Eats Everything, a.k.a Dan Pierce, has seen a meteoric rise in the house music scene with a decidedly groovy and low-end-heavy breed of house. After struggling for years and even going on the dole (the UK’s equivalent of collecting unemployment), he cut a deal for his single “Entrance Song” in 2011 and the rest is history. Today he ranks #13 on Resident Advisor’s top DJs list, and is one of the most in-demand DJs in Europe and beyond. We share a conversation with the affable gent on the underground, drugs, and wrestling. Yes, wrestling. Read on for an explanation…
LAC: I read in an old interview that you were into wrestling as a kid… and that it was how you really got into electronic music. Can you share that story with us?
EE: Well I was actually into WWF as it was known then, when I was 10 or 11 years old. I had the ropes painted around the walls in my room and all the logos of Hulk Hogan, etc. painted on my walls. I used to wrestle with the pillow and listen to Radio 1. They played what I now know to be house music basically. And they played Felix’s ‘Don’t You Want Me.’ I thought, ‘wow, I haven’t really heard anything like this before.’ So I recorded the show, and every time I wrestled my pillow, I played that song.
LAC: So, basically a gay anthem became your entrance song…
EE: Yeah, exactly! My entrance song is basically a gay anthem, so just picture me wrestling my pillow, walking into my bedroom and ‘Don’t You Want Me’ is playing.
LAC: Well that’s got to be the most entertaining story of how anyone’s gotten into electronic music…
EE: Yeah, [laughs]
LAC: You’re into a lot of music, and consider yourself open-minded… why do you think electronic music in particular though, is so powerful?
EE: You want the honest truth? Because most people who get into it, take drugs with it, and they like it, the drugs give you a euphoria and I don’t think there’s anything more euphoric than a huge piano riff or, like, a big massive riff. Electronic music is very strict on its boundaries, with how it works, for example, it’s usually got a 4-4 kick drum, very definite broken beat, and so on and so on. You can really associate with it. Whereas, rock music, for example, is 4 different speeds, ranging from like from 100 to 200 BPM, I’m not saying in general, but me personally I could never grab onto anything. I like it, but house music you can grab on to it, you can grab onto the kick drum. There’s an element of that that works… It works for me and other people, it’s got something that really grabs you. EDM, it’s such a big thing in charts now, there’s a big culture around it.
LAC: Speaking of drugs, I’ve seen a rise in the use of psychedelics and there’s this discussion around the audio enhancement you can get on psychedelics. Do you think there are musicians out there who produce specifically keeping that in mind?
I do think there are definitely producers who do. But I mean, me personally, I don’t… well, I guess I do in a way. From the ages of 15 to 27 or 28 I was getting fucked up every weekend. And I mean, obviously when I’m making a record, I have an idea subconsciously how it might sound. And there probably are writers who do specifically produce for people on acid or [psychedelics]. Take psy-trance for example, it’s definitely produced for people on acid and stuff.
LAC: Thanks for answering that so frankly… Moving on, I’m curious about Claude VonStroke. What role has he played in your career and what’s it like to be a part of the Dirtybird family?
EE: He’s a real legend and amazing person. Really helpful. I mean, he’s out for himself, not in a bad way, but in the sense that he wants his label to do as well as it possibly can, he does this by signing the best artists and the best music, there’s no bad in thing in that. He’s given me a lot of advice and he’s really helped me a lot. The Dirtybird guys are my favorite guys in this industry, they’re great. Not just cause they’re my crew, but they’re really just my favorite guys in the industry. But really, there’s not really anyone in the underground-ish house scene who aren’t cool. There’s no arrogance, no cliquey-ness, anything like that. Also, we’re all a bit older, we’re all in like our 30’s, we’ve been around a lot..
LAC: There’re no egos right?
LAC: I’ve always thought when the egos are thrown out of the mix the music is much better.
EE: 100 percent.
LAC: You’ve been in the game a really long time now. I’m sure you’ve seen the sound of the underground change from year to year.
EE: Yeah exactly, look at “Jack”, that was underground…
LAC: …But now it’s huge!
EE: Yeah, now it’s gotten to the top 10 in England! You know, I don’t even call myself underground really. I say [my sound is] underground-ish… I don’t think people and clubs and cliques could say that they’re underground but they’re not cause if you advertise on your Facebook and tell people “come to my party” or “buy my record”, then you’re not really underground. At the end of the day, you’re not underground. I would never call myself underground ’cause I advertise, lots of people know who I am, I have a Facebook, I say listen to this or that on the radio… there’s nothing underground about that. And it’ll continue to be like that forever, because the kids who are into Skrillex and you know (I mean I love Skrillex but it’s just an example), they’re always going to be wanting more or looking for something new. I just think underground will always become mainstream, because the kids will always want something new and their attention spans are already short, but I see them getting shorter and shorter. I don’t think there’s really any such thing as underground anymore.
LAC: You used to be into darker music… You’ve played everything from hardcore to jungle, speed garage to a funkier, groovier breed of house. Can you tell us a bit more about your transition from the heavy to the lighter? Would you say the heavy side still influences your sound?
EE: When I was a kid I was listening to, obviously, Felix. Then, when I was about 13, my friends who had older brothers who were basically you know, they’d go to raves and hardcore raves…
LAC: So you got into raves when you were a kid.
EE: I was from a small village, basically in the middle of nowhere, miles from anywhere. There was nothing to do, and you could either get into crime or go to parties. Luckily for my parents I got into partying and taking drugs a bit [laughs]. Yeah, I was taking drugs and enjoying myself [laughs] We’d listen to hardcore… it was all about breaks, jungle types of breakbeats and piano then all of a sudden they added all this shit… cheesy lyrics into the track, it kind of turned a lot of us off.
LAC: Are you talking about happy hardcore stuff?
EE: Yeah, happy hardcore! So basically the hardcore became happy hardcore so we got into jungle and drum ‘n’ bass, then it got darker and it kind of lost all the soul for me, so then we got into house music and into its emerging and amalgamating form. I’ve always been into the more banging heavier end of the spectrum, but, yeah, I would say I’m one of the more heavier DJs within this “underground”-ish scene.
LAC: I read that you have a collaboration album in the works in Justin Martin
EE: Yeah, I’m in San Francisco at the mall at the moment looking for a new shirt. (I’ve run out of shirts), but yeah I’m actually here to record with him, I’m staying at his house recording music! We’re trying to write an album of what we consider dancefloor-friendly, we just want to make an album of tracks that we can play and we can tour and play it in a certain way. We just want to make a lot groovier records basically.
LAC: I’ve heard a lot of your collaborations but haven’t seen so many of your own solo productions lately. Where do you see your career going, are you still thinking of opening a studio?
EE: My career, well, me and my management, my team, we basically have a plan for what’s going to happen. And the reason now I’m doing a lot of collaborations is, because at the end of the day, I’ve released a lot of singles, I’m doing a collaborations and then I’m gonna do a lot of touring, then after that I’m going to sit down and write an album, cause with this game I’ve learned more and more that things can get stale and you have to do different things for yourself, cause I don’t want to get bored. I know if I was in the studio all the time I’d get bored, so there needs to be a balance.
LAC: Understandable. Do you have artists that you’re thinking of collaborating with or artists who are just under the radar that we should keep an eye out for?
EE: There’s this guy German Brigante who makes fucking brilliant records every time. Every record is a winner. There’s also a guy Truncate who makes techno. He makes really cool, really crazy techno.
LAC: This one’s a bit random, but what are the best and worst foods you’ve had in the United States?
EE: That’s a tough one! I’ve actually never really had bad food here, I’ve liked pretty much everything. Let’s see, I had a really good meal at a place called House of Prime Rib. I like most foods so anywhere I go I’m pretty happy.
LAC: You play Splash House this weekend in Palm Springs and you just played HARD Summer here in LA. How was that experience for you? Do US audiences differ from UK ones?
EE: They do differ in that the US audience is a little less expectant of what they want you to play. US audiences seem a lot more open-minded, they kind of just let you do what you do and get down… whereas in the UK, the audiences are a bit more… difficult, in the sense that they want you to play certain tunes or records.
See Eats Everything get down this Saturday at Splash House in Palm Springs. From August 10-11, Eats Everything and artists like Bag Raiders, Poolside, Classixx, Perseus, Plastic Plates, and more take to the decks for a triple-header pool party at the Saguaro Hotel, the Curve Hotel, and the Caliente Tropics! More details here.