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Hardwave is a unique take on more conventional wave music. Since 2016, the wave scene — originally an online phenomenon — has experienced an increase in physical events. Following this increase of physical shows played by wave DJs & producers, in 2017, Perth-based producers Skeler and Ytho began incorporating elements from trance and hardstyle into wave to appeal to the broader festival and club audience, thus popularising the genre. This led the wave scene to evolve into the emergent subgenre known as hardwave.

As such, elements like distorted square & saw tooth leads and arpeggios are frequently added with elements of regular wave music, namely, a reese bass, trap drums, chopped vocals and atmospheric melody lines. The music is usually also accompanied with futuristic visuals, sometimes overlapping the cyberpunk aesthetic (the cyberpunk connection is largely thanks to the Polish producer enjoii for making use of such visuals alongside his music), but mainly focusing on JDM cars, tuner culture and generally riding the line of the phonk and witch house aesthetics but with a more futuristic spin.

Since becoming a stand-alone subgenre in the wave scene, many producers have put their unique spin on the genre. Producers like Deadcrow and Ytho have taken a lot of influence from hardstyle making use of harder kick drums and more aggressive sound design. Others like Heimanu have taken influence from other genres of dance music like future bass creating a less underground and more 'mainstream' take on the genre. .

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