Ben Pearce is a DJ and music producer based in the UK. He cofounded the record label and DJ agency Purp & Soul and serves as the company's Creative Director. Ben's music has punk/metal, hip-hop, electronica, soul, and funk influences. The 10,000 talked to Ben about the role of technology in music, the future of dance music, and his advice for up-and-coming DJs.
Exclusive Selects: DJ Ben Pearce for Master & DynamicApril 19, 2016
What inspires you?
Playing with good friends and artists that I really admire. Playing back2back, for example, really stimulates my creative side.
What tools do you use to bring out your inner creativity?
I don't think there are any tools that do that for me. It's sometimes a struggle if the creativity isn't forthcoming, but sometimes a new bit of kit in the studio can help (that's what I tell my girlfriend, anyway). Often when I'm struggling for ideas I'll remix one of my existing projects, do an edit, or even ask a friend for some stems. I've started a new techno alias with a friend and that's been really amazing, as we bounce off each other so well.
As dance music continues to change, what do you do to stay on the cutting edge?
I'm not sure if I do! At least I don't do it consciously; I'm still finding my feet with this. I'm lucky to have an amazing management team behind me so I can focus on my own music and getting that right.
How has technology played a role in this?
Even in my relatively short time in music, technology has come on so far. I'm a bit of a geek and always have been; new kit really excites me as long as it avoids being trivial. It's an exciting time to be working in this industry, not only because of technology but because of the social aspect technology brings. For example, being able to collaborate instantly with somebody on the other side of the world is possible now, as is instant sharing and live feedback with apps—it's all changing the way music is received and understood.
Your brand of dance music (deep house) is so much more relaxed than the more mass market EDM. How do you feel about the genre's perception and all of its different subgenres?
I hate genres, I have to say. They're a way for record shops to categorize, but I don't feel the same way with music. Good music is good music regardless of what it is. Perceiving a genre is like viewing a nationality based on one ideal; it's a stereotype, really. Aside from the obvious ways to define what genre a track is (tempo, beat, structure, etc.), it's all down to individual perception.
What is the future of dance music?
4D sound perhaps? Interactive clubbing I think is quite exciting; interactive lighting as well. There's so much that could be done, but sometimes the simplest things work best. I think regardless of where technology takes us, there will always be somebody setting up a sound system in a basement or a warehouse and playing music. That's timeless; it was around before strobe lights and 3D laser prisms and it will be around after them, too.
What advice would you give to aspiring DJs?
Try not to buck to trends, socialize in the industry, and use technology to its full advantage. Social media and online streaming, for example. Try and understand the industry a little bit and use amazing conferences like Take Note London to gain insight from experienced people. Oh, and don't be a dick to people; be nice.
Why was it important to you to start your own record label?
It was a learning experience. I made great friends and learnt a lot about myself, as cliché as that sounds. It's on ice for the moment while I focus on my own music. Perhaps it will come back, but I'm not sure. It's a brilliant way to identify yourself, but that's not what it was for me. We had a community of artists and that resulted in a bit of a melting pot of music. But some of the best labels are like that.