Brame & Hamo have always been about the music. In fact, this inimitable Irish duo’s life mission in music is to dig out tracks and jams that have either been freshly unearthed or to make some future anthems themselves. A recent set at The Warehouse Project with Bicep made that evidently clear: they love rave records from the nineties as much as the latest releases on Whities. Tiarnan McMorrow and Conor Hamilton’s life in music began in the Irish seaport of Sligo: we’ll get to how they met shortly.
But what you need to know now is that they are smart, versatile selectors whose knowledge spans the whole spectrum but, as their upbringing attests, is anchored in quality house music from the underground. Brame & Hamo, like so many electronic duos, are the kind of kindred spirits that allows both to flourish in the studio, in the club, and even at the afters during an epic five hour DJ set. The Brame & Hamo story actually began back in 2012, when they were part of a music group sharing mixes online. They were, it seems, starved for good music at home, so would travel to Derry or Dublin a couple of hours away and see the likes of Sasha and Digweed or Danny Howells. Their first-ever gig together was as a warm-up to Detroit Swindle but it was Motor City Drum Ensemble who provided the biggest inspiration for them. Moodyman and Theo Parrish weren’t far behind.
In terms of their own music, to say they’re prolific is an understatement. Their releases since the breakout ‘Roy Keane’ have consistently chartered through heavier but still soul-infused choppy house and techno waters, with their latest killer vocal cut ‘It’s Time To’ with Anthony Acid remixed by Steffi and released on Maceo Plex’s ever-reliable label Ellum Audio. A good example of their sound is the winding, chiming self-released ‘Parade Rain’ which came with a breakbeat-fuelled house mix from Gerd Janson. Early into their partnership, Conor and Tiarnan started putting on their own raves in hotels near home, moving from hotel to hotel as the rave escalated. Luckily for them both, real music talent ran in the family: Tiarnan’s father had an old editing suite that they fashioned into a DIY studio and a group of friends would go there to make music every night. Tiarnan’s father not only played guitar in a band of his own very well himself, but he was also in a Church choir: that hard work and musical drive clearly ran in the family. Needless to say, Conor has a similarly smart and driven musical upbringing: his brother was a hip hop artist in a band called This Side Up, while his Mother provided a large influence with her love for disco and soul. There was, he says, constantly music around him growing up, Conor’s Uncle (Mr.P) not only DJed around Ireland, he also played in the USA for a while and eventually gave Conor his first set of turntables.
So as 2020 comes into focus and their sound has properly solidified, the duo’s moved from Derry to Berlin makes even more sense. From Sligo and Derry to the wonders of Panorama Bar, their decision to move was clearly in part a desire to soak in everything that the city has to offer. When they first moved to Berlin, the club Farbfernseher provided a platform for them and other up and coming DJs, although sadly it’s now closed. Tiarnan says his “real house and trance background” was something important that he brought that to the table, whereas Conor had also dabbled in a love of early jungle and drum ‘n’ bass: these disparate elements coming together has been important to their now fully developed sound. Consequently their star has risen just as fast as the aforementioned Mr Keane’s career did before them, scoring hit after hit both in clubs as well as on the shelves of high quality vinyl emporiums across the land. 2019 saw them busy earning their stripes across a multitude of labels, from Feel My Bicep to Ninja Tune’s Counter Records. Heavily supported by Gerd Janson and Laurent Garnier alike, they’re bringing a fresh, fun fuelled house and techno sound to sweatboxes across the land. Credible but with hooks big enough to cross over onto festival ‘floors, they have an innate understanding on what makes quality dance-floors kick.
From humble, solid house music beginnings, they’ve come a long long way already. Over the past years they attest to the support they received from Bicep, Mixmag, Pete Tong and Radio One, some of the key people who’ve helped them progress and shine. Following on a well-received Mixmag Lab and a killer mix for Ninja Tune’s Solid Steel radio station, their tour schedule is about to go supernova. At their Warehouse Project show last December, they played alongside Jeff Mills, 808 State and Floating Points. Although it’s still relatively early days, their music has already been in key playlists on Apple Music and Spotify. All of this success, they insist, was never planned. Music, it seems, is always the answer. And like Brame & Hamo themselves, their music offers the best of both worlds. From one of their breakout tunes ‘Limewire’ (beloved of everyone from Tim Sweeney to Ryan Elliott and Annie Mac) to recent Feel My Bicep-released chugger ‘Waves Reach’, they’re forging a path that’s hard to ignore. As remixers, they’ve worked their magic on everyone from Dusky (‘Among The Gods’) and Crawford’s ‘We Go Back’ to releases of their own like 2018’s ‘Midnight Express’ and the equally excellent flipside cuts ‘Celebrity Impersonator’ and ‘Request Rhythm’.
As DJs, what they love the most is playing long sets In small clubs. At Sub Club, where a recent three hour set took in everything from PMT’s 2001 breakbeat mix of ‘Voices’ by KC Flightt vs Funky Junction to Bedrock Records staple ‘Pushing Too Hard’ by Saints And Sinners. Connecting the dots. Finding records you’ve not heard in clubs in aeons, if ever. Make no mistake: these two like to dig deep – and crucially, stay there as long as possible. On a recent standout trip to London, Conor and Tiarnan played Night Tales, then hot-footed it to a cheeky afters at The Cause before one final roll of the dice at Unit B One – and then flying back to their current home in Berlin for one last dance at Berghain. As we may have mentioned before, these two really aren’t messing about. Thanks in part to the charity raves they put on at the very beginning, they’ve also remained keen advocates of good solid charity work within the electronic community, having played a series of charity shows with Mall Grab across the UK to help people suffering from MS. 2020 is already starting to look like their best yet: Date Night with DJ Boring, flying to the US for a 2 week tour. Despite all the scrapes, japes and dancefloor shapes, the best is still ahead.