UK hard house, “hardbag” or just “hard house” appeared in the early 1990s and relates to the Trade club and the accompanying DJs who created it. This genre is essentially a faster and more aggressive version of Eurodance. Another way to describe it is as techno with a few more melodic elements.
Hard house’s most direct predecessors include early trance, American disco-sample-based house music, and Belgian and German techno. According to UK producer and label owner John Truelove, songs like XVX’s “Tremorra Del Terra” and Interactive’s “Amok” marked its beginnings.
Early German trance was a clear influence on the music Trevor Rockcliffe and Daz Saund were performing at the Trade. Likewise, Tony De Vit, a leading DJ of hard house music, drew inspiration for many years from his appearances at the club in the early ’90s.
With the release of the Handbaggers’ “U Found Out” in 1995, Amadeus Mozart and Andy Pickles founded the Tidy Trax record label. Its first release, the Jets’ 1986 single “Crush on You,” peaked at number 55 on the UK Singles Chart.
FRANTIC is one of London’s most well-known and often held hard house events. Will Paterson, an ex-history teacher who wanted to organize an event where he could play his favorite hard house music, founded it.
Also, there is PureFilth!, which was one of the first UK club nights to focus solely on this type of music. It hosted events packed with DJs. Nights could go for 14 hours, including two venues, and 20 artists. Amongst these: Captain Tinrib LIVE, Paul Glasby, Energy UK DJs, Ben Stevens, Nik Denton, and JP & Jukesy.
How does Hard house sound?
A fixed formula of upbeat music with compressed kick drums, characteristic off-beat basslines, and the use of “hoover” sounds defines the genre. In defiance of its name, it takes strongly from trance and hardcore/rave music. Actually, it has little in common with the present trance or house scenes.
Hard Dance is sometimes mistaken for UK Hard House. Hard Dance aficionados, however, believe the two to be distinct genres. Some club nights and events may play both, which can cause confusion. This might be due to the fact that hardstyle is well recognized throughout Western Europe, but Hard house has only a limited audience outside the UK and South Africa.