A Crash Course on the History of Hardstyle
What is Hardstyle?
Hardstyle is a genre within EDM recognized by the higher-than-average BPM (beats per minute) and bass. Other characteristics include a reverse bass, a distorted offbeat kick drum, and vocal samples. Typically hardstyle’s average beats per minute are around 150-160 BPM, whereas other genres such as dubstep are typically around 132-142 BPM and house music is around 115-130 BPM. Hardstyle is a mix of hard house, hard trance, hardcore, and hard techno.
Where did Hardstyle come from?
Hardstyle originated in the Netherlands and Belgium during the late 90s. It was also known as hard trance before officially being labelled as hardstyle. It was first produced at 140 BPM, but over time the tempo increased to what hardstyle fans listen to today. There is no clear answer to who created the first hardstyle song, however, artists such as Dana and the Prophet began trying to produce new music with the goal of making hard trance more danceable.
The first-ever hardstyle event was Qlubtempo. This event took place in Zaandam in the year 2000. Qlubtempo was the first event held by a Dutch event company called Q-dance, which later held various hardstyle events and festivals all across Europe, North + South America, Australia, and Asia. On July 4th, 2002, Q-dance trademarked the name “hardstyle” after seeing the success of their past events. A year after trademarking the term “hardstyle”, Q-dance produced the first Defcon.1. The artists that performed at these shows were mainly from the Netherlands or Italy.
Who were the most well-known Hardstyle DJs?
During the early 2000s, the most well-known hardstyle artists included The Prophet, Luna, Yoda Inc., and Daniele Mondello. The biggest Dutch record labels during the time were Fusion Records and Scantraxx. Today, some of the biggest hardstyle DJs are Headhunterz, Coone, Angerfist, Brennan Heart, and Miss K8.
Does Hardstyle have sub-genres?
Hardstyle has many sub-genres! The sub-genres consist of Euphoric (Nu-style) Hardstyle, Rawstyle, Dubstyle, Tekstyle, and Trapstyle. These were all produced and officially categorized in the 2010s. There is also a sub-genre called Big Room Hardstyle which has elements of house! The early stages of hardstyle made during the 2000s are now known as either Oldschool or Early Hardstyle.
What do you dance to Hardstyle?
At shows, there are many different ways to dance to hardstyle. A form of dance that people do at some shows is stampen/stampuh. Stampen is basically kicking and swinging your arms and legs forward in a very fast motion to the beat of the kick drum. Sometimes there are shufflers that do hardstyle shuffling. However, that is not very popular. Muzzing has become popular at hardstyle shows throughout recent years. There are even tutorial videos on TikTok that show you how to muzz at a hardstyle set! Muzzing is a style of dance from Australia inspired by the European dance style, Techtonik. Muzzing consists of moving and bending your arms in different directions and circling them around your head. At each show, no matter how big or small, you can see most people jumping up and down and dancing in whatever way they feel like! Ultimately, there is no single right way to dance to hardstyle. You can dance to it how ever you’d like!
What songs should I listen to to get me started?
There is set answer for this either! We would recommend asking your friends who are hardstyle fans to give you a list. We would also recommend checking out hardstyle playlists on Spotify or whatever msuic-streaming platform you use. Here is a list that we put together after asking our hardstyle-loving friends and going through hardstyle playlists:
- Tonight | Headhunterz & Wildstylez vs. Noisecontrollers
- FTS | Showtek
- DLMD | Darren Styles, TNT
- Close to You ft. PollyAna | Steve Aoki, Brennan Heart
- All or Nothing | Atomzfears, Code Black, Toneshifterz
- Slaves To The System | Sub Sonik
- Weekend Warriors (Defqon.1 Festival 2013 Anthem Live Edit) | Frontliner, Pauline de Vet
- Rockstar ft. DV8 | Timmy Trumpet, Sub Zero Project
- Dragonite (Twisted Melodies Remix Edit) | Dimatik, Weaver, Twisted Melodiez
- Everytime We Touch (Sound Rush Remix) | Cascada
We hope you enjoyed our crash course on Hardstyle! Give Hardstyle a try and see if you like it. If not, we still can’t wait to hop stage to stage with you all very soon!