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Hardstyle is an electronic dance genre mixing influences from techno and hardcore. Hardstyle typically consists of a deep, hard-sounding kick drum, intense faded or reversed basslines accompanying the beat, a dissonant synth melody story telling, and detuned and distorted sounds. Many hardcore artists produce hardstyle tracks as well, and many newer Hardstyle tracks are written in compound time (for example, older Headhunterz and Noisecontrollers work).[2]



Hardstyle was influenced by gabber. Hardstyle has its origins in the Netherlands where artists like DJ Zany, Lady Dana, DJ Isaac, DJ Pavo, DJ Luna and The Prophet, who produced hardcore, started experimenting while playing their hardcore records. The first Hardstyle events, like Qlubtempo,[3] took place at the beginning of the 21st century. The first few years of hardstyle were characterized by a tempo of around 140–150 BPM, a compressed kick drum sound, a short vocal sample, a screech and the use of a "reverse bass", which can be heard on the offbeat after each kick.

After several successful editions of Qlubtempo and Qlimax, Q-dance registered the word hardstyle as their brand on the 4th of July 2002.[4]

Around 2002, more hardstyle labels emerged. Fusion (with artist as DJ Zany and Donkey Rollers) and Scantraxx (founded by Dov Elkabas) are two of the Dutch labels that started to bring out hardstyle tracks around that time.[5][6]


In early 2010, a new variation in hardstyle, named dubstyle[7] was introduced. Dubstyle is the name given to the genre fusion of hardstyle and dubstep. Dubstyle tends to have reversed wobble basslines and take the kick styling of hardstyle tracks, while combining them with the rhythm, groove, and dubstep tempo and effects a fusion of elements of hardstyle with a dubstep rhythm, usually a 2-step or a breakstep rhythm.[8] Because of the sporadic beat in dubstyle, the bass is often more dragged out and/or it doesn't follow a strict offbeat pattern that regular hardstyle incorporates, which in turn results in dubstyle basslines bearing similarities to dubstep basslines.

Euphoric hardstyle[edit]

From roughly 2010 onwards, the move towards a more melodic emphasis from early hardstyle evolved into the subgenre "euphoric hardstyle", characterized by highly emotional melodies and heavy pitch-shifting of kicks.[9] Notable euphoric hardstyle producers include Coone, Atmozfears, Sephyx, Devin Wild, D-Block & S-te-Fan (DBSTF), Da Tweekaz, Code Black, Headhunterz and Wasted Penguinz.

Raw hardstyle[edit]

Since around 2011, more terms to identify developments of hardstyle were introduced. Raw hardstyle, is a type of hardstyle influenced from Dutch hardcore or older hardstyle resulting in darker melodies, screeches and deeper-sounding kick drums. Notable raw hardstyle artists include Adaro and The Prophet.[10][unreliable source?]


In 2012, American trap group Flosstradamus sampled several well known hardstyle tracks in their Total Recall EP, which sparked significant controversy.[11]

Notable related events[edit]

Notable artists[edit]

Notable labels[edit]


  1. ^ Martinez, Amsley (September 18, 2014). "Big Room House Killing Hardstyle". illmind. Magazine. illmind. Magazine. Retrieved March 3, 2017. 
  2. ^ "the world of hardstyle". 2014-03-06. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  3. ^ "Q-dance | Qlubtempo". Q-dance.nl. Archived from the original on 2013-03-08. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  4. ^ "Hardstyle". Q-dance. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  5. ^ "Fusion :: Releases". Fusionbv.com. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  6. ^ "Company - SCANTRAXX.com". Scantraxx.nl. 2013-08-26. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  7. ^ dubstyle.nl, Dutch website on dubstyle
  8. ^ "Dubstep Basics". 2010-07-01. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  9. ^ "History of Hardstyle". 
  10. ^ Article on the split between Raw Hardstyle and euphoric hardstyle by Fear.FM
  11. ^ "Dutch hardstyle producers accuse Flosstradamus of theft, who say they're only sampling - FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. 2012-10-09. Retrieved 2017-10-06.