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Gavin Hardkiss Interview


Gavin Hardkiss Interview

Gavin Hardkiss

Since 1990 Gavin Hardkiss has been one of the biggest players in the American dance music industry. Alongside his siblings Robbie and Scott, Gavin has served as a label-boss, performance act and Disc Jockey; promoter and a key industry figure. Any devoted fan of house music has been following his career while increasingly seeing his name appearing in tracklistings and on playbills around the globe. In a recent interview, I sat with the man to catch up as he dished out the goods about his new album and his career past.

Jon Walker: Over the past 15 years you've been very instrumental in helping to guide the sound of American dance music. Back in the days when dance music was truly underground, where did you go for inspiration?
Gavin Hardkiss: I was living in NY in 1986 and in Philadelphia from 1988-1991. New York was red hot and my sister and I used to run between Mars, The Tunnel, Morissey, Limelight and The Palladium. Then in Philly, I used to go to a small Monday night party on a caboose called Silk City that King Britt used to put together, and Josh Wink used to DJ at some of the frat parties on the Penn campus and he had an amazing acid house night at The Bank. Traveling around Europe in 1990, I went to the Glastonbury Music Festival where I saw the Happy Monday, The Cure, and De La Soul on one stage and partied all night with the Tonka Sound System. You can imagine how out of control that experience was and it had a huge impact on me. Between 1990 and 1991, I hooked up with Frankie Bones and the whole Brooklyn Crew and would join them for renegade parties on the train tracks in Brooklyn and on Shelter Island. Those parties were amazing and were attended by a list of techno warriors like Adam X, Jimmy Crash, Mundo Musique, Joey Beltram and Heather Heart.

When I moved to San Francisco there was a strong British Disco House & Space Funk thing happening and the parties were amazing. That's when we started the Hardkiss label and I began producing music myself.

JW: You come from (essentially) the most popular dance music legacy. What role did each of your brothers play in you're early involvement and how do your careers line up today?
Gavin Hardkiss: When we got things rolling in San Francisco in the early '90s, Robbie was the little party gnome, Scott was the mysterious DJ wizard and I was the mastermind managing the label. As time passed, our mutual passion for music pushed us all into the DJ world and then deep into the production world. Now we're all producers making a wide spectrum of cool innovative music.

JW: You've been doing loads of commercial production such as product branding, TV work, video game soundtracks and the lot. Did this naturally fall into place or is this something you worked towards?
Gavin Hardkiss: It's all about hard work. Nothing comes easy my friend. Dedication, devotion and shameless self-promotion. There are a million brilliant musicians with a billion great songs. There's a great song made every minute.

JW: What are the centerpieces of your studio kit? What is so special about these pieces?
Gavin Hardkiss: Laptop. Who would have though 10 years ago that I would be able to fit my entire studio in a briefcase. Magic happens!!

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