Ewan Pearson: Deep thinking
Thu 27th Jan, 2011 Features 694 viewsin
Where to begin with a guy like Ewan Pearson? Even if you’ve never come across his name as a celebrated remixer or DJ (which would be surprising), it’s more than likely you’ve witnessed his touch without even realising it. The Rapture, M83, Ladytron, The Lost Valentinos and Gwen Stefani are but a few of the names that he has lent his much in demand production skills towards.
Add all of that to a slew of successful solo productions under a number of guises, a masters degree and even a book on dance music and popular culture, and you start to get an idea of his exhaustive resume.
After a recent spell producing albums for former Everything But The Girl vocalist Tracey Thorn and Manchester’s Delphic, Pearson returned to his work as a DJ last year and released his third commercial mix CD, We Are Proud Of Our Choices. ITM caught up with the ever-polite Englishman over the phone from his adopted home of Berlin for a brief but insightful Q&A.
Hi Ewan, how is Berlin this morning? Nice and cold?
It’s not too bad actually. It’s warmed up a lot the past couple of weeks. It was freezing, but now we’re into the dirty and wet phase.
You moved there from London, what, six or seven years ago now, right?
Do you think it’s still the most advantageous city to live in for working in dance music?
The fact that there’s a good scene and a lot of clubs here is certainly a positive, but at the same time a there are a lot of people working here professionally as well as a lot of international guests coming in the whole time, which means there aren’t as many DJ slots to play as people think. Not as many as there used to be, anyway. There are a lot of circumstantial benefits though; I know a lot of people share studio spaces and kind of collaborate directly in that way. For me the nicest thing is just having lots of my friends nearby.
People have often asked me if they should come here but I think what really matters most is the music you make, and you can do that anywhere these days. I don’t think that people have to come here to make their fortune. The streets aren’t paved with gold. At the moment they’re paved with broken bottles, cigarette butts and bits of old firework from New Years Eve!
Your mix compilation for Kompakt last year was very well received, reaching number 4 on Resident Advisor’s top 20 comps of the year. Being a big fan of the label yourself, you must have been pretty chuffed with the reaction?
I was, yeah. It’s a bit funny when you start working with people that you’re a fan of. Like when I first started making music and was recording for Soma, I had every single one of their records. They accepted my demo, then I joined them and at the time it felt a bit like…I guess I could compare it to supporting a football team when you’re a kid and then getting called up to play for them later on.
And it feels like that with Kompakt too. When I first met Michael Mayer properly, and John Berry – another label manager there – I got on with them both very well and it was a bit embarrassing really. It was this big ‘love in’ where it was like, “Oh I love this thing you’ve done” and vice versa and if anyone else had been there listening to us they probably would have vomited!
So yeah, it’s a shared sensibility and attitude to music. Kompakt are very diverse; I love the fact that they’re open to pop elements but at the same time they’ll put out banging techno. They are very hard to pin down. I mean people say that they have a style, but it’s kind of elusive. They have put out such a diverse range of music recently and have a load of good new stuff coming out this year. There’s a band from the States called Rainbow Arabia who have a new album coming out really soon which is great.