Despite making music for the best part of 15 years, Marquis Hawkes remains unknown to the masses and a mystery even to those in the know. Originally from Glasgow, now residing in Berlin, the pseudonym ‘Marquis Hawkes’ enables the man behind the mask/bandana/hands to distance his personal life from the media spotlight; his biography on Resident Advisor encapsulates this attitude perfectly: “Listen to the music – that’s all you need to know ;)” and indeed that is all there is to know about Marquis Hawkes.
Signed exclusively to Glasgow’s now infamous Dixon Avenue Basement Jams (DABJ) label (run by his long-time friends Dan Monox and Kenny Grieve) in late 2012, this partnership has since produced four 4-track EPs: Cabrini Green, Sex, Drugs & House, Higher Forces At Work, and Feed The Beast. Each release draws on a similar set of influences- from ghetto to Latin, acid to funk, soul and disco- to create a sound that mirrors the labels mantra “real rockin’ raw shit from the streets for the clubs”. With major DJ support from such heavyweights as Eats Everything, Boddika, Jackmaster, Detroit Swindle and Erol Alkan it is no surprise that these records flew off the shelves, and DABJ releases have since received the lucrative “buy on sight” status on Discogs.
Marquis Hawkes makes music that wouldn’t have sounded out of place in The Warehouse in the early 80’s, if it weren’t for the quality of his sound production, which sets it a class apart. Years spent working as a sound technician have undoubtedly contributed to his ability to create such a polished final product. The fact that he manages to retain a raw, gritty tone whilst maintaining such high sound quality is testament to his skill and dedication as a producer. An unparalleled knowledge of not only the history of house music, but of jazz (he is a fan of such luminaries as Miles Davis and Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker), soul, hip-hop, funk and disco. Aspects of these influences are clearly audible in his music, with each production an homage to the old school.
Since his first release, Cabrini Green, in October 2012 Marquis has received a Bubblin’ Up profile from XLR8R in March last year tipping him as an artist to watch, and was subsequently named as one of their Best New Artists of 2013. Marquis is no one trick pony restricted to ghetto influenced house however, with all of his releases to date including an acid house number, whilst his Juxta Position alias offers an outlet for his “tuffer edged”, darker, techno-influenced projects.
Despite this studio-focused background, Hawkes’ current primary motivation is as a DJ. As he asks in his XLR8R interview: “What’s the point of doing all this stuff if you’re not going to do it properly?”. His exclusively vinyl DJ sets are a reflection of his 20 year passion for the genre, seamlessly blending a mix of classic and contemporary house. Vibing off the crowd, Hawkes’ sets vary from the livelier ghetto influenced sounds of Dance Mania to, as he calls it, “real house shit” from the likes of Omar S and Theo Parrish. With mixes for Juno, Feel My Bicep, XLR8R, and Sub Club already under his belt, and having kicked off 2014 with a set for Boiler Room in Berlin you can expect at least two hours of truly deep grooves whenever he steps into the booth.