There are very few DJs/producers whom I would regret never seeing in the flesh. Ben Pearce is an act that has evaded me for quite some time, however I still hold out hope that our paths will cross. He has a gift for crafting an intimate relationship between his music selection and the many eager bodies ready to dance. Each week I find myself re-visiting his Soundcloud page where I listen to his familiar sets, only to be amazed at their ability to sound new, again and again.
Since the debut of his track 'What I Might Do', which blew up in 2012, his production style has only become more intensely well crafted. Though only dropping a few releases, Ben Pearce is a name synonymous with quality production and tracks that don't lack any bit of sexy. His sets are always ripe with homage to a generation of house music that is nostalgic and forever timeless. Far from the limelight, Magnetic had the opportunity to speak with the humble enigma that can move an entire dance floor with nothing but his taste in great music and his skill behind the decks.
How long had you been producing before 'What I Might Do?' hit the charts in 2012 and how did you approach writing the music?
I'd not been producing long. Maybe a couple of years, but not taking it seriously, I was working from my bedroom in my flat, coming home from work in the evenings and just working on stuff. It was quite a surprise.
It was just one of the many tracks I had an idea for and was working on, I put the vocal over it after finding a sample and it just worked. It was mixed down by MTA before the release but I was there during all of that, I just wasn't at that level I could mix a track to those standards.
When did the label Purp & Soul come to exist?
It was a blog first, I came onboard with it and it moved into being a label, an agency, a family. Everyone went their different ways eventually but I'm still close to a lot of the guys from there. As a label, it's on ice for the moment, while I focus on my own music, it felt like the right thing to do.
So what are you currently focusing on?
Just original music really, I've got a few remixes that are due out in the next couple months. I just finished remixing Moby's album, one of Guy Andrews' album on Houndstooth and another of Neil Brown on Two Swords. Then focusing on original music, I had a tough time last year, mentally struggling with the pressure I guess and wasn't in the right headspace to be making records but I feel good about it again. Now I've also started a techno side project with a very dear friend that'll be announced soon.
Pomelo is your first EP in 12 months, how do you feel it was received?
Hard to tell exactly, from where I can see it was really good. Adam Beyer played one of the tracks on new years day which was a huge honor for me. The support from DJs was great, I was nervous about it coming out, but I'd been playing the tracks since last summer so I knew they worked on a dance floor.
What went into producing it? What were some of the influences?
I guess the influences were all the touring in 2015, I knew what kind of music I wanted to make and it just came together like that. I don't think a lot when I'm writing my best music, it's very 'in the moment' and just enjoying it...When I say touring it was just playing all over the world really, i think I covered 5 continents.
Is there a tour in the works?
Well this upcoming US tour I leave for on Monday is probably the only full one, other than that I'm playing a European show which just takes me one weekend at a time. When I'm back from the US I'll play London and then off to Snowbombing Festival in Austria.
What's your outlook like after the success you've earned?
Just to keep on enjoying what I'm doing, getting better at it and meeting more lovely people. I have bigger plans in terms of where I want to take this, but they're long term and definitely not set in stone. I'm lucky to be where I am and I just want to get this party right first.
That sounds great! Now to sort of steer the conversation towards your mixing. Tell me the story about your Sextape sets.
Well, they started as a podcast, it was a bit of fun...sleazy sexy fun sort of music and then when we started to do them as shows it made more sense. People would come in 80s outfits, some shows had girls blasting people in glitter and then there would be disco balls, etc. Both UK tours sold out and at festivals they've really been going well. I'm doing some more at festivals this year including Lost Village and Somerley Tea Party, but not doing anymore Sextape tours for the foreseeable future.
Where did that love of classic house and disco come from?
I won't sit here and pretend to come from that background, I was into bands...still am. I saw Danny Tenaglia in manchester and that was one of my first clubbing experiences when it came to electronic music, this was when I was about 18 or 19. I did my research, I don't always focus on the new music...there's far too much good music that's been released to be worried about what's charting online at the moment. I would never claim to be an expert but I explore as much as I can.
I understand and totally respect that. What attracted you to those genres?
I think the usual blend at that age of indulging a lot and meeting new people. Ive always been open to lots of types of music, still listen to classical a lot which my dad brought me up on and I'm a huge lover of hip hop. So it really can go anywhere.
Don't miss a chance to check him out live at MMW 2016, he will be playing at four different parties, so don't miss him!