The name ‘Partyraiser’ appeals to the imagination of any hardcore head. Fast, driven by pure energy and harder than the rest, or as he calls it: “party in een zaagjas.” Though impossible to translate, everyone who has ever witnessed a DJ set by Partyraiser knows exactly what that means.
Wesley van Swol was born in Delft in 1977 and grew up in the village of Wateringen. While visiting hardcore parties at legendary venues like the Energiehal and Sporthallen Zuid as a young spirit in the early 1990s, he encountered a magical thing that caught his attention and enthusiasm: the craft of working the turntables, like the heroes he saw rocking at these raves. In 1993, a friend taught him the initial tricks of the trade, after which a period of intensive practicing followed for Wesley. When that same friend checked in with him half a year later, he was knocked off his feet by the skills that his buddy had developed in such a short amount of time. This had to be his calling, and so he continued. His new addiction didn’t go unnoticed by his family. One day his mother asked him to come upstairs, where she had installed a new pair of Pioneer Technics SL-MK turntables, a mixer and the rest of the package a DJ needs to kick start what would eventually become the success it is now.
In 1995, Wesley started playing at parties in the region and ‘Partyraiser’ came to existence. In an era without internet, one had to meet fellow DJs at parties or through others. And this is exactly how he met Bart Revier, soon baptized Distroyer. Together, Partyraiser and Distroyer experimented with FastTracker 2, resulting in their first tracks. They proceeded by spinning at small events together and had a show at Delta Radio FM90.9, the station that was brought back to life by Partyraiser and DJ D-Angelo. At a party where they blasted their fresh creations through the speakers, they met Vincent Heijnen from Dutch Gabber Network Records, who was interested in their music. This resulted in their first vinyl release called “A New World Order,” including the track “Kick Da Ballistic,” chosen as tune of the year 1997 by none less that Lady Dana and DJ Paul in ID&T Magazine. The train started rolling when George Ruseler from Rige Entertainment, better known as DJ Distortion, called and asked if they would be interested in playing at Megarave on New Year’s Eve 1998 in the Energiehal, on top which they got the opportunity to play at Hardcore & Rave Megamarket at that same venue in April 1998 as a warm-up. This was already a dream starting to unfold itself. However, not long after that big performance, Wesley and Bart split up to follow their own paths into the future.
The search for a musical identity began for Partyraiser, making his way through different styles and genres, until in 2001 he was asked to play his old banging style again. From that moment on, the real journey commenced. Partyraiser started hosting his own concept called Doomsday, which brought him into contact with the big shots of the scene and began spinning outside the province, even gaining popularity in Germany. At a booking in The Netherlands, he met William Jordens, who operated as DJ The Rapist and introduced Partyraiser to Multigroove boss Ilja Reiman, the man who would become a key figure in Partyraiser’s career. Ilja, who guided artists like Lady Dana, Pavo and Flamman & Abraxas towards success, now had his eye on Partyraiser. It was also the time when he impulsively laid the foundation for his own signature style by playing a set consisting of hard-edged B-sides at Nosferatu’s Birthday Party. When people starting speaking about ‘Partyraiser style,’ he knew that he had something valuable in hand; a statement was made. One of the first major fruits from his cooperation with Multigroove was playing mainstage at Hellbound in October 2004 in a battle with D-Passion. Opening with “Zij Gelooft In Mij” by the recently passed away André Hazes, followed by a no-nonsense wave of kicks, including his monster hit “Assasins”, these two came in like hurricane. This point can be marked as the real breakthrough of Partyraiser, who grabbed hold of the hardcore scene, never to release it. The phenomenon Partyraiser would forever be mentioned in the same breath with hard, fast and accessible hardcore.
In the years that followed, Partyraiser’s weekends were filled with gigs all across the country, including Dominator, Project Hardcore and the 2005 edition of Thunderdome, where his set was introduced by Drokz and MC Da Hustla, giving birth to the well-known line “When I say Party, you say Raiser,” echoing from thousands of throats on that memorable night. And as a confirmation of his achievements, Partyraiser was nominated for Best Hardcore DJ in 2005. The next year included highlights like Masters of Hardcore, In Qontrol, Flockers at the enormous Gelredome and violently closing down the Black area at Defqon.1 Festival. Together with Scrape Face, he scored a huge hit with the track “Harder Dan De Rest,” released on Megarave Records. It was also the year of his first One Man // Half Machine project, celebrating his 12½ years anniversary as a DJ and presenting a robotized spectacle never seen before. The second episode of this kickass concept took place in 2007 and in that same year Partyraiser delivered the icing on the cake with Machine City in Ahoy, marking him as the only hardcore DJ ever to host a concept in this majestic venue. The Dutch borders opened wider than ever before for Partyraiser and he spread his virus across Europe, boosting his name through the roof.
In 2007, Partyraiser became a part of Make You Dance Bookings, whereas in October 2008 he joined forces with Platinum Agency, with whom he has been cooperating to this day and became the most frequently booked hardcore DJ. From this solid platform, Partyraiser traveled to all corners of the planet and invaded more mainstages than a seven year old can count to. In 2008, Partyraiser was part of the FFWD Dance Parade in Rotterdam once again, and with his engine running on full throttle, he brought the mayhem to events like Harmony of Hardcore, Ground Zero, Q-BASE and Thunderdome in 2009, adding even more fuel in 2010 by rocking the decks at Masters of Hardcore, In Qontrol, Defqon.1 Festival, Dominator and The Qontinent. Moreover, the first edition of BKJN versus Partyraiser saw the light, becoming a returning tradition where Partyraiser invites his friends and colleagues to deliver hardcore at its finest, even taking this standard sold out concept to Germany and Switzerland. The year 2011 held another peak for the uptempo legend as he had the honor to close the main area at Reverze in Belgium, as well as a performance at Hardline 77 in Moscow and playing at the world’s biggest street parade when it comes to electronic music: Street Parade Zürich. It is a hard and long way to reach the top, but it is even harder to stay there. And this man proved that he will definitely not fall down.
The years 2012 and 2013 formed yet another period of triumph for Partyraiser with performances at Dutch events like Hardshock Festival, Decibel Outdoor Festival, Ghosttown and the final edition of Thunderdome, but also with international invasions at Ibiza Goes Hard, including what was undoubtedly the hardest boat party in history, and Defqon.1 Festival Australia all the way on the other side of the world. 2013 was also the year that Partyraiser started focusing on a new experience by launching a series of solo performances in Holland and Germany, adding Italy a year later. Multiple hours of non-stop Partyraiser madness, what more could you wish for? The biggest highlight came in October 2013 when Partyraiser was chosen to host his own area at Thrillogy in the Jaarbeurs Utrecht, next to Frontliner and Adaro. He invited friends, colleagues and personal heroes like Paul Elstak, Nosferatu, Tieum, F. NoIze and Drokz to celebrate this loud and special occasion with him. Thrillogy sold out for the first time and this crown on his career has left a deep and lasting impression.
In the Summer of 2013, Partyraiser founded his own record label, Partyraiser Records. A platform for his musical output, yet also for new talented producers who deserve a chance in the spotlight. While the hardcore sound is moving and developing, getting slower on one side, Partyraiser thrives to push it to the hardest edge on the other side. Because as we all know: hardcore has to ram you right in the chest and shouldn’t rub your back smoothly. From the man himself, tracks like “Our Power” (with Darkcontroller), “Like An Animal,” “From The Westcoast” and “Crime Partners” (with Darkcontroller) were released on the label, giving a heavy taste of his own sound. A reward came in 2014, when Partyraiser Records was chosen as ‘Best New Hardcore Label’ by HDM Awards in the UK. Also, DJs throughout the hardcore scene started supporting the label by playing its tracks. Apart from the fact that Partyraiser now ran his own record label, he found renewed interest in producing in general. More focus on music, but all meant to keep his DJ sets fresh, original and hard as steel. Cooperating in the studio with fellow noisemaker Drokz resulted in the EP “Who’s The Hardest” that was released on the Masters of Hardcore record label. And there is more to come.
This year has already held some major highlights for Partyraiser, including his performance at the famous club Pacha in the Spanish village of La Pineda, making himself the first mainstream hardcore DJ to hit this venue with distorted kicks. Furthermore, Partyraiser rocked the mainstages of Masters of Hardcore, Hardshock Festival and Together We Are Hardcore. Outside the country, among other events, he made his way to Germany for Mayday and to Sweden for the Monday Bar. At the moment, Partyraiser spins more outside than within the country and travels great numbers of air miles, making him a Gold Member of the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, just to give you an idea. A new challenge for Partyraiser was the creation of the anthem for Harmony of Hardcore, which he produced together with F. Noize, including vocals by MC Syco and his American friend El Niño. The anthem, released on Partyraiser Records, captures the ultimate hardcore feeling with its destructive kicks and great atmosphere. With the summer of 2014 in full motion, there are a number of big events on the doorstep. Defqon.1 Festival will be the place where Partyraiser and his partner in crime, Drokz, will team up to destroy the Black stage, whereas the Dominator mainstage is also on this man’s hit list. Another upcoming milestone is the iconic Tomorrowland, where Partyraiser will be representing the edge of hardcore at the Q-dance stage on both weekends. And as if it wasn’t enough, Partyraiser will be returning to party island Ibiza during Ibiza Goes Hard and will be playing twice at Decibel Outdoor Festival.
After ten years of sitting in the front seat of a mad rollercoaster at full speed, the end of the ride is not yet in sight. Stronger than ever, still harder than the rest and 100% mayhem at every set he plays. Can you handle the heat of a raging BPM attack? Try to keep up with the beats of Partyraiser!