Aug 4, 2022
5 min read
There is a delicate tightrope strung between the world of the DJ and that of the producer. Being a storyteller behind the decks and crafting the gems that connect to the dancers are two separate but equal talents. When both co-exist in harmony, it’s unique.
Archie Hamilton has spent years gracefully walking that high wire. His releases on venerated underground tastemakers like Cuttin’ Headz, Toolroom, Nothing Else Matters, and his own Microhertz imprint have ingrained his singular sound into the minds of clubbers worldwide. Deftly moving between minimal house, techno, upfront club cuts, and classics, he’s helped guide a new European sound while staying true to the roots of dance music culture.
Behind the decks, he’s intuitive and technical, leading dancefloors on expertly crafted journeys. Beyond his audio-visual experience Frequency, he’s a fixture at London’s legendary FUSE parties, establishments like fabric and Ministry of Sound, and a regular for brands like CircoLoco, elrow, and Music On.
It was almost a foregone conclusion that Hamilton would walk a path towards dominating dancefloors. He grew up in a home surrounded by a brilliant patchwork of music. His earliest musical memories were early flashpoints for the kind of musical adventures he would eventually lead the dancefloor on.
“My grandfather was a concert pianist. I have very vivid memories of listening to him play for hours and hours to whoever would listen,” he wistfully remembers. “And at some points it [was] totally psychedelic and trippy. You’d sit there in the afternoon and the sun would be going down. I was only like 9/10 [and] in this half, dreamlike almost asleep state listening to him play these incredibly complex pieces.”
He also credits his mother, a former member of a punk rock band, for establishing his love for digging through the crates. Her extensive record collection ranged from the Star Wars double-disc soundtrack to Lynyrd Skinner. She always encouraged his artistic growth and was the person who bought him his first set of decks at 14.
“I didn’t even ask for them. That’s the funny thing,” he explains with a smile as he recalls the beginning of his journey as a selector. “At the time she was she had a boyfriend and he was a rave promoter. And, and my mom was like, ‘You got to get into DJing it’s so cool.’ So, I just I had these decks, had no idea what I was doing.”
Despite being a novice, he had an ear for the compelling and unexpected mixes he’s become known for. “I was going out and buying garage records and breakbeat records and trying to mix them in with the stuff from [my mom’s collection]. I’ve actually got it recorded on tape. I managed to mix. Zed Bias “Neighborhood” (which was a garage anthem) with the Cantina Theme from Star Wars.”
Archie Hamilton at Music On Festival 2022
He envisioned a career as a DJ. However, a less than encouraging teacher at a rigid school quickly eviscerated that dream. Instead, he was pushed to join the army because, as the teacher told him, he “didn’t have much going on.” In a twist of irony, the budding artist failed the Army hearing test five times.
So he went to university and, like most university students in the early ’00s, spent his weekends at raves and clubs, fully reigniting his love for dance music and DJing. Instead of going home for the summer during his second year in college, he locked himself in his dorm, learned to properly mix, and recorded tons of mixtapes.
While cutting his teeth in London’s DJ circuit, he learned to produce in his bedroom and never stopped clubbing. And while living down the street from 93 Feet East in the heart of Brick Lane in London, he became a regular punter at the legendary FUSE parties, which unknowingly helped kickstart his career.
“When I moved in, there was no excuse not to go pretty much every Sunday. And [I] just happened to be there once and someone was playing the track that I’d made a few weeks before. I went up and introduced myself.”
It was one of the first times he’d ever experienced hearing his music on the dancefloor, leading to him becoming a resident for FUSE a few years later. Almost by chance, that brief interaction with a DJ playing his music helped catapult his career into overdrive. In the years that followed, he started two record labels, performed at shows worldwide, and released records with top-tier record labels.
Among his most notable career highlights was his 2020 Essential Mix. Indicative of his live performances, he fully displayed his audio storytelling, leading listeners through the strands of his musical DNA.
“It was it was very exciting. It all happened incredibly quickly but it was a real honor. I tried to try to cram everything that I love into there. House, deep house, tech house, bit of old school, a lot of the new stuff. And then ending on Francoise K ‘Hypnodelic,’ which is one of my all time favorite records.”
Tracing his musical progression from listening to his grandfather playing psychedelic piano concertos in his living room to Archie throwing down genre-spanning extended sets at the world’s finest clubs and festivals, it’s easy to see how he became such a dynamic and well-rounded artist. Equally future forward and rooted in a rich history, he will undoubtedly continue to excite and enchant audiences.