Gavin Hardkiss is a South African born DJ and music producer based in California. He makes albums under the name Hawke and runs a little outfit called Hardkiss Music.

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He was born in Johannesburg South Africa. In the early 90’s, along with faux brothers Robbie and Scott, Gavin helped pioneer the American electronic music scene with the groundbreaking record label Hardkiss Music. Hardkiss quickly joined the ranks of the international DJ elite, DJing at raves and clubs in cities throughout the world, eventually reaching legendary status with the release of the classic double album, Delusions of Grandeur. Delusions of Grandeur reached number one on the Rolling Stone Magazine alternative charts. Subsequently, he has produced multiple experimental albums under the guise of Hawke.

Gavin Hardkiss is an electronic musician, DJ, label owner, producer, remixer, author and artist. He has remixed the likes of Youssou N’Dour, Mazzy Star, Elton John and Michael Franti, and performed alongside Africa Bambaataa, Derrick May, Snoop Dogg and The Buena Vista Social Club. In 2010, the song Mundo Via Afrika was featured on the official Sony World Cup album “Hello Africa,” alongside the best of contemporary African musicians. In 2013 he self-published a novel titled Cubic Lust.

Early Music Life
In 1987, while at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Hardkiss met Scott Friedel (Scott Hardkiss) and the two began a musical friendship and partnership that would continue until Scott’s untimely passing in April 2014. With an infatuation for alternative music and DJ culture, they frequented nightclubs and attended concerts in Philadelphia and New York soaking up the perculating dance music of Chicago, Detroit and Europe. After attending, Glastonbury Music Festival in 1990, they began to a series of underground events called Bliss in Philadelphia which were a clash of Indie Dance and DJ culture featuring bands and DJs.

After graduating in May 1991, Gavin and Scott packed little more than turntables into the back of a black Saab and drove to San Francisco California. There they brought Robert Cameron (Robbie Hardkiss) into the Hardkiss fold and together began to produce rave and club night events, and started the Hardkiss Music record label.

They started to explore music production with proceeds earned from Hardkiss events. Initially they rented studio time in local Hip Hop studios including Third Floor Productions and Jam Studios. With a strong desire to go deeper into the creative realm, at age twenty two, Hardkiss bought his first electronic music equipment including an EMU Emax sampler keyboard and proceeded to begin learning how to create electronic music. Starting with samples and MIDI triggered drum machines, demos for the first Hardkiss singles including 3 Nudes in A Purple Garden and Raincry were created in a garage studio.

Style
Hardkiss’ style is a hybrid of house, techno, acid, disco with tribal psychedelic influences.. In a review of the Hardkiss album 1991, it was noted in Big Shot Magazine that “the trio never met a dance music genre they didn’t like.” Gavin Hardkiss DJ sets are often different from the music he produces. Hawke albums weave between tempos, integrating live and programmed percussion together with electronic and organic performances. Regarding DJ technique, he has confessed his love for making people dance to music that they have never heard before and having a different style for every occasion.

In 2014, Magnetic Magazine writer Thomas Kelly observed that “his melodic sixth sense is perfectly tuned to the rave heyday of early ‘90s California.” Of the Hawke album Namaquadisco, Entertainment Weekly said that it “draws unlikely sources into its house-music impressionism” and that “it advances a trippy and joyous strain of American dance-floor imagineering that should give the Eurocentrics pause.”
Hardkiss has acknowledged the music of Prince, 1980s New Romantic and late 1980s Chicago House music and Detroit Techno as major influences on his style. He is a strong supporter of new Djing and production technology and his sound progresses with the use of new technologies and techniques.

Hardkiss Music
In 1991, Hardkiss Music was born as a record label. Initially releasing a catalog of vinyl singles, the label also released the CD compilation Delusions of Grandeur as well as several DJ mixes.
Hardkiss Music introduced the world to a new Californian Electronic Dance Music sound with releases by Hawke, God Within, Little Wing, Rabbit in the Moon, T Tauri and Symbiosis.

Hardkiss Music closed as a record label in 1997 after securing a multi album recording deal with Sony Music/ Columbia Records.

The label re-emerged in 2014 to release the new Hardkiss album ‘1991,’ and to facilitate the digital release of the Hardkiss catalog. The album ‘1991’ is a collection of songs made by Gavin & Robbie Hardkiss from 2010 to 2013. It is named after the year that Hardkiss was formed. The album has been called a “modern dance classic” by Kris Needs and the San Francisco Chronicle’s Aiden Vaziri writes that “the signature Hardkiss sound remains so firmly intact (as Hardkiss) looks back on the euphoric era.”

Hawke Albums
Gavin Hardkiss has recorded five albums and multiple singles under the guise of Hawke. The albums can be loosely described as a series of sound clashes, collaborations and musical experiments that veer off the path of conventional dance music.

The first Hawke album, Namaquadisco, was released in 1998 on Sunburn Recordings in the USA and Distance in France. Entertainment Weekly observed that Namaquadisco “draws unlikely sources into its house-music impressionism.”

Heatstroke, recorded in the Hardkiss Studio based at Frisco Studios in the Lower Haight in San Francisco, was released by Six Degrees Records in 2000. The single Party People was a breakout into Billboard Magazine’s Dance Charts.

Love Won Another was recorded in a farmhouse in Calistoga California and released on Eighth Dimension Records in 2004. The album spawned two remix albums and several music videos. The Orlando Weekly described it as “thick with the stoned-out, everything’s-cool-man optimism.”
In 2009, an album titled +++, recorded in San Diego and San Rafael California, was released on Eighth Dimension Records. It was inaugurated with a series of art gallery shows in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Orlando featuring multi-media works inspired by songs from the album.

In 2017, Love In Stars was released through a PledgeMusic crowdfunding campaign that included a treasure hunt for Gold USBs containing Hawke music which were hidden in the hills around the Bay Area.

Other 
In 1998, Hardkiss created a three part musical landscape entitled Museo Hypnotica for the Jean Giraud designed Airtight Garage environment at the Sony Metreon in San Francisco.

In 2008, Hardkiss worked with the Zukov Ballet Theater on original music production and DJ performance at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

Between 2011 and 2013, he had a weekly radio show on pirate Radio Valencia called In My Boom, which highlighted local San Francisco dance music.

Hardkiss has also recorded music under aliases including The Lower Haight High Hitters, Curious Yellow and Sunburn Kidz.

23 Comments

  1. Brian Ackerman
    June 26, 2009 @ 12:08 am

    I have always enjoyed your music and creativity, and look forward to future releases. Thanks for hours of acoustical enjoyment!

    Reply

  2. dovey
    November 12, 2009 @ 2:26 am

    Gavin hi there – in 2002 or so (when groovetech was still alive) you had a 3-4hr set video – that was tops. it started with you behind the decks and as the hours rolled on – lights went dim, more people showed up and started grooving – it was good to watch AND to listen to

    will that ever get online again? would love to get back into that. keep up the good work man.

    from brisbane, australia.

    Reply

    • gavin hardkiss
      November 12, 2009 @ 10:43 am

      not sure what happened to groovetech and all its content but it bit the dust a few years back ….. i’m sure there are heaps of good sets that went with it and for that matter a bunch of bad ones too.

      Reply

  3. 3m3rson
    January 24, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

    I copped a whole bunch of old broadcasts from Groovetch and the Beta Loung back then. The one Groovetech file I have is a 28 MB .RM file from No-28-2000. I don’t even know how to play that format anymore!

    Reply

  4. Ricky A
    February 16, 2010 @ 6:55 pm

    Do you guys remember a party in Ft Lauderdale at Synder park. You guys gave out tapes. 1 from each of you guys. I have the Robbie live at Pure Space. I cant find yours or the other one. That was an awesome party!!!

    Reply

  5. Saul Marinoni
    October 12, 2010 @ 2:09 pm

    There’s not been a more important figure in the pure fenceless art of electronic music, and I say that knowing full well the weight of the world a statement like that carries, and fear absolutely zero recoil or sense of exaggeration from it. The album ‘Delusions of Grandeur’ changed my life, period. That said, Gavin’s new work and the ability to carefully, yet not pretentiously, defy being catergorized into any shallow genre or subgenre of electronic music other than ‘audio art via soundscapes’ is thee single North Star which keeps the light lit in my lantern in becoming ever evolving as a electronic musician, as well as opening up every single soul around me to new dimensions of the true horizonlessness of electronica. Tear up and burn your outlines. Break down your 4 walled world of ‘this is this’ and ‘that is that’. Download this man’s music and DJ sets…draw from his inspirations..seek out the paths of the music he selects. These are the doors to the other side.

    Saul Marinoni
    5 October 2010

    Reply

    • gavin hardkiss
      October 22, 2010 @ 5:33 am

      thanx for the kind words and complements … i ofter see myself as a modern artist fitting more in the categories of cubist, surrealist or situationalist than into the confines of genre centric electronic music …. i work with moods and ideas …. i am appreciative that you recognize this … c u soon +++

      Reply

  6. Saul Marinoni
    October 12, 2010 @ 2:13 pm

    I can’t wait to see you in San Fran in November, good sir. Your music is such an inspiration and a catalyst for disconnecting and restructuring my thought patterns on electronic music, beyond anything I’ve ever heard. Would be a true honor to meet you. I hope you and yours are well.

    Reply

  7. Guillermo Cazal
    July 11, 2011 @ 12:15 am

    Do you still keep your masters intact?

    I had this: Bumblehaun (Hawke’s Kiss Mix)

    But unfortunately the best track of the 12″ was never released on CD or as a digital release.

    So… : }

    Can I?

    In FLAC or AIFF?

    Best regards,

    Guill

    * I pay for it.

    Reply

  8. rob spear
    October 17, 2011 @ 2:25 am

    Remember the set you had at the Sweetwater in Mill Valley?? Thank you so much and playing out that day!

    Reply

    • gavin hardkiss
      October 30, 2011 @ 7:07 am

      must have been really good cause i don’t remember

      Reply

  9. Hunter
    December 17, 2011 @ 9:34 am

    Hey Gav !

    Just found this site and there is some reallly cool stuff here..
    Glad to hear you are still forging the musical path and making those machines speak..
    Hope you and the family are great and look forward to seeing you in the UK in 2012 !!!

    Hunter

    Reply

    • gavin hardkiss
      December 28, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

      thanks hunter!!! will be in the UK next June and will need suggestions for some good gigs …. let me know what you know …. blast off 2012 +++

      Reply

  10. clare
    January 21, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

    Hey Gavin,

    I would love to send you some digital promos from my label Intelligent Audio. 🙂

    Please let me know an email where I could send them to. Sorry to post as a comment – was looking for your email but can’t find it…

    Its a mix of deep tech house, nujazz, funk, chill out etc.

    Best wishes Clare x

    Clare Thwaites
    Owner, Intelligent Audio

    http://intelligentaudio.net/
    http://soundcloud.com/intelligentaudio

    Reply

  11. amy hammond
    March 14, 2012 @ 10:21 pm

    GGGavinnnnnn……! as I am moving my hard CD’s into my itunes library, I came across your “weekend”. just HAD to say hey yet again. noticed my now home town orlando weekly had some good things to add to your fan base. good to hear, good to see, good to remember all good things in our life!
    congrats on keeping it strong!
    amy
    circa LA 1991
    the elevator series

    Reply

  12. Phenix Crowley
    November 26, 2012 @ 10:27 pm

    Man I’m so glad to see your still kicking the funk my brother. To refresh your memory on who I am I’m with The Bayou Brothers that are HUGE fans of everything Hardkiss and years ago you bestowed us a very high honor of “almost” becoming a part of your Digital Sunburn outing that never took flight. Holla at a brother sometime and fell free to catch some free downloads of our music at our soundcloud page and don’t forget to check us out at Facebook.com/thebayoubros

    Much love and respect my brotha!
    Phenix
    The Bayou Bros

    Reply

    • gavin hardkiss
      November 27, 2012 @ 7:10 pm

      what up bro? good to hear from you. so glad to hear you’re still rocking it too +++

      Reply

  13. Nigel Warner
    November 28, 2012 @ 1:25 am

    Gavin,My son like you has been making music for some time in the London area combining studio work and DJ’ing and is looking for a break through in this business,any ideas for him,here is a link to some of his material.
    Thought I might drop you a line as you are an expert in this business and may be able to provide some contacts…… cheers Nigel Warner
    I settled in the Philadelphia area and saw you had lived here at sometime in your life prior to moving to the West Coast so I can certainly get him out this way if you are interested.

    http://www.discogs.com/artist/Luke+Warner

    Reply

    • gavin hardkiss
      December 17, 2012 @ 7:20 pm

      Nigel … tough business +++ my suggestion is be the best you can be for as long as you can and find another way to earn a living +++ doing it for the passion is enough reward in itself

      Reply

  14. Chris Timberman
    December 30, 2016 @ 4:24 pm

    Wanted to say that I got to see all three Hardkiss together twice and both times I always left with a shit eating grin on my face and positivity in my heart. It really is what it was about to me.

    Reply

    • gavin hardkiss
      January 4, 2017 @ 4:10 am

      That’s awesome …. we try bring the fun and the love in one package.

      Reply

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