Five Minutes With: Hamilton
After signing to Ram Records in 2009, it might come as a surprise to some that Hamilton has been involved in the DJ and production game for over 15 years! The not-so-new kid on the block exploded into the drum & bass big time with Soundboy, a track that tore a royal hole into Andy C’s 2010 Nightlife 5 album.
Big ticket blazers such as Rich Kids and Deep In My Heart quickly followed and now he’s returned with his first full Ram EP, Schema. Eight tracks in total, it’s primed with some serious banger capital. We thought it was only right to catch up with East London’s boldest bass beast. But first, this…
Interview: Adam K & Chris D
How do you feel about your first Ram EP finally hitting the shelves?
It’s a funny one. It wasn’t written with an EP in mind; it was more a case of just getting the next single together. But in between this and the last release, Deep In My Heart, I’d written quite a few tracks. It was hard to choose which ones were going to make it on to the single. So things kept getting added on and the result was an eight track EP, if you can call it that! I guess in a way it would have made sense that we should have held off and made an album, but I needed to get something out as it had been a while. A few years ago you could have gotten away with it, but these days everything moves so fast that it’s easy to fall behind, so that was the thinking behind it. But the full album is the next project so that’s what I’m working on next.
So would you consider yourself a bit of a schemer?
Well yeah but it doesn’t really mean that to be honest. I have to give Ray Rampage credit for that one. Basically it was supposed to be seen as a plan and an objective so that was the real meaning behind it. This is me setting out my stall and letting everyone know what I’ve been up to for the last 18 months. The most recent track I wrote on there is F**k It Up and the oldest one I’ve had lying around is You Had It. They’re probably my two favourite tracks on the release. You Had It has been through so many different versions and mix downs – I’m not the fastest of workers but I am a perfectionist!
How do you even start to approach putting a project of this size together?
As I said I never went out to make an eight track EP originally. For me it’s about bringing together two or three things that you think are alright and then picking the best and applying what you’ve learnt. It might be that you pull out some drums that you think are cool if the rest sounds rubbish after a few listens. Or there might be a bass sound in a track that you keep aside. To be honest it’s not the most efficient way of working. I’m a much better guitarist than I am a keyboard player so for the last track I produced I used this wicked bit of kit which translates the melodies that come out of the guitar into a synth through the computer, so I’ll definitely be working with more of that.
Being someone who is as well known for their production as their DJing, if you had to give up one which one would it be?
Interesting question! I do love both equally! They are very different things, the DJing gives you that instant gratification and the making of the music is a long term pleasure thing. But if I had to I’d probably have to stick to the production. I find it more of a challenge and although DJing has a certain skill set to it, I think with the right tutoring and practice pretty much anyone could pick it up to some degree. I don’t think you could teach someone to make music quite so easily though. I can constantly evolve and better my production whereas you can hit a ceiling with drum & bass DJing, so that development is the thing that keeps spurring me on.
And after all those years in the studio, how did the Ram link up finally come about?
It was a weird chain of people and things leading to another really. I’ve got some friends in the US who had produced some drum & bass in the past and I ended up getting linked with Metrik who referred me on to Ray. Further down the line Andy got in touch and it all went from there. I didn’t really have anyone in mind to try and sign myself to, but I’ve always been a big fan of Ram. So when they came calling it was a pretty exciting conversation to have. It was rare that you’d get signed direct to Ram so I went down the route of Sub Focus and Xample by putting out a couple of bits on Frequency first, but I think they prefer to go down a more direct route recently.
Away from making beats, is there anything about you that would surprise our readers or anything we might not know about Hamilton?
Tricky one to answer! I played semi-professional poker for a year or so and racked up an alright amount of winnings. It was all online though so I guess I’m just used to sitting in front of a computer screen for hours on end. I’ve just swapped poker rooms for Cubase, Logic and Ableton Live!
Hamilton – Schema EP is out now. Listen and download.