Saluting Scott Hardkiss

Posted by Billyjam, April 2, 2013 11:49am | Post a Comment

God Within (aka Scott Hardkiss) "Raincry" (1993)

Since the sad news of the premature passing of DJ/producer/remixer Scott Hardkiss surfaced I have been meaning to post an Amoeblog tribute to this extremely talented man who was so closely associated with the early 90's Bay Area rave scene. Scott Hardkiss (born Scott Friedel), whose sudden death last week shocked the global dance music community, was only 43 years of age and while the exact nature of his death are not yet known many Facebook postings by those who knew him indicated that he had suffered a brain aneurism. What is known is that two years ago Scott underwent serious eye transplant surgery to restore vision in his left eye, which had gone blind from a degenerative disease known as Keratoconus, but the artist had reported how the vision in his new eye was worsening and was causing him problems over the past year.

As one-third of Hardkiss (aka the Hardkiss Brothers along with non-siblings Gavin Hardkiss and Robbie Hardkiss) Scott was instrumental in helping to pioneer the U.S. rave scene via memorable informal rave parties and pioneering productions and remixes that fused techno and house, with psychedelic and breakbeats and other genres. Scott's introduction to rave culture and music began when he and Gavin attended the UK's famed Glastonbury Music Festival in 1990 and were exposed to acid house. Soonafter back in the States they set up their base out West in San Francisco where, in addition to throwing underground parties, in early nineties released their debut album, Magical Sounds of the Underground. Later in 1994 they would set up their own Sunburn label to release other artists music as well as some of their own. Collectively and individually they recorded and remixed a lot of music and in the late nineties Hardkiss landed a Columbia/Sony deal although like many major label electronic music deals did not pan out as well as hoped.

As well as been a fan of Hardkiss from attending many of their early nineties Bay Area rave parties (I particularly recall one wild and crazy one on a beach!) I knew Scott in passing from back in the mid nineties when he and his fellow hardworking Hardkiss brothers worked out of their Lower Haight Hardkiss recording studio. The Steiner Street building, owned by Jim Larkin who had his own R&B Frisco Studios in the San Francisco Victorian, also shared space with Bayview hip-hop recording studios run by TC and The Enhancer where local rap acts like 11/5, Totally Insane, Rappin 4-Tay, and Cellski recorded. While visiting those rap acts I would often run into Hardkiss. By the latter nineties Scott Hardkiss had returned home East to NYC (he was born in the Bronx and began his DJ career playing hip-hop) to live in Brooklyn. A few years ago Scott, who had recorded and remixed (credits include Elton John, The Flaming Lips, and George Clinton) under the alias God Within, released his long overdue full length solo album under his own name - 2009's guest-heavy, electronic music varied Technicolor Dreamer.

DJ/producer Jason Drummond, aka DJ Spun (Rong Records), who also relocated from the Bay Area out to NYC several years ago to become Music Director for PS1, is among those in shock over the death. "So tragic to lose our brother Scott Hardkiss, and way too early. The spirit that he and the Hardkiss family brought to San Francisco and the world as well as their music both old and new will live on," said Drummond adding that, "It was great seeing the release of Scott's solo album and live show in NY a few years ago and I was lucky enough to remix the track 'Revolution' from the upcoming Gavin & Robbie Hardkiss album 1991 +. The music the Hardkiss family has been making in the present is just as vibrant and relevant as in the early 90's!"

Digging in the dance music vinyl and CD crates at Amoeba as well as online at you will find a lot of Hardkiss related material. Look in compilations too where for example the beautiful other-worldly Scott Hardkiss production "Infinitely Gentle Blows (Infinite Aural Hallucination Mix)" (check it out below) can be found on both the The Baroness' great mix CD The Royal Treatment (Sunbeam) and on the Groove movie soundtrack on Kinetic. For a more indepth discography look under the Scott Hardkiss Discogs page.

And for even more of Scott Hardkiss’s music and mixes check out the late great artist's Soundcloud page where his bio sums up the many faceted creative individual that was Scott Hardkiss as: “DJ, producer, remixer, composer, arranger, multi-media artist, designer, writer, inventor, label owner, radio host, mercenary shaman, agent provocateur, 21st-century renaissance cat & ill mothafucka.”  Indeed! Rest in peace Scott Hardkiss.

Hawke & God Within [Gavin + Scott] "Acid Funk (Original Scott Hardkiss Mix)"

Scott Hardkiss "Infinitely Gentle Blows (Infinite Aural Hallucination Mix)"

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Sf Rave (3), Dj Spun (2), God Within (1), Gavin Hardkiss (1), Hardkiss Brothers (1), Jason Drummond (1), Scott Hardkiss (1)