Ben Pearce burst onto the scene in 2012 with his killer track 'What I Might Do', which was undoubtably one of the biggest tracks of the summer. Since Ben has had success on Moda Black and Under The Shade but to name a few and this has earned him a nomination for DJ Mag's Best Of British - Best Breakthrough Producer. We caught up with him to find about life as a DJ and producer and to get the lowdown on his record label Purp & Soul.
It’s great to be speaking with you. Can you tell the readers where you are in the world today and what you’ve been up to over the last 7 days?
Likewise! I’m at home at the moment, I was DJ-ing at the weekend in Leeds and Leicester, working in the studio the other days, some r&r in between as well of course!
2012 was the year you broke into the scene, how has 2013 been for you?
Quite hard to explain when I properly think of it, my life has completely changed and it’s amazing. I’ve been to places I never thought I’d go and played in some incredible places. It’s been busy, tiring and mentally challenging but looking back it’s definitely been the best year of my life!
‘What I Might Do’ was the track the put you on the map and I understand you’ve previously struggled with the pressure of this high standard you’ve set. We’re big fans of all the tracks you’ve put out this year, how do you feel the tracks you’ve released over 2013 compare?
I feel like I’m very much still in the shadow of WIMD, I know that may not shift for a while but I have some original music coming up that I’ve been testing out and has had great reactions. I think I’ve got quite a way to go before I come into my own as an artist, but saying that I’m happy with my releases this year!
Your record label Purp & Soul has put out some quality music this year. We especially like the Real Connoisseur’s Jungle Jakarta EP. Have you set a particular direction for the artists on your roster to aim for?
Not at all, they’re all very individual and we also look elsewhere for music. The main thing is being original and inspired, some of the music our guys are making is mind-bending, I’m very excited to get it all out there either on Purp & Soul or on other labels.
Regarding the record label what can we expect in 2014?
I hope to really step forward and mark our identity as a label, it’s been a bit hectic this year but we’re putting plans in place to get a solid ethos and image behind it. There will be a big focus on developing our artists, each one has something up their sleeve, even if it’s just an idea at this point, there should be some big records coming out. We’re also launching a sub-label, that’ll be only vinyl releases
You’ve nominated for DJ Mag’s Best Of British Awards as one of the Best Breakthrough Producers. Firstly congratulations, secondly have you got any tips for those aspiring producers who are trying to break through?
Thanks! It’s a ridiculously overwhelming honour, couldn’t believe it when I found out! I think to just keep doing original music, I hear a lot of demos that are nearly carbon copies of big tracks of the year, I understand that it’s a great way to learn how to put a song together but labels are looking for something different and unique. Also don’t be too keen to sign or even post everything online. Just keep believing in yourself!
You’ve put together some top remixes this year including ‘COOL’ by Le Youth and ‘Got A Feeling’ by Josh Butler. Can you tell us a little bit about how you approach the process?
I usually approach it differently for each one, I know that’s not much help! Generally I’ll import all the samples into Ableton, do any tidying up with time signatures and warping, after that start listening out for bits of it that I like. I break them down into loops and then construct the track around those. Occasionally I will use drums from a different project (I have hundreds of projects, some of them are only little drum loops so it just keeps my work flow quite open). Then I’d look at arranging and adding any musical bits from my synths I think would work. I love remixing, it’s very interesting, I sometimes just bounce stems of my tracks and remix those, or friends of course.
Punk rock and rock heavily influenced you as a youngster amongst other styles. I know you’re still into the genre but what’s influencing your productions at the moment?
I suppose you could say everything influences me, I feel very inspired after going and playing some really good gigs and visiting places. I’m getting into field recording more and more and going to do that when I’m abroad now, passes time in hotel rooms recording doors closing etc! I try not to think of electronic producers when I’m making music, there’s some seriously amazing music being made at the moment so it’s quite hard not to.
Your tour schedule has been extremely hectic throughout 2013, how do you find time to run your label and make tracks? Does it have a negative effect of you as a producer?
It probably does, but I can’t measure that which I don’t know I guess, it’s hectic and sometimes very stressful but the end result is amazing. I had a few weekends off recently that worked out amazingly, just made such a difference in my work rate and hence I have a lot of tracks on the go at the moment.
A big thanks to Ben Pearce for taking the time out to speak with us.
Ben Pearce's Track Recommendations:
This track saw a re-release this year as part of R&S’s 30 years comp, it amazes me every time I hear it, SDC is on another planet quite literally. The complex texture combined with the out of this world synth jams and melody, it works in a set and it’s something I will happily sit and listen to, that goes for all of his productions.
Leon Vynehall has been on a monstrous roll for a while now, pretty much every track of his is in my bag and this one is no exception. The very strong Severn Beach’s track gets reworked here, a lovely roller of wispy percussion and warm bass bubbles. Played this one a few times at slightly later times and it just hits the mark.
Another producer who I play consistently, one that is really intriguing to me from his production and depth. This record from Fort Romeau has been a killer for me all year, the vocal samples are perfect. It’s smooth and luscious without being too clean, it has rough edges and some grit, it’s a real treat.
Electric Minds, has to be one of my favourite labels by a long way. This release from Fold is a fantastic one, every track on the EP is brilliant. This is the A1 and my favourite, the energy and groove is stuttered but just holds the whole way through, and those snares! argh!
It’s no secret to anybody in house and techno that LIES is a unique record label, the way they’ve been stamping their own mark on the genres has been relentless. This came on their album ‘American Noise’. I really dig the whole ethos behind the label, this is one of the standout more playable tracks on that album for me, so much going on but stripped enough to make a great club record. I play this one a lot.
Not only is Midland one of the best selectors I’ve seen, he’s been killing his production game this year and this carries on that trend. A bass lead that sways and swings, it’s a remarkable piece of music, I heard it first on his Rinse show and wasn’t really surprised to hear that it was him. It’s unique and ups the standard once again on his label, Graded.
One thing you know when Mak & Pasteman bring a record out is that it will hit a dancefloor hard, I love the energy in their productions and I play so much of their music. The vocal sample in this is infectious, I’ve caught myself humming it in queues or waiting rooms. Huge reactions on this and the breakdown is epic.
Going further back now to 2011 and Even Teull, big big fan of his, especially his workshop releases. This came out on Musik Krause and is dark late night chug at it’s very best. The vocal snippets and glitches, the simplicity, I really love this track and it’s one for dark rooms in early mornings for sure.
I can’t not put a Mr.G track on here, his releases this year have been ridiculous. The energy and sheer innovation from him is inspiring. The dimensions this track gains as it plays is brilliant, this always gets dancefloors into a frenzy. When those rides come in about 4.33, woooooahhhh, something special.
I have to put one of my own boys in this, Resketch was on my radar long before I had a label, and I feel incredibly lucky to have managed to sign him. So talented, and he’s part of 2ndSun as well as if he didn’t have enough to do. This came out not too long ago on Symbols, and it’s a great cut. He’s been setting the bar high for so long, he’s definitely one I think 2014 will be kind to. On top of that, brilliant DJ, get to know if you haven’t already.