Archie Hamilton: "No Matter How Big You Get, Stay True to Your Roots"

Aug 18, 2022

John Cameron

3 min read

In the decade since Archie Hamilton’s DJ career fully took flight, he’s found himself playing bigger and bigger stages. For him, this means it’s important as ever that he makes time for more intimate gigs — and he calls upon the most famous DJs in the world to do the same.

“I play a lot of big stages, but I came from the smaller rooms with a more intimate vibe,” Archie recently told Gray Area. “For the big festival shows, it’s big festival music. But for example, I play Fabric on Saturday. I’m closing room one, and I just spent a month going completely mad digging up tons of records from the early ‘90s. That’s my real love.”

Archie Hamilton has managed to strike an admirable balance between these two worlds. On the recording front, his early tracks like “I Forget” and “Two Time” represent house music’s more minimal, experimental spectrum. Even his more recent crowd pleasers like “Kick It” and “Our Time” featuring Molly Green bear plenty of the gritty, intelligent hallmarks of his longtime sound.

When I first came to prominence, what we were doing in London was much more minimal,” Archie said. “We were playing very stripped-back music. That has now become much more popular, and I’m getting booked because of the notoriety I built up for that sound. But I’m getting booked on these big stages where I have to deliver a much tougher, bigger set.”

Archie was at pains to point out that he doesn’t mean to knock bigger sets, either. “I don’t wanna write off people who are primarily big festival DJs,” he said. “It’s really difficult to be successful as an artist nowadays, and if you have a team of people working on your brand, you do have to be business minded and take these bigger shows to bring in revenue and gain new fans.

“But no matter how big you get, stay true to your roots,” he continued. “In my calendar I try to have at least once or twice a month, one of those super cool shows, like on a desert island in the middle of a lake a few weeks ago put on by the people behind Sunwaves Festival. It was pretty much a friends and family crew, and that was four hours where I got to take them on a bit more of a journey.”

Archie doesn’t mince words when he says this is a call to other DJs. “Guys, we should all be doing these extended sets and reminding ourselves why we love what we do, still being connected to really digging deep and searching for music that’s gonna blow people’s minds,” he said. “That’s the emotional side, where so much of everything now is about videos of drops with everyone’s hands in the air. I think we forget why we’ve all gotten into this in the first place.”

As any music lover can attest, there’s nothing quite like losing yourself in the sensory overload of a massive festival. As you grow more embedded in dance music’s rich undercurrent, however, you might naturally find yourself in smaller and smaller rooms. Either way, you’re bound to run into Archie Hamilton — and chances are he’ll play the records you didn’t know you needed to hear.

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