“I was going away for weekends DJing, then coming back and giving team talks to 15 people about how to handle insurance complaints. I realised it was probably time to leave.” We grabbed Ben Pearce at Take Note and put him to the test with our quick-fire Q&A.

Why music?

It was always there. I went to the Royal Northern College of Music when I was younger but didn’t really follow it up because I never thought I’d get anywhere. Then I got into DJing after promoting a night in Manchester and it progressed from there.

If you weren’t making music what would you be doing?

I was working in a complaint centre, dealing with insurance complaints. I’d probably still be there. I might be doing alright.

Don’t do anything unless it feels right. I think the best advice is often quite simple. If it doesn’t feel right, you shouldn’t be doing it.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t do anything unless it feels right. I think the best advice is often quite simple. If it doesn’t feel right, you shouldn’t be doing it.

What inspires you?

Lots of things. Inspiration’s quite intimidating sometimes. I look at people I admire and it’s half inspiring, half intimidating. You have to have that drive to reach those goals that inspire you in the first place.

What’s the next big thing?

Grime’s getting pretty big now. That seems to be the next big thing, popular grime. People like Stormzy and Section Boyz.

Best club experience?

Space main room in Ibiza, 4,000 people. I don’t dance much when I DJ, but I had an out of body experience, looking down on myself dancing away.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

Sports Direct was pretty bad, when I was about 16. Or door-to-door sales. Good when you make money, shit when you don’t.

How do you know when a track’s finished?

It’s never finished, you can always make it better. You have to just cut the cord and send it off for mastering.

What was your last day job and when did you realise you could give it up?

Three months after ‘What I Might Do’ came out I was going away for weekends DJing, then coming back and giving team talks to 15 people about how to handle insurance complaints. I realised it was probably time to leave.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

Songs should be personal. It’d have to be relevant to what I was going through at the time. My favourite band’s Brand New – everything they write’s amazing – but you can look at songs that I love and lyrically admire but it wouldn’t be me that wrote it.

What’s the easiest way to make it in the music industry?

There’s no easy way. You can get a lucky break, but staying in it’s hard.

What’s the worst track you’ve ever released?

There’s been a lot! If you look at my early releases on Beatport they’re really bad and I’ll be the first to say it. One of my main points for people breaking into music is quality control. You’re keen to get things out but retrospectively you look back and a lot of it’s crap.

Recommend us a film.

Her, the Spike Jonze film. That’s quite thought provoking. I watch a lot of bad films as well. There was one recently – I think it was called Survivor – that was literally the worst film I’ve ever seen.

Recommend us a book.

Kill Your Friends, the music industry one. I haven’t seen the film but the book’s really good. It’s really on point.

What or who is underrated?

Warm-up DJs. No one really cares about you until the headliner comes on, but they’re really important.

What or who is overrated?

Headline DJs! Just DJs in general, really. People idolise these guys and they get god complexes. It’s not that hard to play big tunes and sculpt a set.

What am I addicted to? Self-improvement. It’s a really shit answer. I’m constantly obsessed with getting better.

What are you addicted to?

Self-improvement. It’s a really shit answer. I’m constantly obsessed with getting better. It’s a self-loathing kind of thing, which is difficult to deal with. You’re constantly thinking you’re crap at what you do and no one likes you.

What do you lust over?

Talent. I’d love to have natural talent.

What is your greatest regret?

These questions are getting really hard! Maybe jumping into music without really doing the proper homework. I had that period after I’d released a big track where i wasn’t really ready for it yet. It screwed me mentally quite a lot.

What one thing would most improve your life?

Teleportation. DJs get paid to travel. The commute is sometimes eight hours.

What’s the worst gig you’ve ever played?

I played in a restaurant once. I turned up thinking it was going to be a club and people were sat down eating. Got paid quite well but no one cared.

Collaboration: rich creative experience or pain in the ass?

Depends on who you’re collaborating with. Luckily everyone I’ve worked with so far, like Shadow Child, it’s been amazing.

What’s the secret to a great mix?

Expressing yourself. Playing the tunes you want to play, not trying to conform to what people want.

If you could only listen to one more track, what would it be?

I’d never be able to listen to just one. Brand New’s my go-to favourite band but to limit it to one track would just be a horrible existence.

How do you relax?

I don’t! I guess Playstation or watching TV. Playing golf’s quite relaxing too. I had Copy Paste Soul on my Rinse show last week so we tied in a game of golf.

Art or money?

Art.

Strangest place you ever wrote a track?

Airports are quite strange places, but that’s probably quite common.

Must-read blogs/forums?

I used to be into blogging but not so much for music. Bicep’s blog is probably the only one I go on regularly. It’s amazing.

What’s your single biggest frustration in the music industry?

Myself. Not being able to get anything right. It’s all very self-involved.

What’s your favourite label? Why?

That’s really hard. I probably don’t have one. Aus do amazing things – everything they release is incredible – but you could say that about a lot of labels.

What’s the worst thing about making music?

The fact it’s never finished and you could always make it better. It’s this constant battle against yourself and your self-image and self-criticism.

What’s your motto?

I don’t have one. It’s a strange thing to have. I probably should get one at some point.

Tweet us a tip. What’s the best production advice you can give in 140 characters or less?

Be original, don’t copy anyone else, keep going and make as much music as you can.

 

Find Ben on Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud.

8th December, 2015

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