Hardstyle: The American Takeover

Can you feel it? That hard drum and bass, the sun on your face, the jaw-clenching, heel-stomping beat? That noise you’re hearing, well it’s Hardstyle. This Dutch-born genre has been slowly creeping its head across the sea to America. Only in recent years has Hardstyle invaded the American rave scene, at festivals like Mysterland, EDC Las Vegas and, recently added, TomorrowWorld.

  What exactly is Hardstyle though? Hardstyle can simply be put as “hard techno.” Through each song there is this driving force of drum that can almost be compared to a “clapping” sound. Hardstyle uses a unique 140 BPM beat that electrifies every bone in your body until you explode with movement. The most common dance for this style of music is called the Hardstyle shuffle. This unique dance incorporates a moonwalk like stance with heavier stomps.

  To most Americans, Hardstyle isn’t even an option, but many European Hardstyle DJ’s are determined to make an American Hardstyle movement. In the past year, world renowned Hardstyle DJ Headhunterz made a comment within the Huffington Post discussing the slow upbringing of Hardstyle within American blogs. Willem Rebergen, performance name Headhunterz, stated, “For the first time, we see American blogs picking up on what we're doing with our Hardstyle thingy. I suddenly got booked on big main stages, signed to a huge record label etc. This of course raises the discussion; will hardstyle be the next big thing? If there is one thing I expect from this, is that the least it will do, is bring about a change in our genre.”

In recent months, we have seen stronger influences of Hardstyle in American rave culture, such as through music festivals and newly released tracks. On August 29th, 2013 Chicago based DJ’s Krewella released their single “Party Monsters” which distinctly used Hardstyle drops. This song incorporates “… a Hardstyle meets Trap banger…” stated by thissongissick.com. They incorporated the very popularized American genre of Trap with Europe’s own Hardstyle. About three months after the release of “Party Monster” Krewella made a collaboration with Headhunterz to create “United Kids of the World”. This track had moving lyrics where you could feel the struggle of their words, but still has a plethora of Hardstyle drops, electrifying your soul when it hits.

  In the festival scene, however, the extremely popular European festival TomorrowLand announced their second home of illusion and fantasy right in America. TomorrowLand is known for it’s legendary lineups of house and dubstep, but what some people may not know is that it also has world renowned Hardstyle DJ’s in attendance. With artists in the past years ranging from Wildstylez, Showtek, Headhunterz, etc. During the 2013 Tomorrowland we could see different artists like Tiesto playing Hardstyle tracks.

  Along with Hardstyle coming to America, the famous Hardstyle record label of Q-dance announced on April 10th 2012 that they will also be launching their American project. They will be having stages at the illusive Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, as well as TomorrowWorld.

  Hardstyle has electrified souls across Europe for years now, but is America ready for the movement?

By: Chris Urbanek