I don’t give a fuck what anybody says, Happy Hardcore is awesome! Well it’s not awesome per se but it is pretty okay. Actually, I’m sorry. Happy Hardcore sucks and sounds fruity as hell. What was wrong with me back then? Did I have any clue about anything?
The youth sometimes latch onto things not because they are good, but because they’re crazy. I know I did. With all the conformity thrown at them while growing up, it makes them feel good to wallow in ridiculousness for a minute while listening to music that is straight bananas. Take dubstep for example. The youth is crazy about it. Not because it is amazing or because the artists have integrity, but because it is crazy and pisses off old people. Most of the populace say it sounds like two robots fucking and the kids are like,”Hell yeah it does!”. This was the same with weirdo sub genres back in the day as well. Nu-NRG, Braindance, Hard House, Happy Hardcore, and Gabber were just some of the types of sounds coming out that just took things a little too far. Even fans of Aphex Twin, who is an extremely talented multi-instrumentalist, could most likely tell you that they started listening to his music because it sounded nutty as hell.
So I was thinking the other day while listening to Happy2bHardcore Vol.1 that I’m really not too different from the new generation, just a little older. We all listened to something in our youth, that we look back on like “What the fuck was I on then?”. It is fun to revisit at times and although I’m not quite as happy 2b hardcore as I used to be, I can still appreciate it for what it is.
So what is Happy Hardcore, you might be asking? Well, It is very fast 4/4 beats(160-180) with piano loops, vocal samples, and the signature “hoover” sound popularized by many “rave” genres that were coming out in the 90s. Most tracks were actually edits of slower house and dance songs with the pitch shifted to a chipmunk type level. As rave got popular, the house and techno got faster, mostly to make up for the general speediness of the crowd. As it got faster and faster it started to incorporate jungle style breaks and Happy Hardcore was born.
Although Happy Hardcore was for the most part created in the UK along with other hardcore music, it really made a presence in Canada courtesy of Anabolic Frolic’s Hullabaloo parties in Toronto. These were massive raves with mostly Hardcore, Drum & Bass, and Trance DJs. They were pretty much a shit show with candy kids galore that made a lot of Techno purists in Detroit throw up a little.
Although the music was dumb and the scene was ridiculous, I do give some credit to Happy Hardcore artists for their overall “DIY” approach. Back then there were no ghost producers, accessible computer production, or big marketing. Everything was done by themselves with hardware, vinyl, and footwork. They created something different and allowed a few kids at that time to break away from mainstream monotony, express themselves, and release some happy aggression.