Foundations of House is an academic project exploring the connections between Chicago house music and Christian iconography, and how these ideas intersect with the gay or LGBT community (especially in the early years of house music). This work is an attempt to understand the link between ideas of religion and spirituality, and reveal how these ideas manifest themselves in the music.

“House offered a sense of communion and community to those whose sexuality might have alienated them from organized religion.”
— Simon Reynolds

From 1984-85 onwards house music began to develop stylistically, continuing the heavy beats and drums of disco, it added in organs, pianos, and Black gospel vocals carrying messages of hope and salvation for the listeners. Songs began to quote lines of scripture, psalms, and prayers from Christianity and blended them with ideas of sexual freedom. Even the night clubs and venues in which house was played began to reflect these notions (clubs being named Salvation, Sanctuary, Heaven, Paradise Garage, The Saint, and even The Limelight’s venue was that of a de-consecrated catholic church). These religious motifs are most visible in Chicago/Deep house, and New York Garage/Jersey sound strands of house.

“Disco and house both mix the secular, the invocations of orgy and sexual abandon, with the spiritual, the wistful utopian yearning for a “better day” when “we will all be free”. The Black gay dancers were doubly repressed. All they had left was each other, delicious sin and blind hope for salvation.”
— Matthew Collin

FoH is made possible with the kind help and support of The Finzi Trust, and will travel around the UK and the USA over 2016 interviewing pioneers and important figures in the house music scene gathering their thoughts on the topic.