It is with a heavy heart I write this today, having woke up this morning to find an email from a dear friend in San Francisco informing me of Scott's passing.
Where it not for the music of Scott Hardkiss and is soul brothers, Robbie and Gavin, I may never have moved to San Francisco and I have no doubt my life would be vey different.
Like many young ravers growing up on the East Coat in the early 90's, the music of the Hardkiss Brothers touched me on a profound level. Whenever they came to town, we were there, knowing in our hearts the night would be magical. His early works under the name God Within, "Rain Cry" and "The Poenix", helped provide the soundtrack to our halcyon days and nights.
Long before the viral power of the internet, there were rumors circulating of this unreleased remix of almost mythical proportions; the Hardkiss Remix of Elton John's "Rocket Man". When I finally heard it played by Scott at a rave held in an abandoned North Carolina church around five in the morning with the sun streaming through the stained glass window's, it truly felt like a religious experience, impossible to really explain unless you were there. Years later, I would find myself in the Hardkiss office in San Francisco holding a copy of the original DAT tape of that remix. But that would happen later.
For me and many I knew, the psychedelic house sounds of the Hardkiss Brothers defined what we knew to be happening on the other side of the country during those years and I longed to be a part of it. We played, studied and cherished those early records as if they were audio dispatches from a different, more beautiful planet. I can honestly say the album, "Delusions of Grandeur", changed my life.
I first met Scott personally at a party he played at the Millennium Center in Greensboro, North Carolina around 1995. I was 18 or 19 years old and found myself upstairs in the artist dressing rooms, face to face with someone I idolized. I remember his kindness as we spoke and his willingness to record a promo spot for my college radio show. After the party ended, I replayed that casette tape the whole way home, listening to the words on it… "Shalom. This is Scott Hardkiss from San Francisco, California and you are listening to Future Listening with Tee Cardaci."
Through that radio show, I forged a relationship with Niven Bonar, the label head at Hardkiss and close friend of the boys. I eagerly awaited the newest promos he would send me from the West Coast and, when a package arrived one day containing a stack of their newest single, "Acid Funk", I was ecstatic. I brought them out to our Fresh party that week, happily distributing copies to friends, and playing every mix on the record at our party that night. I also looked forward to our conversations where I would report back to him with my feedback and which songs I was charting that week. But mostly I looked forward to these conversations because it was small chance to learn more about what was going on out in San Francisco in those heady days. I'll always remember the one conversation we had in 1996 that ended with an offer to come to San Francisco to intern for their label. Their was no money involved but that hardly mattered. I had been given the opportunity, or at least a good excuse to tell my parents, to move to San Francisco were I hoped to learn from those guys whose music so inspired me. A couple months later I would be on the other side of the country, having a drink with Scott and the boys, celebrating Gavin's bachelor party in Scott's San Francisco loft. It was all so surreal to me.
Although I never had the chance to know Scott as well as I would get to know Robbie, Gavin and the other Hardkiss family members; Niven, Wade, Charlotte and the band of merry pranksters that staffed their office, his influence on the path my life took after hearing his music was immeasurable and I am forever grateful.
It is with great sadness but eternal love that I send out my deepest condolences today to all in the extended Hardiss and Sunburn family and to all who new Scott or were touched by his music. Let us celebrate the fact that we had him in our lives and let his spirit live on through his music. Rest in peace, mate, and thank you for all the light you helped let into my life.
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