With infectious track ‘What I Might Do’ is soundtracking every club rave-out and hitting the Top 3 on Beatport Chart, DJ, producer and Purp & Soul Records co-owner Ben Pearce is busy gathering strings for his bow. This summer, the Mancunian will tour with Bloc Party and Skream and hit up a horde of European festivals.
You’re a Manchester boy. How has the city moulded you, musically?
When you grow up in a place that brought you A Guy Called Gerald, Happy Mondays and Greg Wilson, that definitely has some part to play. I grew up listening to rock and metal, so only got into electronic music quite late on, there’s a fantastic culture for music and a great scene of smaller nights and obviously there’s Warehouse Project as well.
You grew up listening to rock and metal? When did the genre crossover take place?
It was really going out to different clubs, meeting different people and experiencing everything for the first time.
‘What I Might Do’ is on everyone’s favourite tracks list right now. How was the track born?
I had the basis of the track down, and believe it or not there was a really creepy spoken poem about cats on there. My girlfriend was always looking for tracks and telling me to sample them, she sent me the acapella and I worked it in and it sounded perfect. It spiralled from there with popularity, I never thought it would do this well.
What were your early influences as you were experimenting with finding your sound?
Just what I was listening to at the time, a lot of Wolf + Lamb and Soul Clap. Seeing Nicolas Jaar live was a big inspiration.
You’ve been promoting and playing throughout major cities for a while now. Where is the best venue that you’ve ever played and what city has the best vibe?
Sub Club in Glasgow probably has to be the best venue, that place is amazing. The best vibe I would have to give to Brighton, I love Brighton.
You’re the Creative Director of record label Purp & Soul. How did the collaboration and involvement happen?
Indeed I am, and part owner now as well. It came about like everything else these days, talking on the internet. Once we took on artists it really started to take shape, my girlfriend now runs the bookings for the agency so it’s a very tight knit affair. We’re still finding our feet as a business, I’m enjoying it so much.
You’ve just announced a fresh string of gigs. Do you prefer to play live or be behind the scenes on production duty?
Definitely DJ-ing, it’s what I first got into. Don’t get me wrong, I love production, or sometimes actually I hate it when I can’t get a kick drum to sit right. The feeling you get when you drop a track just right at a night is insane, goosebumps! I’m a real believer in warm up sets, and I really enjoy doing them – the art is almost lost sometimes, DJs get into a venue and play the biggest tracks whilst there’s one or two people on the dance-floor, it’s weird.
What other artists, DJs and producers are you championing right now?
I’ll try to name as many as I can think of, My Nu Leng, Happa, Last Magpie, Artifact, all the Purp & Soul guys as much as that’s a standard response, our guys are making some amazing stuff. Aniya Das I’ve just made a track for and some more planned, she’s got a brilliant voice. Elli Ingram I heard the other week, and Vicktor Taiwò, I can’t stop listening to their tracks.
You’re playing a fair amount of festivals throughout the summer. Any you’re particulary looking forward too?
I’m a big fan of playing more intimate gigs so am really looking forward to Farr Fest this year. Also Bestival, I’ve never been and that looks amazing. Extrema festival in Belgium is one as well.
BEN PEARCE’S TOP FIVE PLAYLIST
1. Real Connoisseur – Jungle Jakarta
2. Forget Me Nots – Big Tings
3. Harry Wolfman – Fred P
4. Parris Mitchell – All Night Long (Bok Bok Remix)
5. Animal Youth – Crackle