Getting personal with Eats Everything
A couple of years ago one of the most ubiquitous and captivating tracks I’d heard whilst out and about was Entrance Song by Eats Everything. With its heavy, garage-influenced bassline and nineties chords, it was played by almost every DJ I went to see during the summer of 2011. Eats Everything had seemingly come from nowhere and made a splash with the track – but he’s actually been around for quite some time.
Ahead of his appearance at the Garden Festival in Croatia next weekend, I sat down for an in-depth chat with him, covering everything from his childhood up to his future plans. Check out my website for the full interview.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in South Mead Hospital and I was raised in a place called Wotton-Under-Edge, which is about 20-25 miles from Bristol. It’s a market town with an old abbey… old people live there and there’s not much to do.
What was it like growing up there?
It was cool, fields and fun… Then you get to secondary school and you meet people, and they’ve got older brothers. I started getting into hardcore and rave music in about 1991.
How did that actually happen?
The very first thing I heard, and this is a funny story, I’ve only told this a couple of times – I was well into wrestling.
Yeah, WWF. My room was painted like a ring, I had the ropes; red rope, blue rope, white rope, painted across the walls and I’d drawn all the logos of my favourite wrestlers – Legion Of Doom, Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan, Hacksaw Jim Duggan etc. I was listening to the Pet Shop Boys, in 1991 they had a radio show on Radio 1 and they used to play dance music. I’d listen to it, not because I was into dance music, but because it was that time of night. My parents were watching… what’s that one with James Herriot?
All Creatures Great & Small!
That’s it! They’d be watching that, which I hated, so I’d listen to the radio and I remember Felix – Don’t You Want Me came on [Mimics the famous melody]. I always used to record the shows, because I had a double tape deck that could record, and I taped that piece of music… and it became my entrance music for when I was a wrestler. Felix Don’t You Want Me, which is a massive gay anthem and there’s me walking in in my pants into my pretend wrestling ring and then grappling with a pillow! That was the first piece of electronic music that really made me go, ‘Wow, that’s amazing!” I knew then that I wasn’t into Status Quo and Queen anymore, I was into my own thing.
How did you get deeper into the music?
Just from going to mate’s houses and playing records with their older brothers having decks and playing Hardcore and just being like, ‘This is f**king…’
It really grips you doesn’t it?
Yeah, it’s amazing. I remember listening to a DJ Dougal tape, Dreamscape 7 or 6 I think, in about 1993 – I thought it was just one dude playing piano… I didn’t know there was such a thing as a DJ!
I had exactly the same thing.
I was 11 or 12, I didn’t know there were DJs, I thought it was some guy up there with a singer, I thought it was all live. Then I was told it was some guy playing records, as soon as I found that out I was round friends’ houses on the decks, at 12 years old, and that’s it – I was hooked.
When did you go from DJing at your friends’ houses to actually becoming fully immersed in it?
The first gig I ever had, some friends and I did a few raves in Wotton, in my hometown – we called them Futuria, when we were 14. They were full, full of older older kiddies, doing speed… it was us younger kids DJing with an older kid MCing. We used to play Hardcore, Jungle and a bit of Techno. A couple of the guys were into Clarke-y kind of Techno, almost Gabba but not quite – I was into Hardcore but I could tolerate that stuff.
That was the first gig I had, but the first proper gig I had was when I entered a competition at a place called Bar 150 where DJ Easygroove was looking for a resident for his night, which was called Groove Easy; when he played House he was called Groove Easy, when he was playing Hardcore and whatever, he was called Easygroove. This was just when Speed Garage was bubbling under, before it really blew up, and I was playing a bit of Speed Garage and House – and I won this competition. I was 16 years old. Easygroove was my hero; him, Carl Cox and Ellis Dee, they were my heroes – so I became the resident, once a week, at his night called Groove Easy at Club Loco. The first night I played I had MC Joe Peng MC for me, this is Joe Peng who MC’d on Sasha’s Universe 1992, I had him MCing for me with one of those infra-red mics, walking around the club and I was like, ‘I can’t quite believe this is happening’. Then Easygroove came on and just obliterated it. Unbelievable DJ. So it grew from there, I got a residency at a night called Ripslaughter when I was 17 and then I got a residency at Safehouse around the same time.
So did it get to a point where you could quit your job?
I did Engineering for a year, then I became an electrician’s mate just because it was a means to an end, so I did for two years until about late 2000 and then a big event called Scream entered Bristol.
I remember this because I was at UWE, and I used to see your name on posters…
‘Dan Pearce’, yeah. I was the main resident for Scream – that was when I gave up my job because I was playing there every single week and I was doing all the other events, I was playing all around Europe as well. I was earning like £500 a set back then, for 2001 that was really good. For a couple of years that worked really well, but Scream started dying a bit – they tried to change too quickly from the Judge Jules, the Tall Pauls and the John Kellys of this world to Erick Morillo, Roger Sanchez and all that. I was all for it because I loved that kind of stuff, I still played the heavier stuff but when I bought records, I bought 50 per cent the harder stuff and 50 per cent House. My record collection has more House than anything else.
So when Scream started to die down, what effect did that have on your career?
We used to play as Dan Pearce and The Saint, there were two of us residents who would always play last. During the six-month break before we started at Cafe Blue, The Saint gave up, because he was 10 years older than me – I’d fallen completely out of love with the heavier music, it was way too heavy, I liked it when it was fun and bouncy, good fun music and then it got so gnarly and horrible.
In late 2002 it got way too much, I completely turned my back on it, so when the new Scream started up I was Room 2 resident because it gave me more freedom, I could play House – but all the gigs dried up because I wasn’t playing the music I was known for. In the end [of playing Hard House] I found myself playing all the same records. When I went to buy records, I picked two or three new ones – I was getting complaints from punters so I started playing House – I started a thing with Amos from Waifs & Strays called Indy 500, we’d play back-to-back, it was a new thing at the time, playing with a CDJ and two decks! In 2003, 2004 no one was doing it, we played a few times but it just wasn’t big in Bristol, people weren’t having it, they wanted it banging.
Yeah I was into DnB and going to a lot of RnB nights, but no one I knew was into House and, if they were, they were going to Hard House nights.
That was it, you were either into Jungle, or you were into Hard House… or RnB. Slinky was big, but there was no House – there was Empathy, which was a progressive night, you had Sasha playing there. It was a weird time. Then I was doing Breakbeat, when I first started producing in 2003, with this guy called Masataki Toyota, we had a few releases and it was going really well but he decided to give up. We were just on the verge of getting loads of work, our records were being played on Annie Nightingale’s show and all the right places.
Do you still keep in contact with him?
No, I haven’t seen him for years. It’s really sad, we were such good friends, literally best friends, and he ditched me. Not in a bad way, but no explanation – he just gave up and never spoke to me. But that’s when Eats Everything was born, in 2007, so it was good. He taught me loads, he taught me everything I know, my success is partly down to him showing me how to do it.
And what was going on in your personal life? Did you have a partner?
I’ve been with my now wife since 2003, she’s been one of my best friends since I was 14 but she went away travelling.
You have a few connections still present from your school days don’t you?
Yeah Jack, I’ve known him since I was 11, he’s going to be working creatively for us and my best friend John, I’m still friends with him now.
That’s who you ended up working for when the DJing slowed down.
Yeah, because I did recruitment for five years for various different companies, then I quit to go and work for John and that’s when Eats Everything started coming together. It was when I was working for John that I designed the Eats Everything logo, obviously I was working hard!
After about six months the Credit Crunch hit, around 2008, I couldn’t make any placements at all, so I had to go on the Dole. In May 2010 I told Leah, ‘I’m going on the Dole, give me a year to have a go at this music thing. If I don’t make it then it’s done, we can finish it there.’ In June 2010 I made Heavy and I made Entrance Song, and I passed them round – when I did Entrance Song I thought, ‘This is it, I’ve done it, I’ve f**king nailed it.’ No one had done that Nineties house thing, those chords, when I was sending it to labels, no one was having it.
It wasn’t until March 2011, between the 10th and 11th month of my year period that Pets signed it and that was it… crazy; on the Dole, one month to go and ‘BANG’ they signed it. I was like, ‘Babe, this is a big label’, a month later Dirtybird signed The Size and I was watching videos of Justin Martin in Detroit playing The Size and Entrance Song and watching VonStroke in the crowd, I’m like, ‘Babe, I can’t give up now, these are some of the biggest DJs in the world’ – it was around my 30th birthday, so I said, ‘Give me until my 30th…’ I still can’t believe it now, it’s amazing!
What was going to be your alternative route if didn’t actually happen?
Nothing, probably going back to doing recruitment which, at points, made me actually want to kill myself. It’s the most hellish job, it’s so stressful it’s not even funny – when you’re working with the people I worked with, nice guys, but a**eholes to work with. Being made to spend two hours a day on the phone, a minimum of 100 calls per day and, even if you did four deals a day, it was still, ‘Have you done your minutes?’. I’m sure not all recruitment companies are like that but that one was pretty bad. So yeah, that was my backup plan basically. There’s no way music wasn’t going to work for me, it’s all I’ve wanted since I was 12. So, in 21 years, it’s the only thing I could ever see myself doing and I’m one of the very very few people in the world that gets to do it. It’s amazing, amazing.bristol, Dan Pearce, Eats Everything
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter