthetics (read: lowest common denominator ‘beats’).” In a Reddit AMA, Wolfgang Gartner described big room as a “joke”, and considered it, along with conglomerates such as SFX Entertainment, the oversaturation of events in North America, and “major label A&R’s shoving digestible cheap dance music down teenager’s throats [sic]” as the biggest problems affecting the EDM industry. Notable producers such as Axwell and Steve Angello of now-defunct Swedish House Mafia (who had been credited with their influence to progressive house) have emphasized the need for more creative and experimental EDM tracks overall.
In mid-2013, Swedish duo Daleri posted a mix on SoundCloud entitled “Epic mashleg”, consisting purely of drops from 15 “big room” songs on Beatport’s top electro and progressive house (keep in mind that Beatport’s criteria for a progressive house track aren’t that of the normal criteria for progressive house) tracks (including artists such as Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Hardwell, and W&W) played in succession.
The intent of the mashup was to serve as a commentary on the “big room” movement and the lack of differentiation between tracks; member Eric Kvarnström commented that “the scary thing is that there are new tracks like this every day. Every day, new tracks, all the same. It just keeps coming all the time.” The duo defended their use of big room characteristics in their own music (particularly their releases on the Armada Music imprint Trice, which primarily releases big room tracks), by emphasizing their complextro influences. In the midst of a feud between Deadmau5 and Afrojack over social media regarding originality in dance music (culminating with the Dutch producer (Afrojack) creating a style parody of Deadmau5’s music entitled “something_”), Deadmau5 posted a song on SoundCloud, “DROP DA BOMB”, satirizing the style of “commercial” house music and big room.
Now we can find different DJ’s mixing different styles with Big Room and creating a new concept of electronic music.