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Student Spotlight: From Taking Courses to Founding a Label.

We caught up with Academy Alumni Camille Hamel about how he started his label Purple Tea Records and what lessons he's learnt since finishing with the Academy.

Camille Hamel was once a student with us here at Toolroom Academy. Since then, he has gone onto achieve some amazing things in the music industry. One of the most notable things was the starting of his own label, Purple Tea Recordings. 

What was your time with Toolroom Academy like?

“Learning under D.Ramirez was a complete eye-opener for me about how much effort goes into this craft. It really hammered home for me Music Production is always evolving. The academy has its groove locked down, always keeping things fresh with new curriculums, courses, ideas, and killer events. I loved my time working with them.


When i took my course, the Academy hadn’t been going for long. I was actually on one of the first courses they did. I’ve made some great connections off the back of it, one notable one being with Jason Miller who leads Redux Saints. We’ve thrown some great events together over the years and are super excited to have plans for ADE this year. It’s complete with a surprise headliner that i’m sure will have the Academy folks super excited.

The academy is always talking about the power of your network and I’ve been grateful to meet some seriously talented people both outside and inside the course. These include Ben Malone who’s at Armada and Danny Howard from BBC Radio 1. None of this would have happened without the Academy.

As times passed, I’ve done more A&R stuff than releasing of tracks myself. I’ve always been inspired by Matt Smallwood, Pete Griffiths and George Ankrett at Toolroom, they’re all legends, if I can be even a quarter as good as them, I’m calling it a win.

Long story short, keep that mind wide open and let your journey take you wherever it decides to bring you. It might not be where you planned, and that’s life!”

How did you start your label and what was the goal for it?

“Here’s a fun fact for you,  Toolroom Academy deserves a round of applause for sparking my label venture. I had my track “Canadian Cowboy” signed to the Toolroom Amsterdam 2017 Compilation which meant i was found myself hanging out with a lot of the Toolroom Team at ADE that year.

While soaking up the ADE Vibes, , I found myself at this Quebec meet-up dinner at an all-you-can-eat Sushi restaurant; that’s where I crossed paths with Justin Blanc, a seriously chill artist Justin was taking a stab at starting a label, just dipping his toes with one or two releases – a total passion project. We hit it off, and I casually invited him over to my Montreal studio once we got back. He actually ended up driving for 2 hours to come and hang out on the very day we got back from Amsterdam – talk about dedication!

He was digging my TR track and wanted my next track on his label which was a no-brainer for me.

That’s when the partnership kicked in – we got official and incorporated, roped in an investor, and began this rollercoaster ride. Our label is all about nailing partnerships, and Spotify’s our jam – a major success for a label our size.

Our main aim moving forwards is to pump up those streams to spotlight the artists we sign is top of the list. Locally, we’re strong, but the next step really is the rest of Canada, the US and then hopefully we can move into the UK and Europe after that.

We’re also itching to dive back into the events scene. The pandemic hit us hard with this as it meant we had to stop, we are looking to relaunch this part of our business as soon as we can.”

Looking through the Back Catalogue of Purple Tea Records, it’s great to see so many signings from alumni of Toolroom Academy.

Yes, we have managed to pick up some real gems from the Toolroom Academy. These include releases from the likes of Tone Troy, B/A/N/K, John Lebel, Ami Watson, Bubs, Chesser, and  Redux Saints. We’re always scouting for fresh talent from Toolroom Academy because we know if an artist has been with you guys than they are going to be coming out as a seriously talented producer who is willing to take the next step in their career. It’s that kind of dedication that shows that they are serious about their music. Knowing that they’ve been through the process of the academy also helps to make the A&R process easier for me because i know how i can break down their music in a way they’ll understand.

What kind of Music are you looking for at Purple Tea Records? And do you have any advice on getting your records heard/seen?

At Purple Tea, we want the records that get my head nodding. Since we started the label we have stormed past the 100-release mark and just before the pandemic hit, we decided to unveil “blk leaf” – a hub for those deeper, edgier records.

We are now in the privileged position that we can sign most music. However, that being said, Purple Tea lives and breathes Tech House.

As a producer, I’ve always leaned toward the “house-ier” side of the spectrum. If a track’s got that dancefloor magnetism and fits with my sets musically, consider it signed regardless of how well polished/mixed/mastered it is; the groove and hook are all that matters to me.

When it comes to getting noticed by us, forget those boring emails. Just get out there, whether that’s through live streams, local hangs, sliding into the DMs, dropping love on Instagram – basically, any route that isn’t the typical email. Trust me, real folks with a real passion for music reside behind those email addresses. We’re all a bunch of music lovers/nerds. It’s easy to pull our heartstrings.

We see you teamed up with DTLA to throw a party at ADE this year? How did that come about?

The event is something we started back in 2018. At first, and mainly because we didn’t have enough outreach it was mainly a franco showcase meetup (France/Belgium/Monaco/Canada) as the french community is very close. We exchange gigs regularly between Montreal/Paris/Brussels etc. It’s grown every year and now it’s really become a showcase for our label artists friends and family, it’s crazy how far it’s come. We were completely humbled this year by the amount of support and praise we got from everyone who attended, it’s set the bar high for us and we like that.

We’ve been working with Jason and DTLA forever, we both come from the academy also so it’s really nice to grow and support each other. The ADE showcase is important to us because we are a Canadian label it lets us get to meet many faces that are usually emails or texts, and really helps build a solid foundation as a label people want to be a part of. We are in talks about doing another showcase in Miami this year also, but for us ADE is where it all started and will always be very special.

We also see you ran a competition for a chance to play at the event. what was the reasoning behind that? 

We did a comp for two reasons. One it really lets us see who’s active in our community and make sure we interact with those people. This year in particular we wanted to give someone who normally might not get that chance to be on an ADE roster, and we were repaid many times over, as we now have a new friend and soon to be artist with us in Savio, a Toolroom Academy alumni.