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Happy hardcore

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Happy hardcore, also known as 4-beat or happycore, is a subgenre of hardcore dance music or "hard dance". It emerged both from the UK breakbeat hardcore rave scene, and Belgian, German and Dutch hardcore techno scenes in the early 1990s. The thing that makes happy hardcore stand apart from Gabber, is that happy hardcore tends to have breakbeats running alongside the 4/4 kick drum.[1]





The breakbeat hardcore rave scene was beginning to fragment by late 1992 into a number of subsequent breakbeat-based genres: darkcore (tracks embracing dark-themed samples and stabs), hardcore jungle (reggae basslines and influences became prominent), and 4-beat also known as happy hardcore where piano rolls and uplifting vocals were still central to the sound.[2] DJs such as Slipmatt, DJ Sy, DJ Seduction, Wishdokta, DJ Dougal, and DJ Vibes continued to play and put out music of this nature throughout 1993/94 – notably Slipmatt through the SMD releases, Wishdokta as "Naughty Naughty", and Seduction on the Impact label.[3]

1990s growth


The sound of happy hardcore changed in the 1990s, with tracks increasingly losing their breakbeats towards a stomping distorted 909 4/4 kick drum pattern, with more original vocal leads and stab patterns. DJs and producers that began to come through included Hixxy, Breeze, Force & Styles, DJ Sharkey, and DJ DNA,[4] and tracks that started to define the genre included "Heart of Gold", "Pretty Green Eyes", "Cloudy Daze", "Sunshine after the Rain", "Above the Clouds", "Discoland", "Love of my Life", "Techno Wonderland", and "Hardcore Fever".[5] Throughout the mid-late 1990s, the compilation series Bonkers would be commercially popular and showcase the latest happy hardcore music. Bonkers only really came into being due to the record label React showing interest in Toy Town, and Hixxy and Sharkey convincing the label to do a compilation album deal instead.[6]



In the UK, the scene received its own special on BBC Radio 1 called John Peel Is Not Enough (named after a track by CLSM) in 2004.[7] The scene continued to expand, with compilations such as Clubland X-Treme Hardcore, and an evermore youthful audience.[8] In 2009, DJ Kutski hosted a show featuring hard dance and hardcore on Radio 1.[9]

Happy hardcore compilations


Notable happy hardcore compilation albums include:

See also



  1. ^ Reynolds 2013, chpt. 11: "The difference between happy hardcore and happy gabba is slight: basically, the English tracks have sped-up breakbeats running alongside the stomping four-to-the-floor kick-drum, and at 170 b.p.m., they're slightly slower than happy gabba.".
  2. ^ Reynolds 2013, p. 266, "Back in 1993, when hardcore plunged into the 'darkside', a breakaway faction of DJ-producers like Seduction, Vibes and Slipmatt continued to make celebratory, upful tunes based around hectic breakbeats. By the end of 1994, happy hardcore had coalesced into a scene that operated in parallel with its estranged cousin, jungle.".
  3. ^ "Gone To A Rave: High On A Happy Vibe – The Rise And Fall Of Hardcore". Ransom Note. 29 January 2015. Archived from the original on 20 August 2016.
  4. ^ Louis Pattison (21 February 2020). "White gloves on, whistles out: Photos capturing the thrill of hardcore rave". RBMA Daily. Archived from the original on 23 May 2020. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  5. ^ Mumdance (4 September 2014). "The 20 best happy hardcore records of all time". FACTmag. Archived from the original on 20 February 2020. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  6. ^ a b Roberts, Joe (10 March 2019). "Happy hardcore will never die: An ode to the Bonkers series". DJ Mag. Archived from the original on 1 February 2023. Retrieved 1 February 2023.
  7. ^ Wall, Mick (2004). John Peel: A Tribute To The Legendary DJ and Broadcaster. Orion Books. ISBN 978-0-7528-7212-4.
  8. ^ a b Hodgson, Jaimie (20 July 2021). "'Why Don't We All Go Bonkers?' – The Rise and Fall of Happy Hardcore". Vice. Archived from the original on 1 February 2023. Retrieved 1 February 2023.
  9. ^ "Kutski's Biography". BBC. Archived from the original on 22 October 2018. Retrieved 2 February 2023.
  10. ^ "dance mania speed 6". Oricon. 2001. Archived from the original on 2 March 2024. Retrieved 2 March 2024. highest ranking 31st place
  11. ^ "Looking back on Anabolic Frolic, Happy 2b Hardcore in Canada". Metafilter. 3 October 2015. Archived from the original on 15 March 2017. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  12. ^ "HARDCORE EUPHORIA". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 2 March 2024. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  13. ^ "HARDCORE HEAVEN 3 – VARIOUS ARTISTS - Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 May 2024.