Hardcore Dance Music – What Is Hardcore Dance Music?

As you know, dance music has been going for many years and spanning several decades. Dance music has been so popular that it has also created many different sub genres, such as Trance, Breakbeat, Disco and much much more. And it has also seen the rise of Hardcore Dance Music.

So What Is Hardcore Dance Music?

The term Hardcore was coined back in the late 80’s by breakbeat pioneers Shut Up and Dance who would create a harder version of their hip hop styled dance tracks on the B side of their records and named them “Hardcore Remix”. As you would assume, people preferred the Hardcore version and these would be played in all the nightclubs by top name DJ’s. This then caught on by other DJ’s and producers and they all started using hardcore breaks in their own material and a new genre was born.

1988 – Breakbeat

Breakbeat, the very first form of Hardcore Dance Music, came along and was a blend of hip hop breaks which where speeded up and the tracks used synth stabs to create what you would now call your classic rave riff’s. The most popular breakbeat used was actually taken from a non-hip hop track called “Amen, Brother” by The Winstons (1969). Breakbeat became a huge hit with ravers in the early 90’s, mainly in England and was played by some of the DJ’s who are still in the scene today. The biggest name to emerge from the Breakbeat genre has to be The Prodigy. When Breakbeat was started it wasnt well known as breakbeat, it was usually called either “Rave”,”Hardcore” or “Jungle Techno”. It wasnt until the whole Happy Hardcore scene broke out that it was then referred to as Breakbeat or OldSkool Rave.

Artists/DJ’s: The Prodigy, SL2, Altern 8, Dream Frequency, Liquid, Acen, Krome & Time, DJ Seduction, Micky Finn, Ellis Dee, DJ Phantasy, Slipmatt and Lime

1990 – Gabber

Gabber (or Gabba) was similar to underground House and Belgian Techno, which was very popular in europe during the early 90’s, to begin with but used kick drums from the TR 909. During the later years the kick drum would be put through distortion to make a much harder style of rave music. Laden with hard kick drums and loud hoover synths, Roland Alpha Juno sound preset known as “what the?”, this style was very popular in Holland and Scotland. Producers of this style would also put in samples usually taken from movies and that would sometimes contain profanity or someone threatening to kill someone.

Artists/DJ’s: Paul Elstak, Scott Brown, Neophyte, Rotterdam Termination Source, Rotterdam Terror Corps, Patrick van Kerckhoven (a.k.a. DJ Ruffneck, D’Spyre, Juggernaut, Wedlock)

1992 – Bouncy Techno

Bouncy Techno was created in Scotland by DJ’s and producers who looked at what was happening in the English rave scene, but knew that the Scottish ravers couldn’t get into it. They took the Rave style riffs and put a bouncy beat to the tracks using the Roland TR 909 drum machine which was able to create a hard kick drum that was being used on European techno/house music at the time. This style became what Scottish ravers would now call Oldskool.

Artists/DJ’s: Scott Brown, Bass X, Qtex, The Rhythmic State, The Scotchman, QFX, MIC, Lord of Hardcore, Bass Reaction, Euphorik Rhythm.

Hardcore Techno also became popular around the time of Bouncy Techno, as it was really similar as it had the same drum sounds and bouncy sound, but had more hoover synths and distorted Roland TB 303 basslines. It would be typified with repetative riff’s and 303 basslines that would gradually change in resonance as the track would go along and end high pitched.

Artists/DJ’s: Ultra-sonic, Scott Brown, Euphorik Rhythm

1993 – Happy Hardcore

Happy Hardcore took hardcore into a softer direction and looked at the 4 x 4 beats that Bouncy Techno was using and slapped fairground type riff’s over the top. Later producers of this style started to put pop style vocals onto Happy Hardcore tracks.

Artists/DJ’s: Hixxy, Sharkey, Dougal, Vibes, Sy & Unknown, Seduction, DJ Brisk, DJ Ham, Bang!, DJ Breeze, Force & Styles, Ramos, Supreme & Sunset Regime, Slipmatt

1996 – Nu Style Gabber

Nu Style Gabber (or Nu Style Gabba) was similar to Gabber, but changed the rhythm so that the beats are devided into triplets. The hoover synths where then shortened to give a staccato feel and the music sounded like it was marching. Again, this style became popular with the more harder of Dutch and Scottish ravers.

Artists/DJ’s: Scott Brown, Neophyte, Angerfist

1999 – UK Hardcore

UK Hardcore was created at a time when the Happy Hardcore scene and the Scottish rave scene crashed. Noticing the popularity of Trance music during the late 90’s, Happy Hardcore producers set about adding trance style riff’s to happy hardcore style rhythms. A new more grown up form of 4 beat hardcore was born and helped the Hardcore scene in the UK to get back on its feet again. UK Hardcore has enjoyed a big resurgence and has now been tied in with the Clubland series of CD’s by All Around the world records.

Artists/DJ’s: Hixxy, Dougal, Sy & Unknown, DJ Brisk, DJ Ham, Mark Breeze, Darren Styles, Breeze & Styles (aka Styles & Breeze), Gammer, Barry Euphorik


Freeform (aka Trancecore) created around about the same time as the UK Hardcore genre, Freeform takes sounds from the likes of Trance, Hardcore Techno and sometimes Gabba but lays it with a more Happy Hardcore/UK Hardcore style rhythm. Later Freeform tracks from the UK have started to introduce vocalists to the style.

Artists/DJ’s: Sharkey, Hixxy, Kevin Energy, K-Complex, Robbie Long, Stormtrooper, CLSM, A.M.S, Gammer, Marc Smith

The Future Of Hardcore Dance Music

As you see from all the different types of Hardcore Dance Music, it has continuously evolved over the years and continues to do so. People have said that “Hardcore is dying” and all those kind of things. But, as the old saying goes…


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