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Eats Everything on giving back and the spectacle of Ibiza

The gregarious Bristolian on his charity project, Ibiza season 2017 and much more.

If you're after a DJ who emits as much energy in front of thousands of clubbers as he or she does in a one-on-one exchange, Dan Pearce makes the cut. Meeting on a red-hot afternoon at Nassau Beach Club in Playa d'en Bossa, the gregarious Bristolian bounced in, raring to go.

His alarm had given him the wake-up boot at 5:00 that morning to get him to Ibiza at an ample hour for our discussion downtime followed by Carl Cox's get together before their first assaults on Privilege.

Better known as Eats Everything, the DJ, producer and record label boss has been transmitting inexhaustible house and techno on a global scale since 2012. By now he is accustomed to a bulging tour schedule that has him away from the family abode for days at a time.

With a three-year-old son, a little character who's often endearingly featured on Pearce's Instagram page, he experienced fatherhood in a way that made me curious as to their relationship. More specifically, I raised the point that working in a job he truly values because it excites him, surely has a positive impact on who he is as a father, despite the exhausting nature of it all.

I do think you're right,” he agrees. “It does rub off, but I have always been a happy person. I´ve always lived a happy life, even when I was poor doing stuff I hated. This job is mint. It's the best job in the world and I´m such a lucky bastard to be doing it. I´m a wee bit tired when I go home, and I´m not there at weekends which is a bit of a shitter because my wife, son and all our friends who have kids do stuff then. But on the flip side, the other dads are all at work in the week, and I get to take him to places on Mondays and Tuesdays, and have a lovely time with him. So yeah, I get to spend as much, if not more time with him than my dad mates do.”

He enthusiastically interjects that his son is both “sound” and “more outgoing than most.” Now, anyone who has spent time with Pearce isn't going to be baffled as to who his son has inherited those personality traits from. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, as they say. I can't speak for anyone else who's had the pleasure of interviewing Pearce face-to-face, but his reputation as being one of the nicest guys in the industry precedes him well.

Giving by nature, it was of no surprise to have read earlier this year that he's spearheading fundraising project Have A Drink On Us alongside the charity Last Night A DJ Saved My Life. Aiming to rally together £30,000 to fund clean water projects in countries that need it most, the ethos behind the initiative is to fund the construction of bore wells in parts of Africa and India. The initiative provides clean and sustainable source of safe drinking water in disadvantaged communities.

On this island, discussion regularly revolves around how we're expected to fork out €10 on miniature bottles of water in the superclubs. It's nothing new, but you still battle with it, often holding out until dehydration kicks you right up the arse and as an alternative, aren't shy to test out how salty the tap water is. Have A Drink On Us certainly puts this complaint into perspective because we're not exactly disadvantaged. We're out there dancing our tits off to some of the best DJs on the planet, which is ultimately a luxury.

"There are people who don't have access to water; it's not even that they can't afford it. Imagine not having access to water,” Pearce weighs in, before pointing at his freshly poured cocktail and stating, “look at this fucking thing. I don't even know everything what's in there, but there's got to be some water, and these people can't even get hold of that. I want to do anything I can to help.”

At this point in time, he had to remain tight-lipped about an upcoming event, but what he could say is that he's organising a big rave in October in the West Country. He's doing his bit from the UK, but as he sees his involvement with the charity being long-term, Pearce is hoping to visit these impoverished areas at some point in the future.

Time was ticking and Carl Cox's pre-party was waiting, so we quickly moved on to what we know best: Ibiza. Pearce has eliminated pretty much every single superclub on the island this season. Ushuaïa's opening party, Hot Since 82's new Labyrinth residency at Pacha, elrow at Amnesia, Paradise at DC10 and since our chat, both Pure Carl Cox and RESISTANCE at Privilege.

In among that sweet pile of gigs are some new and old. “It's nice to do the ones I haven't before. But I do like doing the parties I know with no disrespect to the parties Í´m new to.” elrow and Carl Cox's takeovers are events he knows well, and it's the openhearted, close-knit team that guarantees his return. “Everyone's sound. There's no wanky atmosphere. You just get in there and have a laugh with everyone. When you feel comfortable in your surroundings I find it easier to express myself as a DJ. That sounds really wanky, but that's what it is. Whereas if you go to Patagonia, for example, which is somewhere I´ve never been, you don't know anyone, no one speaks your language and you don't feel anywhere near as comfortable.”

Privilege is a club Pearce became comfortable with as a clubber, and his first taste of this enormous, beat-guzzling club was back in the days when Manumission reigned supreme. While Pearce has shared his eye-opening experiences a good number of times in previous interviews, I couldn't resist hearing it first-hand as I've also heard the debauched stories from my own mother. Call it a trade-off, if you will.

You go in there at 18 and it's your first time in Ibiza at this huge club. It was fucking amazing. The first night I went it was Boy George, John Kelly and DJ Disciple. You had Boy George DJing in the toilets, and the booth in the Main Room was in the middle of the swimming pool. It was mint.”

Known for being sexually explicit, Manumission was outrageous. “Blokes having sex with blokes, dwarfs walking around and all that,” Pearce recounts. “It was never that in your face; it was just going on. The rock garden is where all the weird shit happened. I remember a bloke playing a trumpet the wrong way. You're off your head, thinking what is going on. It was weird; it was good though. Clubbing is more sanctioned now. It's nowhere near as inclusive as it used to be. I blame the Internet for that.”

It's a total bummer that there are fewer trumpet players and sexually-engaged humans in most nightclubs these days, but the majority of us are still queuing to get in with the good intentions of leaving sweaty and having made some new mates. In order for that to happen, we need our DJs to be in top form; as this feature is largely reflective, Pearce's expectations of Pure Carl Cox and RESISTANCE being excellent were met, and that's no doubt largely due to the line-ups.

Feeding in the beats at Privilege for PURE CARL COX

Before tackling Privilege's domain, he'd already taken aim at elrow clubbers and hit the target. I'd also heard that his two all-night-long sessions had maintained the busiest crowd from my flatmate who does artist liaison for all the Main Room elrow artists this season. “Yeah, and what?” Pearce joked in a mocking display of arrogance, before adding:

I might have been lucky on those dates. I'm also way better when I play longer sets because I'm in complete control. The first night I'd flown in after playing Joseph Capriati's Sónar party during the day. We hadn't really slept and I was pretty knackered. Fifteen minutes before the end of my set I was told that I could play until I wanted because it was still packed. I kind of wanted to go, but I stayed and played harder, harder and harder. I went from wanting to leave to just going fucking WALLOP. The harder I played, the busier it got. And that happened the next time. Of all the times I've played Amnesia – and I´ve played 15 to 20 times now – those are my two favourites, ever.”

His elrow dates have all seen him owning the Main Room, and while he's obviously buzzed off this, on Saturday 9 September, he'll be chucked in among the Terrace chaos. “I´m not going to lie, when it got announced and I only had one Terrace date, I was a little bit gutted because that is where it's at.”

For the most part, clubbers try to avoid going to the same Balearic superclub two nights on the trot. However, elrow fully transforms the Terrace and you may as well be on a different planet. This is where you find all the crazy goodness. Inflatables drop from the ceiling and are soon nabbed as apartment decorations, stilt walkers are stalking clubbers, confetti frequently pumped out until you've stuffed it down your crotch, the DJ booth is constructed to resemble a New York City subway carriage, or some nympho granny is in your face with BBQ'ed genitals.

Main Room elrow damage with Eats Everything and Terrace chaos

elrow is about the spectacle, but I don't like it when it's pulled up for not also being about the music. The UK parties were done with secret line-ups, and because people know these parties are wicked and they know someone good will be playing, they just go. I do believe – and this isn't me blowing smoke up my or my mate's arse – that the DJs have a big part to play in elrow's success. It would still have been successful, but it'd have taken longer to get there. It's all about going out to have fun. I can see why purists don't like it, but fucking hell, pull your feet out your arses.”

A trend that's evident this year is that big dance anthems and classics from the late ‘80s right through to the late ‘90s are being hauled from the vaults. Pearce threw in Strings Of Life by Rhythim Is Rhythim at elrow, Charlotte de Witte spun Universal Nation by Push at Circoloco, Rødhåd mixed in Technotronic's Pump Up The Jam at Cocoon, Skream gave N'Joi's Anthem a blast at elrow, Marco Carola teased Wamdue Project's King Of My Castle at Music On, and Luciano and Ricardo Villalobos brought Cocoon clubbers to tears with De' Lacy's Hideaway.

This isn't contained to Ibiza as Jackmaster played Darude's Sandstorm at Glastonbury. It was Denis Sulta's use of Lock ‘n' Load's Blow Ya Mind at Parklife that sparked this talking point.

With Jack, he played it for a joke. With Sulta, I grew up in an era when Blow Ya Mind was a big tune. It was a shit tune back then, but people went mental for it at Parklife. These guys are younger than I am, especially Denis, and that track was out before he was an adult. I respect him for doing it; it's wicked. He knows it's a crap record, but it has got dance floor value to it. It all just depends on what you experienced at a certain age. I've played Meet Her At The Love Parade and some people say that's cheesy. But to me, even though that got in the charts, I heard that when I was 16 at a techno night in Bristol. I hadn't heard anything like that before, so for me that's always going to be cool.”

There's definitely an element of snobbery with one or two of the above curveball choices. Marco Carola's selection to fire on King Of My Castle divided opinion on Facebook, big time. Snobbery in dance music is an issue Pearce has spoken about at length, with him penning a feature for ÏU MAG Magazine by USHUAÏA Ibiza back at the start of the season.

There's snobbery everywhere in Ibiza, always has been in my 20-odd years of coming here,” he starts. He then went in on what he was wearing, with us both cracking up laughing at the hole lingering near the crotch of his jogging bottoms. “I don't give a shit, I´m travelling for comfort and my other ones weren't washed.”

With music pomposity, he feels the Internet has a lot to answer for. “Great things have happened because of the internet, but a lot of bad things have, too. It's mad how the internet has created snobbery and stupidity. People can easily see some party on Ibiza and go, ‘Oh look at that tech house party, or da da da.' Fuck it. If you don't like it, don't watch it. Talk about something you do like. What's the point in talking about something you don't like?” He has a point.

Pearce and I are now thirty minutes in, and I could see that he was getting the nod that indicated our time was nearly completely shot. Before he was stolen, I got a little low down on his imprint, Edible. His label is taking a summer hiatus, as he sees that releasing records during the heated months is futile. “It's best to build them up and when summer's done, blast them out.” Included in the release bank are tracks from Paul Woolford and Lauren Lane, among more. Meanwhile, Pearce is soon to return to Chicago techno label Relief Records, which will be a follow up to his remix of Green Velvet's seminal track Flash.

Elsewhere in the Edible bubble, Pearce took on Barcelona festival Sónar this year with a showcase at Catwalk. He went back-to-back with Richy Ahmed and Patrick Topping in a six-hour set, and guests included Waze & Odyssey, Lord Leopard, Lauren Lane, Elliot Adamson and Andres Campo. With various artists exploring one-off specials in Ibiza, I put it to him that he does the same.

I don't want to walk before I can run because it's pointless. I don't want to stab myself in the face for no reason. I´m going to stab myself in the face only if it's necessary. We will do it, but we've got to wait until the crew is together.”

Pearce is a popular guy and we'd rather not witness a self-inflicted facial stabbing, so we too will wait until that crew is suitably assembled.

Check out Eats Everything's remaining Ibiza 2017 dates here.

PHOTOGRAPHY l Michael Tomlinson, Luke Dyson, Pablo Dass and Alex Caballero

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