The Origin of UK Garage Music and Its Influence on Modern Day Music
Updated: Jan 14
The UK Garage music was a genre of electronic dance music that emerged from the British underground scene in the 1990s and had a huge impact on the global music scene.
The origins of this genre stem from Jamaican sound system culture where people would play records on two stereo systems positioned close together, so music fans could "dance to both rhythms." The sound system culture eventually spread to the UK where they began playing the same style of music with their unique twist and that is when garage music was born. The name “UK Garage” comes from the word “garage” which is a reference to this genre’s origins in nightclubs.
In London, this genre emerged around 1993 when DJs began making their edits of American records with a faster tempo. In 1995, there was a big change in UK Garage with the introduction of new technology that allowed for more creative production techniques. This is when it developed into a more pop-oriented sound with a slower tempo, which is nowadays referred to as “UK Funky”.
The UK Garage music scene is one of the most diverse and creative scenes in all of electronic dance music and is mainly associated with DJs like MJ Cole, DJ EZ, DJ Cameo, and DJ Zinc.
The genre is characterised by 2-step or 4/4 (or “four-on-the-floor”) drum pattern with deep, dark synths and rolling snares.
It has been called "the British answer to house," about its prominence at London's nightclubs in the 1990s and 2000s.
UK Garage music influenced many genres of modern-day electronic dance music such as electronica, house, dubstep, grime, hip-hop, and commercial pop. The majority of 2-step compositions are heavily shuffled, which gives them a swing feel. This means that a more natural-sounding drumbeat creates a hectic and anxious environment. Modern music production software allows the deployment of a shuffle effect with the touch of a button, so this swing beat is applied to the whole recording.
Eclectic DJs nowadays tend to mix different types of music, from UK Hardcore to R&B to Drum n Bass because they were influenced by their UKG roots.