20 Years Later


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.

Reflections on my birthday

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.

Happy2bHardcore Chapter 8


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.

Happy2bHardcore Chapter 7


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.

Happy2bHardcore Chapter 1


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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