Ben Pearce has come a long way since ‘What I Might Do’. DJ Mag’s Breakthrough Producer of 2013, touring the world and launching a successful record label, he has made his highly anticipated return to Australia for five shows this month. Because we had such a good chat with him back at the beginning of 2014, we thought now would be a great time to catch up…
Hi Ben, How are you?
I’m good thank you, a little tired but mid-travel so maybe to be expected.
Where are you right now?
Eating dumplings in Hong Kong Airport on the way to Aus.
What have you been up to this week?
Working in the studio and sorting a lot of stuff out at home; we just moved house so the dust hasn’t settled completely yet.
Last time we spoke to you, you were heading over to Australia for your first tour Down Under. Are you excited to be returning this November?
Always; every show I’ve done down there has been incredible… As soon as it gets discussed that I may be going back I get excited. The weather is awful in England so that’s another plus!
Do you get to travel around the places you visit much when you’re on tour?
Sometimes – I try to as much as I can. I just enjoy wandering and people watching. I’ve done quite a bit of tourist stuff in Aus, luckily had some friends to escort a few trips. Going to the zoo just outside of Brisbane last time with a good friend was awesome.
What do you enjoy most about playing to live audiences?
The interaction, being able to adapt and change what you’re playing to make sure everyone in that crowd is having the best time possible. Getting to chat, high five or let people know what song is playing is great.
So you recently released the Sextape series, which included a range of free mixtapes and parties. What was the inspiration behind the project?
Fun, basically. It’s just no-holds-barred, unadulterated fun. Sleazy tracks that are best sung out loud, it’s cheesy sometimes but who doesn’t love a bit of disco?
How did you come up with the name of the Sextape series?
It was a party in Leicester that a friend of mine runs, called Onefifteen, they asked me to do a podcast and it was called the Sextape… it just kind’ve stuck.
You’ve recently remixed the likes of IYES and Hayden James. What does your creative process behind remixing a song involve?
I always have an idea in my head when I first hear a track I’m deciding on remixing, whether it comes out the same as that in the end can never be said. It’s stressful sometimes, amazing and fluid others and sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Unpredictable would be the term but that could apply to anything in this industry!
Do you feel your style has evolved since your hit ‘What I Might Do’ was released in 2013?
It definitely has, I’ve always played a range of styles so maybe from another perspective it’s quite hard to pin down. I think over the next 6 months I’ll start to cement my own sound as a producer when I’m making original tracks. I don’t want to get into just doing one thing but having some consistency may be a good thing, maybe.
Not only are you a top producer and DJ, but you’re also the driving force behind the record label Purp & Soul. Tell us about the recent releases and artists signed to the label. Anyone exciting we should be watching out for?
To be honest, we’re taking a break with the label for various reasons. It’s not to say it’s stopping, it’s just not the right time to be releasing stuff right now. We’re still a family in terms of artists and we talk all the time. Joel and Harry have a new project called ‘Olerton’ and are making some seriously amazing techno, that’s worth checking out.
This year you’ve played Lost Village Festival, Parklife and We Are FSTVL to name but a few. Do you prefer playing at clubs or festivals?
They’re different entities entirely so it’s impossible to say, they both have so many good things on either side. I’ve had my best times at a festival but my favourite places to play are probably clubs, equally as good dependant on the crowd and the location, of course.
Hailing from Manchester, do you feel that your hometown had much of an influence on your musical style? What’s the music scene like there?
It has done, subconsciously… A lot of people have told me that it has but I can’t see/hear it from my side. I was into bands until I was about 18 so that whole electronic side of Manchester was exposed to me differently. I’ve moved to London now and I feel the affinity of course…
If you had to name one country as your favourite to tour which would it be?
My best tours, as in full whack, away-for-weeks-on-end have been in Australia. In Europe, I usually do a few shows and then fly home, so it’s not really the same. Aside from that my favourite country to play is Holland.
What has been a highlight of 2015 for you?
Getting a studio rented in London and getting music done in there, i was studio-less for a while and it’s really made such a difference.
If you could work with any artist, alive or dead, who would it be?
I’d love to work with Andrew McMahon, or perhaps Brendon Urie… Both utterly inspire me. I’d also say Jesse Lacey but I’d probably be quite starstruck by that and it would be harder to link to what I do – Brand New are by a country mile my favourite band.
What top 3 tracks are you listening to right now?
Foals – ‘Mountain At My Gates’
Auntie Flo – ‘Dance Ritual II’
Maribou State – ‘The Clown’
Any big projects in the bag for 2016?
Don’t know about projects, few collaborations in the works and just releasing music until then. I’m working with some amazing vocalists at the moment, I’m just loving what I’m doing so staying with this would be fine with me!
Ben Pearce Australian Tour Dates
Friday 6th November: Brisbane, TBC Club
Saturday 7th November: Wollongong, Grand Hotel
Saturday 7th November: Sydney, Chinese Laundry
Thursday 12th November: Melbourne, Glamorama
Friday 13th November: Sunshine Coast, Upstairs
Saturday 14th November: Perth, Rough Love
Sunday 15th November: Melbourne, Revolver Upstairs – Summer Series
By Amelia Edgell-Cole