Scantraxx, the global hardstyle label celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. In this article, we take you on a journey through the history of Scantraxx, how they started and what the highlights were.
At the beginning of 2001, Q-dance organized Qlubtempo events. At these events, music was played of a solid base but had no specific name at that time. It was a combination of oldstyle, UK hardhouse, Italian Progressive, and German hardtrance. At these events, artists such as Pavo, Pila, Luna, and DJ The Prophet performed.
At the Qlubtempo events, artists were spinning tracks from all over the world. Those events were mostly about the DJs who played new music every time they had to perform. DJ The Prophet (Dov Elkabas) started this approach and time and again, he came up with the very latest music. Q-dance noticed this and wanted to continue with the concept but subsequently, all other DJs who did this were booked at Q-dance events, except DJ The Prophet.
Dov was really frustrated about that, so he wanted to come up with something really special. And at that time, the idea to create his very own music label was born. He decided to create a platform so big that it would be a leader in the world of hardstyle. This was the beginning of Scantraxx: the very first major hardstyle label.
Fun fact: Dov had already set up a number of labels, though these were all in collaboration with others. Scantraxx became his first very own label.
2002 – 2004 THE BEGINNING OF SCANTRAXX
Scantraxx Recordz was set to be the music label of the future, according to Dov. It was also the very first time Dov started his own label. From that moment on he was the all-in-one boss, he arranged and set up everything himself for the first major hardstyle label ever.
So, a fresh new hardstyle label: there had to be a logo, which eventually became the one below. Apart from a few adjustments, this logo was eventually used for the label for 18 years and was on the covers of numerous releases.
One of the first major releases on Scantraxx was “Hardheadz – Wreck Thiz Place” (Hardheadz are DJ The Prophet & Pavo as a DJ duo). This track was a big success and was very popular among hardstyle fans. In fact, the track was such a big success that this record was at the front of all the record stores, everyone wanted to buy this track on vinyl.
After the release of this track, the tone was set in the scene. Scantraxx became a huge success and every hardstyle artist wanted to be signed to the label from that moment on. The label received dozens of tracks every week. Scantraxx had shown that records could be a big success, so you definitely wanted to release your tracks there as a hardstyle artist.
2005 – 2007 THE MUSICAL EVOLUTION
Frontliner (Abject at that time) was also one of those producers who sent a track to Scantraxx. Dov was enthusiastic and so this legend was also signed to the label in 2005.
Many great artists followed after this, think for example of Headhunterz (Antifact at that time). “From the moment I signed my contract with Scantraxx my career really went through the roof, Dov opened a lot of doors for me at that time,” Willem (Headhunterz) said. But not only Headhunterz followed, Wildstylez (Ceasar at that time) was also signed to Scantraxx. “We got a lot of guidance at that time, the club was also very small at that time so you had a lot of help” Wildstylez stated.
Fun Fact: during this period, everyone who was signed to Scantraxx wanted to choose a new name so they could make a fresh new start at the label. As you can see, adding a ‘z’ to artist names was very popular at that time.
A lot of unforgettable tracks were produced in this period. Think of tracks like “Headhunterz – Rock Civilization”, “Blademasterz – One Blade”, “Wildstylez – Life’z A Bitch”,, “Headhunterz & Abject (Frontliner) – Scantraxx Rootz”
Besides releasing legendary tracks during this period, Scantraxx also opened doors for beginning artists. For these artists, it was possible to perform at Defqon.1, Qlimax, you name it: at Scantraxx everything was possible. For example, Dov arranged that Headhunterz could play at Qlimax for the first time together with him. You really had (and still have) to earn your spot at Qlimax, so this was really a great honor for Willem. Dov provided the kickstart to a lot of artists’ careers, and this was just the beginning.
Fun fact: Headhunterz even got his own sub-label with the label this period, namely ‘Scantraxx Reloaded’.
2008 – 2009 S.W.A.T. & ALBUM DROPS
Between November 2007 and April 2008, the label organized a large number of events in Europe and Australia under the banner of S.W.A.T. (Scantraxx World Artist Tour). The idea of these tours was to throw a Scantraxx party with the whole Scantraxx Crew, wherever it was possible. They toured from Rotterdam to Denmark, to Germany, to France, Italy, and back again. The events were a great success.
Project One (Headhunterz & Wildstylez) was also created during this period. In the deepest secrecy, the duo had put together an album, which eventually became the very first Project One album. They presented this album for the first time at Defqon.1 2008. The album hit like a bomb with the audience. Tracks like “Life Beyond Earth” or “The Art Of Creation” are tracks that many hardstyle fans will never forget.
Fun fact: the Project One album was produced in only 3 months. With producing one track a week, they ended up with 13 tracks for the album.
D-Block and S-te-Fan also made their debut during this period. They signed with Scantraxx and released their very first album: “Music Made Addict” (2009). History was made within hardstyle with this album. “Music Made Addict” and “Shiverz” (with High Voltage) are tracks that always have the audience screaming along at the top of their lungs. Aside from this huge album, they got their own sublabel: Scantraxx Evolutionz, where the boys still release their music to this day.
This was followed by many highlights for this (at the time) brand new hardstyle duo. They broke through immediately and performed at all the major events, toured all summer, and even performed at Thrillogy.
It didn’t stop here in terms of albums. Brennan Heart also released his first album in 2009 on Scantraxx: “Musical Impressions”. This album left a huge mark on our scene. Think for example of the track “Just As Easy”, who doesn’t know it? This track has reached millions of streams to this day.
Fun fact: Scantraxx was getting more and more artists, and the label was getting bigger and bigger. During this period Dov decided to hire his first employees.
2010 – 2013 BIRTH OF RAW & DIGITIZATION
Since late 2009, but especially in 2010 and 2011, a change could be observed within hardstyle. Several producers started to make harder tracks with a concise sound. This form of music had a different characteristic sound than the “normal” hardstyle and it appealed to many people so it was quickly given a name: Raw hardstyle.
The artists at the forefront of raw hardstyle at that time were Alpha², Ran-D & Adaro. During that time, the “Unleashed” album was released, lots of hostings and bookings happened and of course: Gunz For Hire (Adaro & Ran-D) was created.
Fun fact: In April 2009 Scantraxx announced that they acquired A² Records, since then it has been a sub-label of Scantraxx until 2019.
Between 2010 and 2013, things really exploded. Scantraxx kept growing, most of the artists got an X-Qlusive, hostings at Thrillogy and Scantraxx started moving, but suddenly this huge success changed revenues and this has been quite a hectic time for Scantraxx. All music went from cd/vinyl to digital, YouTube accounts had to be created and music had to be sold through download platforms.
2014 – 2017 A NEW SCANTRAXX STRATEGY & SCANTRAXX 15 YEARS
Around this time, Scantraxx decided to adopt a new strategy. They wanted to start listening to the needs of the artist more. The artists that were signed to Scantraxx’s main label at that time were: D-Block & S-te-fan, Ran-D, Adaro, Digital Punk, Gunz For Hire, Bass Modulators, Audiotricz, Atmozfears & E-Force. These artists still felt at home and wanted to remain a part of Scantraxx. This period also provided the big breakthrough for E-Force with his hit: Seven, for example.
Not only “Seven” was a big hit on Scantraxx during that period also “Atmozfears – Release”, which has become one of the biggest hardstyle hits of the decade. Many more tracks followed, think for example of “Bass Modulators – Oxygen”. Those were the tracks that left a mark on the quality of the hardstyle label Scantraxx.
At that time, a three-way split was made in the label. Scantraxx wanted to offer artists advancement opportunities within the label. This became:
X-Bone – Scantraxx Silver – Scantraxx main label
Examples of artists who grew through at the label at that time were Devin Wild and Adrenalize. Adrenalize started at X-Bone in 2011 and was signed to the main label in 2012, from that point on he was taken hugely serious by the public and broke through as a huge name within hardstyle. The same is true for Devin Wild, Scantraxx provided him more reach and people really got to know them as main label Scantraxx artists within hardstyle.
Fun fact: Devin Wild’s studio is still to this day located in Scantraxx’s headquarters office.
After a breakup between Psyko Punkz, Sven (1/2 of Psyko Punkz) decided to continue as a solo artist: KELTEK. He started this project at Scantraxx and it was an immediate success. With tracks like “Through The Night” and “Dark Sun” he immediately impressed the audience.
In 2017, Scantraxx celebrated its 15th anniversary. This was crowned with the legendary 15 Years of Scantraxx event at AFAS Live in Amsterdam (Heineken Music Hall at that time). During this night, the legacy of 15 years Scantraxx was relieved with a journey through the past, present, and future of the label that shaped hardstyle: Scantraxx.
In the previous 15 years, Scantraxx set the standard for modern hardstyle. The time had come to pay tribute to this legendary label with a journey through the most memorable chapters from the Scantraxx era.In addition to this historic evening, Scantraxx celebrated its 15th anniversary with their own 15 Years of Scantraxx documentary, a true must-see for dedicated Scantraxx fans.
2018 – 2019 SCANTRAXX HOSTINGS & SCANTRAXX BLACK
In 2018 and 2019, Scantraxx had several big hostings to its name. In 2018 for example, Scantraxx hosted the classics stage at Q-Base. They were given the honor of presenting the Scantraxx legacy. At this hosting, acts like Tatanka, D-Block & S-te-Fan, Luna, DJ The Prophet, Alpha2, and many more performed.
Furthermore, Scantraxx hosted a stage at Dreamfields Mexico, Hard Island Croatia, and a club in China. In addition, they picked up the concept of S.W.A.T. again and hit the road in Chile in 2018.
In 2019, development within Scantraxx emerged. After 18 years of only having one so-called main label, it was time that an additional main label was added for artists with harder sound – Scantraxx BLACK was born.
But this was not the only development within the label. Scantraxx’s talent label, then X-Bone and X-RAW got a brand new look and was changed to Scantraxx Prospexx.
2020 – 2022 COVID-19 & WANNA PLAY? VIRAL
2020 has not been an easy year for the music industry. Scantraxx also had to shift gears in that regard. Despite the dark period, they managed to implement a new digital strategy. They partnered with NXTLI who ensured that Scantraxx grows more in terms of marketing and business.
A year after the hardstyle label revealed to add Scantraxx Black to its main label, there was also more room for an expansion at Scantraxx Silver. A broader perspective was considered, so the label came up with another darker label: Scantraxx Carbon. This way, there was more room for raw-hardstyle again, and Scantraxx Silver could fully focus on the euphoric part.
Prospexx – Scantraxx Silver & Scantraxx Carbon – Scantraxx & Scantraxx Black
At the end of 2020, something unique happened. Voidax made a crazy TikTok video using DJ The Prophet – Wanna Play? which went viral. The video was picked up all over the world and was a real hit and rating cannon. The track was used more than 250,000 times on TikTok and the track and videos reached a total of 500 million plays, which is really unique for a hardcore track. To this day, the track is a huge success and gets countless streams daily.
Despite the setbacks in terms of bookings around this time, Scantraxx put on an album concert together with Rebelion: The First Dose, the digital album concert. This digital concert was not just any concert, but the very first online album showcase ever made in hardstyle, which makes it super unique and special.
Early 2021 marked the reveal of a brand new D-Block & S-te-Fan’s album: Enter Your Mind. This album is filled with 8 solo tracks and 8 remixes of their tracks. During the release of these tracks, the guys visited the artists who released their tracks and filmed it for their own online Enter Your Mind YouTube series.
Scantraxx has not been silent during the time when events were not possible. They organized a livestream from the Koepelkerk in Amsterdam, which was a huge production. All main-label artists performed during the stream, which was a great present for all Scantraxx fans who have not been able to see their artists perform for a while.
In 2022, the global hardstyle label had already existed for 20 years, and what a journey it was. This year we celebrate 20 years of music, hardstyle, artists, hostings, events together: 20 years of creating memories.
The label has a huge number of specials planned for this year. Think of their own events, hostings, a livestream, writers camp, merchandise, a pop-up store, and much more. Keep an eye on their socials for the latest updates and 20 Years Scantraxx specials!