WHAT IS HARDSTYLE MUSIC?
Hardstyle is an Hard Dance Music (HDM) genre within the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) scene with a tempo of 140-150 BPM. It has inﬂuences of both hardcore and house music and the beats per minute lie exactly between these two. Several subgenres have developed over the years, such as raw style. The hard sound of the ﬁrst years are now often referred to as 'early' hardstyle.
Hardstyle is an accessible genre because of all the subgenres. Freestyle, euphoric, uptempo or extra raw? There is one for everybody. Most of the time the artists choose to focus on one speciﬁc style, but they also often experiment. Leading artists of the euphoric style are for instance Headhunterz, Brennan Heart, Noisecontrollers and Wildstylez. Popular freestyle artists are Paul Elstak, Pat-B, Darkraver and Vince. Leading raw and extra raw artists are Gunz For Hire, Deetox, Radical Redemption, and Warface.
THE ORIGIN OF HARDSTYLE
In the year 2000 the hardcore genre had reached his peak. This was the call for new sounds and it was loud and clear. On the 3rd of February 2001, the very ﬁrst edition of Qlimax took place in a sports center in Amsterdam. Later that month, the very ﬁrst edition of Qlubtempo was held in the “Hemkade“ in Zaandam. It was the beginning of a new, fresh and hard sound that would grow to become one of the most important genres in the EDM industry, hardstyle. The ﬁrst editions of Qlubtempo were a mix between German, Italian and UK hard house records. A little rough at ﬁrst, but it didn’t last very long until it developed into a complete new sound. In December of 2001, Q-dance sold out the 3rd edition of Qlimax in the Heineken Music Hall, being their ﬁrst major hardstyle event. After several successful editions of Qlubtempo and Qlimax, the word hardstyle was born out of the terms Hard-trance and old-Style (oldschool hardcore). Q-dance registered the word 'hardstyle' as their brand on the 4th of July 2002.
INTERVIEW WITH PAVO & THE PROPHET
On Tuesday, 21 oktober 2014, DJ MAG NL published a interview with Dj Pavo and Dj The Prophet about the origin of hardstyle. It’s originally been written in Dutch but we translated into English.
Around the year 2000 a new music movement saw the light: Hardstyle. Although hardstyle can not be ignored now, back then there was a lot pioneered to shape the new sound. The basis of everything included The Prophet, DJ Pavo and party organizer Q-dance. This is their story about the origin of hardstyle.
Pavo: ,, I've done pioneerswork "
Hardstyle is now an indispensable part of the edm industry, with worldwide sold-out events and DJs high in the DJ Mag Top 100, some 15 years ago, however, nobody could have foreseen this. It is 1999, the heydays of the hardcore are over and both the DJs and the audience are searching. We return to playing old school house, the ﬁrst real house records from the early 90s. The later Q-dance emerges as the party organizer in this area and organizes Houseqlassics parties, on which this sound from the past is central. Here the seed is laid for hardstyle.
WHAT WAS NOT ALLOWED
"I played at Houseqlassics and actually did something that was not allowed", says Dov J. Elkabas, better known as The Prophet. "I just played new records, but they sounded very old. They were records from the Italian label Media Records, and I played at least one and a half hour of those new records. Everyone went completely crazy. Those records were actually the forerunners of hardstyle. "
Houseqlassics is getting bigger and bigger this way, and that is what makes organizer Q-dance think, says general manager Rogier Werver. "Then we went on to look further, and we started organizing evenings where various harder styles went into the mix, such as that Italian house, but also German hard trance, techno and UK hardhouse. In 2001 we received a record from Technoboy from Italy, Ravers' Rules. That was exactly the new sound we were looking for. We were looking for who he was and whether he wanted to join us. But he was not that enthusiastic. He said that he had made that record for fun, and that he actually played italodisco. Anyway, he came, and his eyes rolled out of his greenhouses when he stood in the Hemkade with us and everyone went crazy. "
With this, Technoboy maybe unintentionally stood at the basis of what will later become hardstyle, just like some DJs from the hardcore, who will also play at the parties of Q-dance, such as Pavo, Dana and Luna. "I’ve done pioneerswork", says Pavo, alias Paul van der Vooren. "I was very concerned with gabber in 1999, but I was craving something that had nothing to do with bald heads. At Multigroove I already played techno, hardhouse and hardtrance, and ﬁnally I got to know the guys from Q-dance. They wanted me to do the same for them, but bigger. I have done that."
However, dissatisfaction also arises at The Prophet, who is saddened that Dana, Pavo, Technoboy and Luna are always booked at the parties of Q-dance, but he is not. He continues: "It was time to make myself angry, and I have withdrawn myself and started producing. Then I started my own label, so they could no longer get around me. In 2001 I founded Scantraxx Recordz. In 2003 we released DJ Duro with Just Begun. DJ Duro is now known as half of Showtek. With this track he laid the foundation for the current hardstyle kick. He had done an experiment on the B side of the plate. He used different overdriven hardcorekicks that succeeded each other in different pitches. After that there have been several producers who also used hardcore kicks as a bass line and changed them in pitch to the melody. That was the turning point. "
In the meantime, DJs are pampered by Q-dance. Pavo: "They made me and Dana completely crazy. They said, "How much do you want to earn each year? € 100,000? € 200,000 then? Or € 300,000? We are going to arrange it for you. "And in the end we did a good job." The X-Qlusive parties in the Heineken Music Hall are celebrated, with one DJ in the center. It is Dana who kicks off. Pavo: 'She got the very first one, then Luna and then I came. But I should have got the first one. Q-dance was the first to come to me, but I was not such a good businessman, and when I hesitated, they went to Dana. She said yes. When I saw what success it was, I wanted to, but because I had hesitated at first, they did Luna first and after that, it was my turn."
© DJ MAG NL 2014
Original Text: Boris van Zonneveld
English translation: Tijmen Buter
Link to original interview (DUTCH); https://djmag.nl/comin/10212014-1825/de-oorsprong-van-hardstyle