AVA Mix Series: Marion Hawkes
To celebrate the launch of her new record store, Sound Advice Belfast, we caught up with Marion Hawkes, one half of LGBTIQA+ disco powerhouse Ponyhawke. Marion has championed the role of women within the local scene by hosting female exclusive DJ workshops. Ahead of her set at AVA September 2021, she provides us an interview and an esoteric hour of chugging electronica for AVA Mix 003.
How have you been doing in these strange times?
I’ve been good, tackled many a banana bread and done a fair bit of DIY and gardening. The wild DJ lifestyle.
I suppose like everyone else trying to stay creative, we’ve all had to turn our hand to other things the past 18 months which hasn’t honestly been a bad thing. I’d just started to get into production but then had this notion of opening a record store.
You’ve just recently opened your own record shop, Sound Advice. Could you tell us a little about it and what you’ve got in stock?
The shop will be based in the upcoming East of the city in a multi purpose warehouse space called Banana Block which will house a living museum amongst retail and hospitality. I cant divulge too much about that right now but it’ll be worth the wait.
The idea behind Sound Advice was to offer a selection of music that isn’t available in Belfast right now. Basing it off personal taste and current trends and your only option is to source that online rather than in person. Electronic music is severely under-represented here at the moment.
Stock wise we’ll be pushing the more eclectic and expansive club sounds, balearic and lo-fi lushness, a strong soul and disco presence. Alongside a great second hand selection as that’s usually where all the interesting bits are found.
What’s it like running a record store in Belfast?
Up until now I haven’t been in sole charge of one but I imagine it will be hard graft but rewarding. It will have its ups and downs like any small business but what better way to put the day in doing something you love, I’m up for the challenge.
Getting everything ready to go has been intense and there isn’t a single day that I don’t have record distribution lists to go through so it can be overwhelming trying to find the right things for the store. But I’ll find my groove shaping and growing it and I’m very excited about it’s potential!
You also run a night called Ponyhawke. Are you excited to get running nights again?
Yeah absolutely, it’s been such a long stretch and I think we are all ready for it y’know, to have that big release of energy. I know there is a fair amount of anxiety to go alongside that, not from just the crowd but the people behind the nights, but once we do this a few times that will pass. There is going to be a real thirst for new sounds so I’m excited to hear what’s going to come out of the lockdown pause.
If you had to go B2B with one artist from this year’s AVA lineup, who would it be and why?
Probably Optimo for the sheer depth of music they would fire out, that would be one to keep you one your toes!
What are your favourite moments from AVA’s past?
Midland’s set from 2018 was a proper masterclass in DJing and up there with one of the best sets I’ve ever seen.
My own BR from 2019 for obvious reasons, it was so surreal and I was properly bricking it! I’ve never felt such a buzz before though, I was on cloud nine all day.
Chris Hanna/Carlton Doom who came on after me, his sent properly went off, he really vibes off a crowd and its so great to watch.
The locals always bring it to be fair.
If you had to recommend three things to do in Belfast during AVA, what would they be?
A trip to Yugo for a quality feed is essential, swing by Never Never for some top notch threads and a bit of record shopping obviously! Starr Records on Berry Street has an amazing selection of obscure and niche new releases, while their sister shop Dragon has some great second hand gems, as does Voodoo Soup over in Smithfield, Timeslip in Botanic and Andy’s Records Stall in St Georges Market are also worth dropping by.
How did you approach this AVA Mix?
I always enjoy building up a set as you can really throw a good few left of centre choices in there so thats the vibe I’ve gone for with the mix. Some trippy chuggers and ALFOS type nuggets. I don’t think I’m quite ready to bash out peak time bangers right now, maybe I need one or two gigs under my belt before I can get in that headspace.
One more for the warm up or comedown.
Anything else you’d like to shout out?
Shouts to all who have supported me on this journey setting up the record shop, it’s needed a lot of push and encouragement at times so I’m grateful I have such solid circle around me.
ELLLL – Housebreaker (Parris’ Slo Motion Remix)
DJN4 – The Orm
Transit State – Angst
Tornado Wallace – Midnight Mania
Fantastic Man – Robotic Temptation
Perdu – Yesterday’s Tomorrow
Sleep D – Red Rock (IV Mix)
Sputnik One – Vain
Exquisite Corpse – Kupuri
Days Of Being Wild – Shamanic Body Music
Rheinzand – Blind (Superpitcher Remix)
Pardon Moi – Power To The People
Boot & Tax – Celeste
Alleged Witches – Salu-Ki
Pleasure Pool – Night Scars
Eagles & Butterflies – Can’t Stop (Gerd Janson Remix)