Ben Pearce’s enthusiasm for the various things he does is as infectious as his “What I Might Do” track that’s stormed the clubs and Beatport charts and the heads of all that have heard it. With teenage years steeped in alternative rock music, but the proffers of Manchester’s club nights tempting him into electronic music as a promoter, DJ, producer and now record label owner, he’s a man that’s hard to ignore.
It seems it is this early predilection for guitar bands that spurs his musical interests nowadays – ‘growing up with that kind of music meant I got more attached to music and it meant a lot more to me than if I’d always listened to EDM’. A man who cites his favourite band as Brand New, because “all their lyrics are incredible”, I wonder if he finds electronic music quite as laden with sentiment. “Maybe it’s not quite as clear, and it’s not as easy to put your feelings across in electronic music but I think it it can still have emotional power”. In the hope of re-igniting a love for Glassjaw through the ever prevalent deep house remix, I ask if Pearce would consider marrying these disparate genres on one of his productions. “It’s whether I can do it; I’d only want to do it if it was 100% right”.
It’s this humility that makes Pearce’s enthusiasm genuine, not arrogant pie-fingery. He admits that the success of “What I Might Do” found him “thrown in at the deep end’ and created an illusion ‘that I should be further in as a producer than I am”. He concedes that he spent a lot of time “digging into music and finding stuff that’s a bit different” but in the pursuit of sets to better warm up for other people, “an art that’s been lost”. Nonetheless, he credits girlfriend Gemma Roberts with procuring the vocal sample for “What I Might Do” – an Anthony Hamilton soul track.
Roberts also works with Pearce on his record label – Purp & Soul – born of a blog last year and now representing 9 new artists. “You do have that paternal feeling of wanting them to do well, constantly trying to push them out there. The best thing about our label is every time we play together, it always just works, which is surreal“. Aside from this month’s sets in Italy (where “What I Might Do” went platinum) and at Field Day and Love Saves The Day, he is most excited about a four hour back to back set with Purp & Soul’s Harry Wolfman – “We’ll get ridiculously drunk and there’ll be such a good vibe”.
Pearce talks about everything as an exploration – from songwriting to learning piano to recording “brilliant bits of chatter and noises” at an after party, to “going round trying different beers” (see new track “Pale Ale“) to how he started music production itself. As his song and our chat suggest, there’s a lot he might do soon, and I suspect he’ll do it rather well.By Alice Lawrence