This was published in Dream Magazine (UK) back in 1997. Little did we know where this journey was going to take us.
Happy 2b Hardcore Chapter 1 was released 20 years ago, January 1997.
I can still remember the first store I saw it in for sale. A Virgin Music in Vancouver. I was on my way to Los Angeles for the official launch party with my best friend, George.
Seeing it, with the big smiley faces, calling out from the middle of the “Electronica” section, it’s no surprise it was an immediate hit. Many people wrote to me after that they bought it on a whim.
Hard to think back to those days before MP3s and internet streaming, that often you just bought CDs in the store trying your luck and hoping you liked it.
We arrived in LA, and went to see the Moonshine office. They had modest hopes for the CD. It certainly wasn’t planned to be a series, more just a shot in the dark because the owners of Moonshine came from the UK themselves and liked “rave” music and hardcore. Jungle was represented on their label, but not the evolution of happy hardcore so that was where I came in.
As we met with their staff, they ran over the publicity they would be doing for the CD. Magazine ads, posters, I would be appearing on various radio stations, media interviews, a publicist would be taking some photos. I was now plugged into their promotional machine. My friend George turned to me and said “I’ll always remember you, Chris”.
The big dance station in LA at the time was Groove Radio and I did a guest DJ mix for them in studio. This is where things started to get real, real fast. This wasn’t a hole in the wall radio station, but a full-on one. All day they were promoting my appearance as we listened on the car radio. I started to get real nervous.
Fortunately I nailed the appearance, did an interview with them, and promoted the rave I’d be playing at that weekend for the CD release party.
Up until this point I was just a small DJ, playing small local raves, but certainly not on the level of doing international appearances and promotion. So it definitely felt like a whirlwind ride.
The one thing I was was passionate. I LOOOOOVED my music. I had already made the decision to start a business importing vinyl from the UK, and between that and DJing, that was how I made my living. I’d be a full-time DJ for over the next 10 years.
At that time I had no idea where this was all going to take me. The success of Happy2bHardcore caught everyone by surprise and it would go on to sell over 100,000 copies, which was in incredible number for obscure music.
The success of the CD emboldened me. I knew the audience was out there, but rave promoters at the time didn’t know how to book it inside their events. Hullabaloo would be born June 1997 as a direct result of me knowing there was an audience that wasn’t being catered to. “Hulla” was an immediate success and went on a rocket ride of its own.
But today I reflect on what started it all…. Happy2bHardcore.
Here’s an update for those curious enough to look me up on this page. The year is 2016, over 20 years from when I embarked on my DJ career. Happy2bHardcore Chapter 1 would be released early 1997, and the first Hullabaloo rave would happen later that year. We wrapped up Hullabaloo in 2005, with a 10-year reunion party in 2007. My last DJ appearance was at WEMF 2008. I never officially retired as a DJ, but I’m a product of 90’s rave, and proud of it.
I was able to look at the writing on the wall during that time, and knew it was a good time to move on and wrap things up. I had had huge success, and felt like my mountain had been conquered and felt no desire to try and recapture past successes. Seems weird now with the big “EDM” resurgence, but I’m from a time before “EDM” was even a term, and I’m good with that.
I followed my passion of entrepreneurship, and have started multiple successful businesses since then. The skills I developed from my rave days I used for the rest of my life. My biggest success has been co-founding a webinar platform that has been used by over 20 million people and generated almost a Billion dollars for its users. I literally parlayed my experiences developing e-commerce solutions for my rave business and the skills from being an early online radio streamer into a whole new opportunity.
Today I use my business success to mentor and invest in the next generation of entrepreneurs. Ones hungry like I had once been, and hopefully with a bit of my guidance I can help them navigate their own success.
I reside in Toronto with my wife, Robin, and our 2 boys, Gavin & Connor. I’ve hung up my headphones, and for fun these days I’ve built a pinball arcade in my home. As someone who grew up in the 80s, it’s fun to be able to recreate a bit of my childhood. The illicit appeal of it being a “secret” and the hardcore light show is a tribute to my rave days. Visitors who know me from back then usually respond with a “Yeah, this seems about right from you”.
I still get DJ inquiries, but I’m content with the past staying in the past. We accomplished great things, and I’m good with letting those memories live on as memories. I do appreciate the comments that I receive from people after all these years, it is very touching.
I do have one piece of unfinished business, and that is my long gestating memoirs of my rave days. That book is actually written and I hope to see it published as the definitive account of that era by someone who was in the middle of it.
Thanks for your interest in looking me up.
-Chris (Anabolic) Frolic
I just turned 38 years old. Not a big milestone birthday, spent quiet at home with my family. It did make me think about a past birthday however. Exactly 16 years ago on my 22nd birthday I moved into a new office I had rented to launch my Happy Hardcore record business.
I had been renting a room from a family to live previously, but they sold their house and I had to find a new place to live. I had started importing and selling happy hardcore vinyl out of my bedroom, and was so passionate about my music, I made a calculated gamble that I could make a real go of it. Worst-case-scenario I ended up being unsuccessful. I was young, had time to burn, so why not go for it.
The office was about 10 x 12 feet with no windows. I had a couch. That night, my birthday, I was alone in a pitch black room. I never felt so alone in my life.
I had a web page set up, and was the very first happy hardcore website ever indexed by Yahoo, which at the time was the dominant search engine. I started making contact with other aspiring happy hardcore DJs, and before long was selling vinyl to most of them. It was a very small business, but it did pay the rent, but I could not afford anything more than that. I lived in that office.
There was a shower in the building which I used, and once or twice a month I’d visit my aunt’s for the weekend to do laundry and recharge my batteries.
I spent my spare time making copies of my first widely distributed mixtape, called The Frolic Files. One at a time I would copy them, and bring boxes with me to every rave I attended and handed them out to anyone that looked like they were having fun.
I also started mailing them to record labels, and after being in my office for only a few weeks I got a call from Moonshine in Los Angeles. They were thinking of doing a happy hardcore compilation and I seemed like the right guy for them. Happy2bHardcore Chapter 1 was released a few months later.
Also a few weeks into my stay at the office I got a call from a promoter from a new Toronto rave company called Not The End. They got my tape. They wanted me to play at their first event. After playing at their party, and then getting deeply involved with them for their second event, planted the bug in me to promote my own parties if I wanted to see the music that I loved get the exposure it needed.
Hullabaloo had it’s first event 7 months after moving into my office. Happy2bHardcore chapter 2 came out around that time, and I started getting regular DJ bookings all over. From that point on it was like riding a rocket ship.
I guess as I look back at all this, none of that would have been possible without some sacrifice from myself. I decided to take a shot, and it worked out better than I could have ever imagined. It’s also a little overwhelming how much of a difference one guy can make if they set their mind on something. My advice to anyone reading this is to take their own shots. If it doesn’t work, it’s not the end of the world. But you can never reach the stars if you never attempt it.
2012 marks the 15th Anniversary of Hullabaloo (1997). To celebrate, we’ve posted the entire concert film from our 10-year reunion party on youtube!! Check out this rave history!! Time flies, but at least we will never forget.
You can buy the DVD WITH the entire night of recordings for only $9.99!! official Anabolic Frolic store.
There’s a new clip online from my concert DVD.
It’s still available through Amazon.com and the official Anabolic Frolic store.
This is footage from the Hullabaloo 2-year event June of 1999. This is as classic a rave as it gets. A sold out crowd of 5000 in a gutted old bingo hall in the middle of nowhere, and no one had any idea what we were up to. I refer to the summer of ’99 as our “Summer of Love”, the peak of the rave scene before it fell in on itself. We honestly thought we might change the world.
It’s kind of crazy to see the size of this crowd and compare it with the other vid I posted below, in less than 3 years time we had blown up from next to nothing to a huge juggernaut. Our string of Hullabaloo events from the end of ’98 until summer of ’99 I consider the best raves in the history of the planet, just perfectly executed, huge budgets for production, a fresh audience with no “krusty raver” element that didn’t exist yet, and the dark side of the scene had not crept in yet. It was some good times.
Found an oldschool video of me spinning in 1996. No one knew what happy hardcore was back then, but it all has to start somewhere!
Hello everybody, I’ve updated my website and made it more “2.0”. Everything will be posted as a blog and can be commented on. I’ll be posting lots of stuff, but I started with the 8 chapters of Happy2bHardcore so everyone can post their comments/memories of each CD. I’m going to go back and add my own thoughts and memories of each one, so check back on that.
Mostly what I’d like to do is have a permanent memory site for all my fans out there. The rave scene was an important part of all of our lives, and too much of it has been erased already.
There is a NEW MAJOR Anabolic Frolic Release!
The Anabolic Frolic Rave Experience DVD!
2 years in the making I’m very pleased to announce the latest Anabolic Frolic release. In my humble opinion this is the greatest rave DVD ever produced and my most proud accomplishment.
Not part of the official series, this was a “what might have been” release taken from a concept mix Anabolic Frolic recorded earlier. It was given out free as a bonus for all ticket buyers of the 10-year Hullabaloo Reunion party in 2007. Moonshine Music had been out of business for several years, and Anabolic Frolic had retired from promoting raves for 2 years, so this was an un-official release (hence the “Lost” mix). It was never released officially or distributed to stores or online outside of some extra copies made available on Anabolic Frolic’s store along with live recordings, DVDs and other merch from the event.
There was speculation online that this was an attempt by Anabolic Frolic to resurrect the series commercially, but all of that is just online gossip since his DJ and rave promoter career had already wined down, and it was nothing more than a free bonus made for the Hullabaloo Reunion.
Released January 2002. This would be the last official release. Moonshine Music, the record label that published the series, would go out of business later that year, a victim of Napster and the changing music market.
Frolic says: This is one of my favorites.
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The original. The one that started it all. Over 100,000 sold when they were expecting to sell maybe 10,000 units. It has a very classic rave sound nowadays, but some huge timeless anthems on here such as Heart of Gold paved the way for a whole new era of raves in North America.
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