Today marks one year since the passing of Scott Hardkiss. His memory has not faded and the impact he has had on many of us is still reverberates.
In the wake of his passing, many memorials were written, including my own, and several tribute mixes were released. As the one year anniversary approached, I was contacted by a kindred spirit on the other side of the globe who was as influenced by Hardkiss as I was, although we had never actually met in person. His name was Steve "Griffo" Griffiths aka Derek Random and he hailed form the west midlands of England but was now living in Spain. We had connected at some point online over our love of quality house music and now he was asking me if I'd like to contribute to a special edition of his radio show dedicated to Scott and the legacy of Hardkiss. I told him it would be an honor and a pleasure.
I contributed a one hour set that was a very personal reflection on the legacy of Hardkiss and the SF house sound they helped to inspire. It was a mixture of some older, obscure tracks by members of Hardkiss, material off the new Hardkiss album, 1991, and a selection of newer material from San Francisco artists and labels, including some of my own material (as Sine Qua Non and 2 Block Radius, with my bro Schnezzy). Steve then integrated that in between two and a half hours of his own mixing, creating something truly special in the process.
When the show aired on My House Your House radio, something very cool happened. Thanks to the diligent promoting that Steve had done, an international community of family and friends (including Gavin and Robbie Hardkiss) gathered on the facebook event page to chat, comment on the music, reminisce and reconnect in real time, a true testament to the lasting legacy of Hardkiss and the family they helped build. This comment from Scott's widow, Stephanie, was particularly moving, "Thanks so much... our daughter came home from school and started dancing ... my heart lept... thanks for putting this together!".
As we remember Scott today, here are some words that Gavin Hardkiss had posted to his facebook page:
There are a lot of ways to lead an honorable life on Earth. You can teach kids, heal the sick, cloth the homeless, build better things or simply make other people laugh. We make music. In honor of Scott Hardkiss, who passed away 1 year ago today, fill your day with 3.5 hours of the Hardkiss sound courtesy of Derek Random and Tee Cardaci
Cheers, brother. Hardkiss forever!
Below is the show, archived on Mixcloud. If you would like to download the show, it is also available on Soundcloud.
If you care to read what I wrote, explaining the reason for inclusion for each track I selected, you can after the break.
Little Wing - Monkey Junction
I used this groove from Robbie's Little Wing project to open with as it was recorded during the time I first got to know him better. The tittle, Monkey Junction, is an intersection in Wilmington, North Carolina, were we were both staying at this time. I also love the fact it uses a sample of DC go go, a sound Robbie and I would know from growing up in Marlyland.
Tranquility Bass - They Came In Peace (Sea Of Tranquility)
Mike Kendall and company were contemporaries of the Hardkiss bros in the early days in SF. They also contributed largely to that psychedelic SF sound. I find this tittle to be an appropriate statement for the boys and their legacy… "they came in peace for all mankind".
Elton John - Rocket Man (Hardkiss Remix)
Hardkiss - Revolution (Hardkiss Brothers Mix)
I opened with the Rocket Man remix in a nod to the past before quickly segueing into the first track off the new Hardkiss album, Revolution… "time to change. time to move on."
Boozy & Swan - Champagne Beat Boogie
This slightly more obscure Harkiss-related track was produced by Robbie and fellow SF dj, Laron. I still remember the first time Laron played the test press for a bunch of us. I always loved this track because it showed the sense of humor. Hardkiss could be responsible for breathtakingly beautiful, spiritual music but they were also always just as much about having a laugh and getting down.
Jamie Principal - Baby Wants To Ride (Harry Knuckles Remix)
This track connects past and present in a less direct way. I know this tune was a big one for the boys, Gav in particular, back in the day. This just-released remix is by Mustafa aka Harry Knuckles, who came up in the Bay Area. When he sent me this for inclusion in the mix, he said simply, "Hardkiss vibe was the thing growing up."
Sine Qua Non - Soapy Tit Wank
Derek urged me to include a few of my own things in this mix so here's an unreleased one of mine that may or may not have been inspired by Robbie's bachelor party
Hardkiss - It's Right (Hawke Mix)
Another one of the new Hardkiss Lp! Loving this tune!
Sunburn Kidz - Kola Kola (Skitour Remix)
This track represents, quite literally, part of the Hardkiss legacy, as it features Gavin's 10 year old daughter doing a sly turn on vocals, along with Joe B from Rebel Crew's son, Scorpio.
Brett Johnson - Furtherer (BJ's Spaced Out Version)
Although Brett is from Texas, his connections to SF are deep and I think the vibe and the message of this tune to fit in here.
Sine Qua Non - Your Bliss
Another unreleased one of mine. Although the spoken bit here came from a quote by Joseph Cambell, the message is also one I learned from the brothers Hardkiss. Stay true to yourself and follow your passion, always!
Lance and Tasho - Free Your Mind
JP Soul - Waiting (Joshua Iz Remix)
Justin Martin and Sammy D - Frisbee Anyone
These next three selections encompass a suite, if you will. They are all upcoming releases on Roam Recordings, an SF label launched by two New York transplants (JP Soul & Chad Mitchell) drawn out West in the 90's due in part to the Hardkiss vibe that the City was becoming known for. Also, interestingly, all the producers involved have a strong connection to The Top, our neighborhood dj bar in the Lower Haight where, when I first moved to SF, the Hardkiss brothers held down a residency where they would not only dj but tend bar. If Hardkiss was/is a family (and it certainly is!), The Top was the "living room".Tasho did Audible Colors there on Wednesdays. Iz did Sunday nights. And before Justin Marin and Sammy D would go on to fame with Dirty Bird and Pillow Talk, they djed together at happy hour back in the late 90's/early 2000's. This represents a small slice of where SF house is in 2014.
2 Block Radius - Peas and Wyatt
This is a project I'm a part of with old friend and brother from my days in the Lower Haight, Schnezzy.
Hawke - Vivos En La Muerte
A lesser known track by Gavin that I've always found beautiful and haunting. In regards to the theme of this mix, it also seemed quite appropriate.
Hardkiss - Broken Hearts
To wind things up, I felt there was nothing better than this moving track off the new album. Broken hearts will mend and the Hardkiss legacy will go on!
Lower Haight High Hitters - House Demon
The outro is taken from another more obscure Hardkiss-related release. Freaky deaky.
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