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Part of the Dixon Avenue Basement Jams takeover
We featured Berlin-based Brit Marquis Hawkes last year as part of the In:Motion takeover, and are excited to have him back. Now a heavyweight name in house and techno, he’s been signed to the prestigious Houndstooth and AUS Music record labels. Bursting onto the scene in 2012, he released a trio of EPs on Glasgow’s Dixon Avenue Basement Jams, instantly making a name for himself with raw production and sounds of classic Chicago-style house. 2014 saw another flurry of work from Hawkes, releasing another record on DABJ, delivering records for European labels as well as signing a deal with Houndstooth record label, who released his Fifty Fathoms Deep EP. You’d be fooled if you thought he was new to the music game, however, as he was making music fifteen years prior to finding success under the alias Marquis Hawkes and has been buying records most of his life.
Hawkes’ highly-acclaimed debut album Social Housing was released in June 2016 on Houndstooth, featuring twelve tracks exploring the realms of bass, house and disco. The album name references public housing projects, similar to his 2012 EP Cabrini Green, named after the notorious housing project in Chicago. This issue is personal to Hawkes, as he grew up on a council estate in London and now lives on one in Berlin. He has mentioned in interviews that he’s thankful for the government support, and reckons that without it he wouldn’t be able to make music. The album is full of vintage U.S. house tracks and dance floor jams, with splashes of groovy funk and soul. Every track has its own energy to it, giving us light and shade, ramped up and subdued moments in equal amounts. The result is a set of tracks full of authenticity, joy and emotion. We are excited to see what 2017 brings.
Marquis Hawkes has chosen dedicate his Tracks Of The Day selection to one of his biggest inspirations – Paul Johnson. His reasons for this are below:
“I don’t think there is anyone in the Chicago house scene who has been so influential and prolific, whilst also being so underrated. He pretty much defined what I’d call the more groove-driven side of the Ghetto House / Beat Trax sound of Chicago House, and had a hand behind the scenes with many other Dance Mania and Relief Records artists alongside the productions with his own name on.
“A lot of people associate DJ Funk and DJ Deeon as the mainstay of the Dance Mania sound, and whilst those two producers have been responsible for many influential cuts of their own, and are legendary in their own rights, for me it was always all about Paul Johnson. From silky smooth house tracks or slamming beat jams all the way through to the hit of ‘Get Get Down’, Johnson always seemed to nail it during that 1994-2001 period.
“Additionally, I’ll always admire his stoic demeanour in the face of all the adversity he has been dealt in his life, and it always pains me when I hear or read of him continuing to struggle through life due to his disabilities and crippling costs of healthcare in the US. Paul was shot in the neck at the age of 18, which left him paralysed from the waist down, confining him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, and then in 2010, after already losing one leg, had to have the other amputated after a serious car accident. To me, this makes his stunning achievements in music even more remarkable.”