What is Happy Hardcore?
Happy Hardcore, or UK Hardcore, is a genre of electronic dance music, notable for it's uplifting sounds and samples, as well as it's fast tempo.
The style has been a mainstay in international rave culture for nearly three decades. It's evolution from a Rave Breaks sub-genre with commercial success into a four-to-the-floor defined style has seen a loyal culture of fans and a legacy of music. Despite peaks and troughs, Hardcore persists today amongst a quickly-changing and volatile music industry, driven mainly by purists.
A Music Legacy
The early-nineties launched fast dance music into every home, and Happy Hardcore established itself as an accessible, fun and quirky genre that a generation could enjoy, with positive culture at events. Fantazia and Helter Skelter became enormous festivals of sound, and Hardcore peaked in many respects.
Smart-E's, fronted by Luna-C, as well as Scooter and Prodify had catapulted Hardcore into charts worldwide. Paul Elstak and Dune were building on success in Europe, and in the UK, young talents like Brisk, Sy, Darren Styles and Hixxy were morphing their own breed of Hardcore.
Following a dip in popularity, Happy Hardcore came back in the new millennium with a more sophisticated sound. UK Hardcore, as it was now marketed, consisted of vibrant synths and powerful kicks, finding a sweet spot between Trance and commercial dance.
Hardcore Til I Die was the driving force, and Hixxy was the face of it all. Darren Styles followed the success with an album and Ultrabeat's work with Clubland saw some rare charting success. As the industry has changed to become more accessible, genres have since surpassed Hardcore.
The past decade has seen UK Hardcore wither and decline. Sadly, on a larger scale, it's failed to adapt to changing music trends, and genres such as Hardstyle and newly established genres have garnered more success.
Bonkers and X-Treme Hardcore were the big albums that ceased, labels ceased for folded, and artists became older and less innovative, with newer talent struggling to break the surface.
Nevertheless, the talent is still there, and Hardcore remains a good source of fast and colourful music, with real creativity just a little harder to find.