There are certain gauges of enthusiasm in the DJ game that are certified and scene-recognised. For Instance, there’s the fizzy thrill of a DJ playing their first international gig. More recently there's been the ‘Holy ****, I’m out of lockdown and I can’t believe I'm playing to real-life people again!’ level of excitement. The latter is only a few shades of hype away from the timeless buzz that many artists get to experience if they’re in this game for the long haul: which is the ‘Wow, I’m doing a collab with one of my biggest idols!’
Then there are the levels set by Eats Everything: a man who thrives in his own unique zone of enthusiasm, and is very much in this game for the long haul. Based in Bristol in the south-west of England, he is completely, utterly and consistently enthusiastic and positive about what he does. He genuinely glows from monumental release to monumental release. He’s forever buzzing about unforgettable gigs. His excitement from post-lockdown sets is still at crazy levels after a good half-year of shows, and he’s collaborated and played back-to-back alongside so many iconic DJs, yet always gives off the vibe that it’s the first time. Hell, he even makes a hangover sound fun. “I prefer to call it weekend weary,” he chuckles down the phone. “It was my first weekend on-it for about six weeks and it was fucking legendary.”
He proceeds to regale DJ Mag with tales from a late-night show in Madrid followed by a fabulous five-hour smash-up on the decks at Jodie Harsh and Little Gay Brother’s super-hot queer party, Feel It. “It booted off!” he exclaims. “Everyone out of their minds. Just there for the party. It reminded me of being in gay clubs when I was younger. That abandonment and don't-give-a-fuckness of the mid-‘90s.”
‘Don’t-give-a-fuckness’ is the perfect compound to capture Eats Everything's joie de vivre. It’s what makes his enthusiasm authentic. You see, Dan Pearce’s appreciative perspective is never cheesy, it's much more real and frank. Even on sensitive subjects, he says things how they are. Take billing and line-up pecking orders; a topic a lot of DJs will shy away from in interviews. “I’m not bothered where I am on the bill. Honestly,” he explains.
You see people down as ‘special guest’ and that’s because they want to be a headliner but they’re not. I’m happy to say I’ll never ever be listed as ‘special guest’. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t fucking matter. Don’t worry about it. This is DJing, not rocket science, we’re so lucky to be doing this!”
If anyone knows this, it’s Dan. History has been told many times, but it's worth remembering; while last year saw him celebrating 10 years of Eats Everything with various releases and parties, in reality he's had decks and mixed records for much longer. A dedicated appreciator, collector and purveyor of many flavours of club music since he was 12, next year will be his 30th year as a DJ... yet he didn’t breakthrough until he was 31.
“When you’ve been trying so long to get something, and you finally achieve it, you’re like ‘Fuck me, I can’t believe this!’” he explains. “Then after that you’re terrified that you're going to lose it, so you work your arse off to maintain it. I’m not saying that not being a DJ for a living is a terrible thing, but I got fired in every job I did before this and I was fucking miserable in every job, too. So I’ve been scared that I’ll go back to that.”
To get a level of how much Dan appreciates his life as a DJ, even now, when he’s off-road and at home, he still gets up at 7am just to keep in the timeframe in case he had to give up being a DJ and go back to work.“I didn’t want to get into the thing with being in the studio until 4am and getting up at midday because I’ve been terrified I’d have to go back to a 9-5 again. Now I’m a dad I’m up at that time anyway, but you know what I’m saying,” he chuckles.
We definitely know what he’s saying. But best of all, even after years of proving himself as one of the heartiest, most passionate DJs you can meet, we never quite know what he’s going to be playing. At the heart of this enthusiastic and enduring love for DJ culture is a deep appreciation for pretty much every style of music you can shake a USB at. “I have an appreciation of virtually all forms of dance music,” he beams. “I might not have Seth Troxler’s breadth of weirdness. I might not have the jungle collection Grooverider has got, or the techno collection that Adam Beyer has got. But mate, I have got fuck-loads of deep house, fuck-loads of techno, fuck-loads of drum & bass. I collect it and I love it all.”
This is why his releases can range from heads-down stomp-ups on Catz N Dogz’s Pets imprint to playful outings like the 2020 anthem ‘Honey’ and last year’s ‘Return To Hardbag’. This is why he’s just as at home playing at a Glitterbox party as he is at shindigs held by Elrow, Watergate or Dirtybird, or even throwing down a full drum & bass set at XOYO in London. It’s also why you’re just as likely to see him back-to-back with Skream as you are with Ellis Dee, Fatboy Slim or Melé, who he’ll be proudly b2b-ing with for DJ Mag in Miami. “I’m really looking forward to it,” says Dan, who’s still re-acclimatising to the global lifestyle of a touring DJ post-lockdowns. He’s savouring every moment and is eager for his busiest Miami Music Week in years. Instead of playing for the massive Ultra festival, which requires exclusivity, he’s opted for the classic spread that the famous Florida get-together was always best known for: he’s playing for his friends.
Over the week he’ll be throwing down for Elrow, Defected, Nicole Moudaber’s Mood Music as well as his b2b with Melé for us at the DJ Mag Miami Pool Party. “I’m playing for all of my friends and every set will be completely different,” he buzzes. “Melé is a great guy to b2b with. I don’t have the breadth of collection of his style, but I do have loads of it and can work with it and I know he can do the same with me and my style. He’s a collector the same as me.”
Famously not opting in on any promo system — even though most labels across most genres would love to have Eats Everything on their mailing list — it’s another example of how deep Dan’s passion can run. “Promos don’t work for me,” he admits as we wrap up our conversation. “I buy all my music because I’m searching for things that specifically fit what I do. It’s more of an investment that way. You’re spending time digging out things and thinking about what you play.” And with that he gives off one last west country cackle. Weekend weary, but fully-charged for an exciting 2022, he reminds us of another gauge of enthusiasm we all know and love: finding the perfect record. Certified, scene-recognised and real and positive: these are the levels set by Eats Everything.