Someone once told me: “Life is an echo.” Unsure by what he meant, I laughed and nodded my head to avoid social awkwardness, thinking nothing more of it. Five years later, in the midst of structuring this particular feature, I stumbled across the quote again whilst doing some research. It refers to the attractive, magnetic power of the Universe that draws similar energies together.
The energy you give out, comes back to you. Whatever you focus on will eventually manifest itself. With the latter however, this won’t just happen overnight… hard work and dedication is required. All of your actions must map to your focus. Just ask Archie Hamilton…
In 2008, a once curious Ibiza punter like the rest of us, Archie took his first steps into the island’s underground safe haven, DC10. Ten years later, he made his official Circoloco debut. How you ask? Simple… the law of attraction and an undying work ethic.
One month on from playing the penultimate week of Circoloco’s 20th anniversary season, the London-based selector still finds the experience quite surreal. “I’ve been going to DC10 since 2008 and I have always envisioned in my mind how I would play there, but it totally surpassed all expectations. It was crazy because I started at 9:30pm and The Martinez Brothers had just finished in the Garden.”
He continues by saying: “I started with about 30 people on the dance floor and within about 20 minutes, the room was packed. I’ve had 10 years to prepare for this moment mentally so I felt comfortable playing and building the set the way I wanted to.”
No doubt a career highlight for Arkityp’s co-chief, this moment was a very special one for Archie, so special in fact, his family and friends made the trip with him for a good ole’ knees-up. “My auntie went to DC10 in 2001 and 2002 and hadn’t been back since. She’s seen it grow from its most humble beginnings to what it is now today. My mum loved it too. She has been to Ibiza before… she saw me play at Amnesia last year and this year at Circoloco. She was in the booth during the last 10 minutes of my set.”
Speaking about why Circoloco is one of the most popular concepts in the world, he says: “Even without me, they were keeping themselves entertained and conversing with other people. That speaks volumes about the party and how inclusive it is of all ages, backgrounds and walks of life.”
Despite this, the climb up the ladder hasn’t been without its challenges for the FUSE favourite. Splitting his time between the 9 to 5, gigging on weekends as well as learning to produce music, Archie was doing everything he could realistically do at the time to maintain a respectful income alongside pursuit of a sustainable career behind the decks. Then, in 2014, he quit his job and took the big plunge to do a season in Ibiza in hopes of making these dreams a reality.
Veracious and open, the Londoner is the first to admit this decision wasn’t the easiest to take. “It was scary and terrifying, I can’t lie. I’m so lucky that I have got a very supportive mum and she said: “You need to concentrate on your music as that is what makes you happy.” She said if I quit my job and needed to move back home, I could and she wouldn’t charge me rent.”
“I would say I was certainly not in the position financially to be able to do that. It wasn’t like music was going so well that I could just quit my job. I thought to myself that I was still young enough at the time to quit my job for a couple of years and if it doesn’t go well, I can always go back to it.”
He then adds: “So I was absolutely skint for around four years to be honest. I was earning very low fees for DJ gigs, flying around the world and literally eating spaghettios during that time of my life.”
Highlighting the positives that came out of his decision to go to Ibiza, he says: “I think doing that Ibiza season was vital in terms of meeting people and getting my face around, what my name and sound was all about and that.” Describing his approach whilst there, he details: “I turned up to events and just gave people an arsenal of music to play and it was getting played in all the clubs. This was the beginning of viral Facebook videos and I was received videos of my music getting played in all of the clubs. That was then in turn building my profile. It was a difficult decision.”
Inspired by a chance meeting with Argentinian maestro, Guti, in 2011, this decision was not only pivotal, but also life-changing for him. “He said to me: “You get out what you put in to this game and you have to admit to yourself that you’re a musician. You have to throw everything that you’ve got at it and you’ll receive what you’ve given out.” And he was right!”
Smiling as he reflects back upon the moment, he says: “The moment I quit my job, things started falling into place and doors started opening. I don’t know if it was my attitude or my approach, but it totally changed everything.”
Much to his delight, Ibiza presented the Moss Co. boss with his first real taste of international recognition – playing for FUSE when they hosted a weekly residency at Sankeys. “They really gave me my first kind of platform on a global scale and doing that just elevated everything I was doing onto a totally different level.”
“Their strong following was also a massive contributing factor. Tracks like ‘Mindblank’ and ‘Driven to Distraction’ which I had released with the FUSE label probably wouldn’t have received the same level of appreciation if they were released on my own label. So, both at the beginning of my career and still today FUSE are the most important and influential connections that I’ve had in this industry.”
A prime example of this is the two men he now shares a studio with in Shoreditch, and two people he considers amongst his closest of friends – Enzo Siragusa and Seb Zito. An innovative space for them to explore the deeper, dubbier strains of groove-driven micro house, Archie describes the studio as having “a really nice vibe in there because we all get on so well. We’ve all got our own slightly individual styles, so we can bring something slightly different to the table musically. We do try and find as much time as possible to make music together but we have all got our own projects too, so we try and divide it up so we all get at least one day each alone in the studio so we can concentrate on our own music.”
Comparing the creative process between the Shoreditch studio to his one at home, he emphasizes that it is a completely different headspace for him. “I’ve got a little room at home which I use just before I go and perform at gigs to listen to music, listen to tracks that have been sent to me and it is also where I will do a lot of my online record shopping. It’s perfect for that, but I also used it previously for many years to create music.” He then adds: “Stepping out of that and going into a more official music space completely changes your headspace and the way you think about approach making music. You go in there, you close the door and suddenly, it’s time to make music. Whereas when I am sat at home, I’ve got a million things piled up on my desk, I’ve got records being sent to me that I try and listen to and more.”
Home to a perfectly treated room full of analog gear and a vintage mixing desk, the Shoreditch studio presents the FUSE crew with endless creatives avenues to venture down when it comes to producing music. Elaborating further on this, Archie says: “I’ve always worked from a laptop screen, which was fine, but now I’ve got this enormous 52 inch screen which revolutionizes the way you arrange stuff when you produce. We’ve got lots of really nice kit in there to, so the way we have it set up, we can plug stuff in and try new bits of hardware out, make a quick jam and get ideas going. Then when you want to transform those ideas into more of a story and more of a complete track, the ability to then whack that on the big screen and literally, look at your entire track in one, totally changes everything for me.”
Originally starting out as a student on a three-month Intro to Logic course at Point Blank Music School, it’s evident to see how far Archie’s distinctive sound has evolved since. Fusing together trademark grooving basslines with tight percussive cuts and permeating chords, such meticulous precision saw him notch up his first ever gong at this year’s DJ Awards, Best Producer, a crowning achievement for his years of persistence.
“There have been a few changes and I think my sound has developed quite a lot. Most of it is down to confidence I feel. When you get great feedback from people you really respect and those individuals start playing your music, it gives you that real feeling of confidence to perhaps create bigger sounding material, or more ballsy stuff. It gives you reassurance in your ability.”
Drawing a relevant correlation between the shows he plays and the music he makes, he explains: “When I was playing smaller rooms two or three years ago, I was making more stripped-back, minimal sounds for those venues. But now that I am playing more headline gigs, festivals and more peak set times, the music that I make needs to adhere to those environments and situations and needs to be bigger and stronger. Within that, bigger artists are beginning to play those tracks because those tunes fit into their peak time sets too. I guess it’s a number of different contributing factors which have seen it change.”
For many budding musicians, the art of producing your own music offers quite the commitment dilemma. During early years of experimentation, it can be quite overwhelming so the idea of investment into it can sometimes prove quite daunting. However, the more an artist invests, the more they tend to find themselves and forge their own sound identity.
“Learning production is like learning a language” exclaims Archie. “If you say for example, this year I am going to learn Spanish, it’s very much the same in terms of committing to learning the process of how you create something.” He then continues by saying: “You have to be prepared for how much you have to commit to it. But once you do, it is the most rewarding thing you will ever do.”
Now a popular fixture in the FUSE resident ranks and a three-time label owner, Archie has sustained an appeal which sees him tread familiar ground around the world time and time again. His next stop? FUSE’s big 10th anniversary weekend across 24th and 25th November. A 24 hour rave split between Studio 338 and their original hunting ground, 93 Feet East.
Unable to contain his excitement for the special occasion, Archie enthuses: “Obviously, the party at Studio 338 will be awesome. But I think the most exciting thing is the return of FUSE to 93 Feet East for the first time in five years. This will be the first FUSE party back there in all that time.”
93 Feet East is also a place that holds a sentimental value for the Moscow Records man. “That is where I really started getting into raving in London. It starts at 6am and goes on til midnight. When I first started going to FUSE at 93 Feet East, it was a daytime party. It wasn’t like it is now where people start arriving at 6/7pm. You used to get there at 11am and party there all day. That is going to be such a return to form, I’m really excited to see some of the old faces come out, it will feel like a time capsule I guess.”
Armed with an ever-growing discography that continues to garner accolades from the highest echelons of house and techno, Archie Hamilton is artist on the verge of his break-out, and is finally at one with his own identity.
Photo Credit By: Jimi Herrtage and Jamie Burke