Ben Pearce rose to fame last year with his smash hit 'What I Might Do' on MTA/Under The Shade, a song consider by many as one of the tracks of last summer. With the added pressure of the popularity of his first release, Ben has proven he is no one trick pony with follow up success on Jaymo & Andy George's Moda Black Label, a recent split EP with friend Real Connoisseur on Under The Shade plus a host of well received remixes all placing Ben in the forefront of modern electronic music. Ben took the time out of his hectic touring schedule to have a chat with us ahead of his appearance on the Sunset Terrace at Space to talk about life on the road, his label Purp & Soul and his upcoming production work...
Hey Ben! Thanks for taking the time out to talk to us today. How are you doing and where are you chatting with us from?
I'm very good thank you, chatting you from a garden pre-bbq, enjoying the weather
So it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster year for yourself, did you ever expect to be where you are now before your first Under The Shade release came out?
Not at all, it's still quite hard to believe, such an amazing opportunity and I'm loving every second of it.
How have you been finding life on the road? Your touring schedule reads as long as many of the older seasoned pro’s, has it taken some getting used playing out so much? Do you feel like you’ve learnt a lot more about DJing?
I DJ'd for a long while before in clubs, so I learnt to adapt, warm up and play to different crowds. That's not been a challenge but what a lot of people don't see is the travelling, late nights early flights lifestyle. It's been tough getting used to, I'm getting a little more into the swing of it now and looking forward to heading across continents
What would you say have been some your highlights of the past twelve months?
Reaching number 1 definitely, getting a platinum disc from Italy. Playing to 4000 people in Italy and the reaction there but the best moments have been in the UK for sure, Sub Club, Audio Brighton, De:Bug in Sheffield and Parklife have all been incredible. Gives me goosebumps thinking back.
You spent your childhood listening to Pop Punk and Metal, do you feel like this still has an influence on the sounds your creating now?
I guess it is but it's hard to say for sure, I can definitely say I'm a big fan of percussion, I've been listening to a lot of African music recently and that's influenced me so much for the rhythms they create and the stories behind each song. I do love a good bongo!
So you’ve got a new release on Under The Shade with fast rising star Real Connnoisseur out now, how did the idea of doing a split EP come about? Its pretty cool concept that you both made one original track and then remixed each of the others work respectively…
Well Conor is on my label, so when David wanted to sign Nobody's Fool I mentioned the idea, it is a cool concept and one I'd like to do again with some other artists. It's a very interesting way of fusing styles together into one release. He is an unbelievable talent and no doubt will be big this year
Would you ever consider doing a collaboration project with another producer, or are you more comfortable creating music on your own?
I'm all up for collabs, I've got a few coming up and just polishing the first set of tracks I've done with Black Orange Juice. It's so interesting to work with other people, if it doesn't work at least you had a go but yeah, stick me in a studio with anyone and I'll go for it. I'd like to tell you who i'm going to be working with but that would ruin the surprise wouldn't it ;)
Tell us a little about Purp & Soul, from what I gather you run the label, but you also have an agency is that right?
Yeah so it's a bit of a mish-mash, more of a close-knit family. We're building it up together, we've got 8 artists signed that are all immensely talented and it's growing every day. We've just secured some events for this year and I'm very very excited about it all. We're looking to explore different genres but keep at least one of our own artists on each release, whether it be a remix or the original.
Are all the Purp & Soul family old friends? How did you all meet?
Myself, Mark and Joel met through the Manchester club scene, we DJ'd with eachother a few times and I knew they made music. The rest we came across online, we'd either heard of them before or just discovered. It's a very personal fit, there's no ego's, and we all get along. That's what makes it so special, we can always come together, have a laugh and DJ back2back without any hiccups. It may not be a well oiled machine agency or label, but it's home.
So what’s next for you and the label?
Myself I've got a few remixes I just finished and then some original stuff, working with Black Orange Juice and some other producers. A lot of touring this year meant that I didn't get so much time to write new music, so I'm really trying hard to catch up now. Label wise we have the next 3 releases lined up, some very exciting stuff coming out both on the main label and our new vinyl-only sub label, the first release on that is from 2ndSun with remixes from me and Harry Wolfman.
Outside of Purp & Soul, are their any other producers that you are really feeling at the moment, any big tips for next year?
I'm a huge fan of My Nu Leng, Artifact, Happa, Cropper, Jacques Greene, Guy Andrews, Blacksmif, about big tips, it's hard to say, everyone has their own levels of what's big or not, there's too much good music out there, get digging!
Thanks for having a chat with us Ben, we are really looking forward to having you down on The Sunset Terrace at Space in August. We’ve been asking all of our guests to pick their five favourite sunset tracks for us so fire away and we will see you soon!
1. Larry Heard - Missing You 2. Jamie XX - Far Nearer 3. Round One - I'm Your Brother 4. James Teej - Get Off The Phone 5. Cunninlynguists - Stars Shine Brightest
You can catch Ben Pearce playing for Future Disco at Space Ibiza on the 27th of August. More information here.