When it comes to music, everyone has walked their own path. Everyone has some tracks that will forever be special, tracks with a story. Also, artists had walked their path as young children, to talent, to worthy artists. I asked myself, which tracks are these? Which tracks are special to a particular artist, maybe those tracks triggered that artist to start making music. I will be talking to different artists about his or her all-time favourite tracks in the near future.
We will kick off with the one and only: Adaro! This legend has been around for a long time and we can still find him at the top of the hardstyle scene. Today he takes us along on his journey from a young man to a full-fledged artist. He grew up in the gabber era, this time was really special to him, you will definitely notice this in this article.
Adaro: “Here a top-10 of tracks that meant a lot for me. Growing up as a kid in the hardcore scene in the ’90s. My top 10 are mainly tracks from this period. Hope you’re gonna check them out, and enjoy this history in music!” Curious about his musical story? Read on!
MOBY – FEELING SO REAL
THUNDERBALL – BONZAI CHANNEL ONE
CHARLY LOWNOISE & MENTHAL THEO – WONDERFUL DAYS (ROTTERDAM MIX)
In the winter of 94-95, I remember when I was making homework, I listened to the radio show of Dutch DJ Jeroen van Inkel. At that time there was no internet. So, if you were too young to go clubbing yet, you heard your first music through the radio or through friends or family.
I was already into hardcore and rave but then a more melodic version emerged, a mix from German Rave, UK breakbeat, Dutch hardcore, and he was the first radio DJ who played this sound on the radio. He introduced me to tracks like “Live at London”, “Life is Like A Dance” and then “Wonderful Days” got its first airplay. When the term Happy Hardcore got introduced it was already way too commercial sounding and “funny”. So, my interest in it disappeared. But, looking back at it, in that time there was created some timeless music and this track is just brilliant in my opinion.
The “Rotterdam mix” brings me right back to these days, and this track has everything that you wanted to feel when you were old enough to go to a rave. A live screaming crowd, alarm sounds, breakbeats, rap samples, rave-stabs, gabber riffs. and the Tony Ronald vocal is the best high-pitched vocal ever in my opinion. Also, the radio version has some great musicality in there. The way the violins, vocal stabs and bells are played and programmed still have a great influence on me. Combined with the videoclip (a hot rave girl going from a castle to a packed rave club) the track almost feels like a fairytale.
“I really get tears in my eyes writing this, this was the best period of my life.”
INFERNO BROS – SLAVE TO THE RAVE
Talking about tracks that feel like telling a story, this is a perfect example of that. I remember the first times I went out to hardcore clubs like Broadway in Erp. I was 15 years old, and everything was new and fresh. When this track was played, something special happened in the club. Imagine sounds that you’ve never heard before, total madness surrounding you, and suddenly you hear a monstrous voice saying “We are Slaves to the Rave”, followed by a flashing sound of water, and a beautiful synth melody comes up. Everybody starts screaming and shouting “We are slaves to the rave”! I really get tears in my eyes writing this, this was the best period of my life. Thank you Marc Acardipane for producing this and so many other great music. He is one of my big producer heroes.
THE DARKRAVER & DJ VINCE – INTELLIGENT HARDCORE
These 2 Top DJs only produced a few tracks, but damn, this one and also ‘Thunderground’ had a massive impact. I think it was the first one of a slower counter-reaction to the high tempo hardcore called “New School”.
I remember watching a Dutch tv show “TMF Hakkuh” and Darkraver playing this track at a party in Kardinge. The day after, every gabber was talking about it at school. Everyone was really like: “what the hell was this track?” No one knew this track, so everyone was overwhelmed! The next Friday we went out to a gig of Darkraver and he started with that track, everybody went crazy.
What I really liked was the choice for a slow tempo and the depth in creativity. Subtle buildups and also immediate hard climaxes. Playing with filter techniques in the kicks and synths, funky 909 percussion patterns, heartbeats, and a lot of tension in the breaks with trance influences in the melody. And, of course, these inaudible vocals created a big buzz around the track.
“I’ll never forget that Paul came to my Thrillogy hosting in 2013 and we played this track together on stage. Playing b2b with one of your youth heroes, that’s special.”
THE STUNNED GUYS & DJ PAUL – THRILLSEEKA
The comeback of DJ Paul in the hardcore scene after his “happy hardcore” period. By producing this track together with The Stunned Guys, he immediately got loved again by the complete hardcore scene. What a bomb this was.
It was 1999, hardcore was out of fashion and the scene was really small but a few producers and event organizers kept it alive. I think it was the most popular track on the dancefloors for more than 2 years in a row. I love the simple but effective and aggressive vocals, the atmosphere, and that absolute riot riff with a soft kick building up into punk hardcore madness. As an artist, DJ Paul is an inspiration for me. A flawless DJ technique, a great production discography, active in multiple scenes, a down-to-earth and cool guy, liked and respected by all colleagues.
On a personal note, I will never forget that Paul came to my Thrillogy hosting in 2013 and we played this track together on stage. Playing b2b with one of your youth heroes, that’s special.
“Tracks like these drove hardcore into the great Millennium era.”
G-SHOCK – DEMONS (PROMO REMIX)
I have always loved the underground, alternative, and darker sounds in harder styles. DJ Promo is one of the big reasons for that. He broke boundaries with his experimental “Promo Files” tracks. His album “Last Men Standing” is one of the few artist’s albums that I really loved from start to end. Also, the combination of underground and mainstream was greatly balanced.
Although his legendary Demons remix was one of the later Files, it had a massive impact. I’ve never heard so much aggressiveness in an electronic track before as in these climaxes. It comes suddenly, and it’s ear-piercing. Step by step, it builds up with even harder innovative kicks. You just want to throw your fists in the air and scream. Tracks like these drove hardcore into the great Millennium era.
“At this time I was a resident hardstyle DJ in my hometown, back then I’ve really learned the craft of DJ-ing and building up a night.”
ZANY VS DURO – OUR POWER
This track was produced at the time that hardstyle became a bit harder and became more interesting to me. At this time I was a resident hardstyle DJ in my hometown, back then I’ve really learned the craft of DJ-ing and building up a night. This track was always one of my favorites to play, I can almost dream the track.
To me, it’s one of the best party tracks, while still keeping it serious. No cheesy stuff in there. A real “less is more” production, playing with straight and triplet rhythms, nice kicks that nowadays still stand, and some supercool re-sampled synth-processing. An early example of the Fusion-sound that impacted the complete hardstyle scene and gave birth to the Raw hardstyle subgenre.
THE NASTY BOYZ – ANGELS (HARDSTYLE MASTERZ CUT)
The masters from Italy must always be in my Top 10. Technoboy and Tuneboy (TNT) are true pioneers in hardstyle. To this day, I will (almost) always play a track of them in my sets. They are responsible for this epic remix that still gets everyone going crazy, more than 10 years later. At first, the Italian party sounds, then the break with the beautiful Rachel’s Song vocal, followed by the epic synth melody running into a great climax. To me, it’s the ultimate melodic hardstyle track.
MAD DOG – RESET
What do I listen to in my private time when I want to listen to hard music? I hear hardstyle the whole day in the studio so I prefer to listen to other stuff.
Big chance it’s something from guys like Tha Playah, Angerfist, Nosferatu, or Mad Dog. Household names that still keep the Hardcore alive with a high level of production. This track by Mad Dog stands out for me, because of all these throwback sounds combined with modern techniques. The vocals says it all, “Music is a circle and everything dead will come back to life”. I’ve witnessed a few of these musical cycles already in my life, and that’s what keeps it always interesting.
Although I’m quite a nostalgic person, I’m always excited for the future of music!
I want to thank Thijs (Adaro) for his interesting story. It was very interesting to read how he became fascinated by the hard dance scene as a child and how he was able to make a living out of it. I hope you all got as excited as I did when reading about his musical journey.