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Archie Hamilton career defining moments

Andrew Leese profiles the rise of FUSE London resident Archie Hamilton.

A lot has happened in the career of Archie Hamilton since Ibiza Spotlight last sat down with the FUSE London resident almost 9 months ago. Since that day at Benimussa Park, Hamilton has seen his career skyrocket with a number of life-changing moments taking place in the space of a few months.

One catalyst for all these career-defining moments was an early morning set at the FUSE after hours showcase at Sonus Festival, Croatia in August. “It was around 6:00 on the Tuesday morning of the festival. I was following on from Adam Beyer on the outdoor stage. Adam was in full flow and asked if he could play for another 15 minutes. I play a totally different style of music so I let him continue while I sorted my first record out. I knew that the sunrise was in 10 minutes, so I played my own record 'What's In Your Head' as the sun came up. From that moment on, the vibe of the dance floor completely changed.”

The dreamy soundscapes and driving rhythms of 'What's In Your Head' are exactly what makes Hamilton such an exciting prospect in the minimal/dub techno scene across the UK, Europe and South America. Since that morning at Sonus Festival, Archie has released a number of high-quality productions, continued to tour across Europe and South America, joined Artist Alife booking agency and played a big part in FUSE's 8th birthday celebrations. All of these moments lead to Hamilton entering the Resident Advisor Top 100 DJs for 2016 for the first time, debuting at No. 70 alongside artists Chris Liebing, Dubfire and Kerri Chandler.

“The whole RA Top 100 thing was surreal,” says Hamilton. “When the poll came out a friend of mine who works for RA sent me a smiley face in a message on Facebook with the link to it. We hadn't spoken for a while so I didn't think anything of it. I think I was in Australia when RA published the article. When I started to get more and more messages, I thought maybe I could be at No. 99 or No. 100. The further I scrolled down the more I thought it was a joke. When I saw my name and photo at No. 70 I couldn't believe it.”

Loving Life at Sonus Festival - Photography by Justin Gardner

Alongside FUSE founder Enzo Siragusa, Archie was the second FUSE resident to make the RA poll in 2016. Although polls don't really define an artist in electronic music, the impact certain sets or releases can have for an artist who has only been touring full-time for three and a half years is huge. “Since my set at Sonus last summer, I've had at least 10 promoters in Europe pick me up from the airport and tell me how amazing that morning was - it seems to have stayed with a lot of people.”

But it hasn't always been amazing sets at sunrise. Over the years Hamilton has grafted working in jobs he wasn't that into. In 2008 he graduated with a degree in Marketing Management and completed a Point Blank music course that was vital to where he is today. The decision to go full-time with music came when Archie received a phone call from FUSE asking him to play at the party for the first time in 2013. “A few days before the phone call from FUSE, my boss at the time called me into his office and told me I had to decide. He knew I had ambition and aspirations to become a DJ, but he also wanted to promote me but said that I couldn't come into work every Monday looking like a zombie. Although I was making good money in sales I was struggling to find the balance between my job and my first international bookings.”

Before becoming more involved with the guys at FUSE, Hamilton was a regular on the dance floor on a Sunday afternoon at 93 Feet East. Fast forward to the present day and Hamilton is a key member of the crew, releasing music on the label and playing alongside Enzo Siragusa, Seb Zito, Rossko and Rich Nxt as a resident at Village Underground in London and Amnesia Ibiza at HYTE/FUSE.

Works on Sunday - Photography by Daddy's Got Sweets

The tracks 'Works On Sunday' and 'Mind Blank' on FUSE in 2015 put Hamilton in the public eye and he has continued to impress with his productions. His tracks 'Troublemaker' and 'The Message' are two of my own personal favourites, but Hamilton believes his most recent work is probably his best. “The release with Rossko on our label Arkityp is probably the one I'm most proud of. Working with Rossko really challenged me as he is naturally very inquisitive and as he's early in his production career he asked a lot of questions. I've made music for over 10 years now, so I really had to go back and learn things again to explain why things do what they do. He is also a real perfectionist, so I was forced to look a lot deeper into the sound design. I nearly murdered him several times, but it was worth it in the end!”

The Arkityp project is one that Archie tested out in Ibiza with events in 2015 but it looks to have found its calling as a label. The EP sold out online within a week and acts as another personal landmark that continues his momentum from 2016 into 2017.

If you have been a regular at FUSE parties in London over the last six months or seen Hamilton DJ you will have no doubt heard a catchy vocal over the top of a series of drums and loops that builds for 10 glorious minutes. A white label vinyl-only release (sampled by Hamilton) made it to the very top of the charts on the online record store Juno after featuring in Enzo Siragusa's Essential Mix. Even six months on, the record is still being played on dance floors all over the world with Ricardo Villalobos dropping it in his Sunwaves Festival set in Romania days before our interview takes place.

Rock, Paper, Scissors - Photography by Daddy's Got Sweets

This brings us perfectly to where the talented British producer is at right now. Since the end of the Ibiza 2016 season, I have seen Hamilton play four or five times. As we go into the summer months, I can see that he is an artist who is clearly enjoying what he's doing. His latest solo release on FUSE (released in February) is further proof that Hamilton's career is going in the right direction. The first track on the release Driven to Distraction is the typical driving A-side that you'll find on any FUSE release. Vinyl-only B-side Channelled is a truly stunning piece of music.

“The guitar riff gives the track a real Latin feel. I found a Spanish poem by Pablo Neruda read by Carlos Alfaro and it just worked perfectly. In the end, Enzo and I decided to release the dub version of the track without the vocals, as I wanted to be the only one who has the original with the vocal. When I played it out at Hoppetosse in Berlin last October, a Spanish girl came up to me after my set. She began to tell me Pablo is her favourite poet and wanted to know what the track was. That was another surreal moment as it clearly meant a lot to her. I had to nervously pretend I was passionate about Spanish poetry.”

The music doesn't end there. Hamilton's next release, a collaboration with Enzo Siragusa, is one that many music heads have been waiting for. The Dubinnovation EP is released on Hamilton's own imprint Moscow Records on 12 May. “We have sat on the lead A-side 'Ricochet' for a while now, but it's taken us a while to road test and finish off the two other two tracks to a standard that we are happy with.”

That morning at Sonus Festival, Photography by Justin Gardner

When our chat comes to an end, Archie shows me around his new East London crib that is still under renovation. His home studio is a work in progress, with equipment, decks and vinyl all still packed up in boxes. Having lived out of a suitcase for almost 4 years, it dawns on me that so much of Hamilton's productions must have been made on the most humble of setups: borrowing equipment from friends and jumping into a studio here and there. When you listen to his catalogue of records released and think about that, it's quite astonishing that he's released the standard of music he has without his own studio.

With some very exciting Ibiza dates lined up this summer and a home studio slowly coming together, maybe we will be listening to Hamilton's debut album over the next few years or so, which would be without a doubt his biggest career defining moment yet.

WORDS | Andrew Leese PHOTOGRAPHY | Justin Gardner & Daddy's Got Sweets

Archie Hamilton Ibiza Dates - 2017

HYTE Pre-Opening at Amnesia Ibiza - Wednesday 31st May

Pure Carl Cox at Privilege Ibiza - Tuesday 11th July

FUSE at Amnesia Ibiza - Wednesday 16th August, Wednesday 6th September, Wednesday 27th September

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