In Conversation: Ben Pearce

Manchester DJ plays Clash event on June 7th...
Ben Pearce

“Music to walk your iguana to.” Those are the words that Ben Pearce uses on Twitter to describe his sound, anyway.

The long-time deep house producer and DJ shot to fame after the infectious ‘What I Might Do’ (video below) was blasted through soundsystems worldwide. He now takes the lead running his own label and agency, Purp & Soul, and we feel that if Clash did own an iguana, it would be taken out on its lead exclusively to the swanky house notes that the imprint puts out.

And this very Friday, June 7th, he is set to headline Clash's June issue launch at the Supperclub in London, an event which will also see UK funky legend Roska and Grizzly head honcho Sinden taking to the decks. Full details and tickets here. We caught up with the man prior to our night...

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Deep house is going awwff in the UK charts. What are your thoughts on that entering into the mainstream?

I don't really have too many thoughts about it; I'm not going to change what I do or the music I make, so really it'll be business as usual. But I might hear my tracks in a few more shops or on the TV, I guess. I think it can only be a good thing that more people are listening to electronic music, that it's getting the recognition it deserves. I think there'll be a lot of furious beard-scratching as the purists get annoyed that their music is getting more popular.

Your new spin on a Quincy Jones track, 'Patticakes', is a great all-out disco record that we're listening to instead of the new Daft Punk. What did you think about that album?

Quincy Jones is a legend, and the Patti Austin vocals are fantastic. I've actually not listened to the [Daft Punk] album. But I've heard and seen so many reviews and opinions on it that I don’t think I will able to listen to it and not think of them. So I'm going to give it some time to settle, and then dedicate an hour to get through it.

What are your favourite pieces of software and tools that you use to craft your tracks? Have you ever sampled anything really unusual?

Well with ‘What I Might Do’ there's some atmospheric parts of a cat poem sample I had, was some very creepy noises with a type writer, doors closing and so on. I had the speaking in for a while, until the a cappella came around. I've just bought a field recorder so I'll be trying to capture some very strange noises over the summer.

If you could pinpoint one particular time, what would you say has been the most incredible moment of your career to date?

I think probably playing ‘What I Might Do’ to 4,000 people in Bari, Italy. The reaction was ridiculous. The crowds are amazing in the UK but the sheer volume of that club blew me away. It was a really special moment.

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So you're playing Clash's night at the Supperclub. If you were having people round for dinner, what would be on the menu?

Well I'm really into cooking, and I try my hand at quite gourmet food when I can. I really like wrapping fillet of monkfish in serrano ham, I've been dying to make a pea mousse to go with that, and maybe if I was showing off a langoustine cream, too. I really like fine dining and I absolutely love Italian food and culture. I recently had raw sea bass with kiwi, which was brilliant, so I'd probably have that to start.

What is the most bizarre event you've ever DJed at?

When I first started out in Manchester, me and my mate played between rock and metal bands at a community centre. That was quite odd, playing bassy, electro-led stuff. The funny thing was that the kids liked the music there so much that we stayed on at the end for a bit.

You run your own label, Purp & Soul. Can you tell us about any upcoming releases?

The next one coming up is an EP from the stupidly talented Real Connoisseur, with Artifact and Chaos In The CBD remixing. We've then got a track from myself featuring an amazing vocalist and guitarist, Aniya Das. After that an EP from Nottingham's Shoot The Ghost. We'll have a teaser video coming soon. We're launching a vinyl-only sub-label, the first EP from 2ndSun with myself and Harry Wolfman remixing, and the second EP from Harry Wolfman himself.

If you can, shuffle your iPod (or alternative) right now and tell us which track it lands on…

Well, I use Spotify, so I can't really do that. I have some playlists though, and what's on now playing is Jacques Greene’s ‘Another Girl’; before that was Simple Plan, and before that was Damien Marley. So you get the idea. I think people can follow me on Spotify now, so that'll be interesting for them, I'm sure.

When you're not DJing, producing and running your label, what do you do to relax?

I play golf. Four hours on a golf course can be very relaxing, and great to clear your mind. Also I play football, and need to get back to the gym. I think the best time relaxing is just hanging out with friends, though. There’s nothing better than having a laugh, and my friends are mental.

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Ben Pearce plays the Clash-curated Supperclub show on Friday June 7th – details and tickets here.

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Words: Felicity Martin

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