Record label Edible may only be on the brink of its debut release, yet its two founders grace the imprint with a wealth of experience. Daniel Pearce, better known as Eats Everything has been one of the west country's best loved exports in the world of house music; his bumping, caramel-glossed approach to the genre thrilling clubbers across the globe. Fellow Bristolian Nick Harris, on the other hand, was instrumental in the success of NRK Sound Division, a label which became known for delivering yeas of dancefloor gems, record after record.
If the story couldn't get any more Bristol, the label's HQ will be based in the city, aiming to shine a light on new and unheard producers "pushing the envelope" in the house and techno field. The initial releases will be a string of ten-inch singles backed with artwork designed by Nicolas Dixon, kicking off on November 6 with Lord Leopard's jazz-blushed house musings on the "Mark Of Passion"/"Fantastically Well"EP. With the release just around the corner, we decided to catch up with Nick and Dan to find out more about the duo's exploits.
So first off, when did the two of you first meet and when did the initial idea for the label come together?
Nick: Actually, Dan and myself went on a blind date—we were both at a lose end and a mutual friend suggested we hook up for some fun! Ha! of course that’s not true—I’m not Dan’s type anyway! And he’s married! We actually met fairly late considering we’re both Bristol boys who’ve been on the scene for a few years. I guess it just felt right to collaborate together on Edible and bring together our respective backgrounds in running labels, being DJs and liking music and stuff.
Dan: Nick was basically super frigid and wasn't up for the ride, so that's why he's pretending that there was no blind date! In all seriousness though, we have a similar background & similar tastes in music so it felt like the right thing to do. I am a massive fan of NRK and all the other things Nick has been involved in, so its a real pleasure to be going forward together with this thing.
The two of you are both Bristol-based. How have you seen the city's music scene change over the years? Are you keen to support local artists with Edible?
Nick: The scene in Bristol has really morphed and evolved incredibly over the last couple of decades. It’s very much a student-led scene in my opinion, but the roots of the music always comes from the locals, or those who have gravitated to the city for whatever reasons. Of course, Bristol has seen many genres of music rise up over the years, from the dub and punk music that I personally latched onto, through the trip-hop and drum & bass heydays. Remarkably, the city seems to really have embraced house and techno music at a later stage than many other cities. At Edible, we’re about pushing the music that we like regardless of location, so it’s not necessarily about pushing local artists, but we are looking across the city for talent, so we will see what we can unearth.
Dan: Bristol is my favorite city in the world, with a musical heritage that is almost unrivaled in my opinion—so to be able to firmly become a part of that with a record label that is based in Bristol is a big deal for me, and something I never thought I would be able to do. To be honest I never thought I would be a DJ-producer for a living, and somehow I've made that work—so anything is possible!
Nick, you co-ran the NRK imprint until its closure in 2011, a very widely respected label with a history spanning almost two decades. What led to the close of the label, and does it feel refreshing to be able to start again with a blank slate? What is it about working with Daniel makes this feel right?
Nick: I think that it was just time for NRK to bow out gracefully, I discussed the reasons for closing the doors of the label at the time, but in summary, the last light was turned off on the dancefloor in order for me to reconnect with the music industry and the music scene. The label ran for 15 years and I was very much in need of some new doors and chapters opening for me. Of course, I’ve been following Dan’s career with huge interest, and knowing his management team—and knowing that he’s not a Bristol Rovers fan—certainly whetted my appetite to collaborate with him on Edible. I might be the brains, he might be the beauty—I’ll let you decide that—but for me Dan is very much center stage of a huge revival in dance music that not only connects the young, up-and-coming talent, but also the old timers (like myself) who still have huge enthusiasm for the music. It’s a really ideal bed of ideas and music that I knew I could slot into very easily but also with renewed vigor and passion.
Your debut release with Lord Leopard is out on the November 6, "Fantastically Well," in particular uses rhythmic patterns which are unconventional and sure to bewilder dancefloors. Where did you first hear his work, and how long did it take to arrive at the final tracks?
Nick: Ha, well Lord Leopard is most definitely an artist to watch out for. As you mention, unconventional and bewildering, but really fresh and interesting, which was music to our ears. Dan must take the credit for unearthing this one, the "Mark Of Passion" track is very straight and very funky, so it’s not as oddball as is being suggested, but it’s a perfect release to launch the label with as we’re not looking to go in with music that follows the current climate. We’d rather throw in some curveball sounds and keep things fresh and interesting.
Dan: Lord Leopard is a mysterious surfing buddy of my tour manager, from Cornwall. As soon as I heard his music, I knew we had found something special in this geezer. He has a lot of records backed up & ready to go, and I have to say that they are all definitely on the unconventional side of house/techno, which is what I am always on the lookout for. Dance music, with the advances in technology, has become a little stagnant of late, and we are trying to put stuff out that has a little edge to it that you may not be hearing so often.
The artist Nicholas Dixon is also on board providing artwork for the label, something which I believe you are taking great care over with Edible. Can you tell us a little bit about the thinking behind the label's aesthetic?
Nick: We just wanted to present the label, and in particular the physical product, as something that’s a little more collectible I guess—a little piece of merchandise that presents some decent art with some funky music. Dan and myself have been buying records for years, so it was always a given that we’d put effort into the look and feel of the label, pressing ten-inches rather than 12-inches, which I personally love the feel and dinkiness of. We’d rather have a small following of people who buy every release and build a collection, rather than blend into another 100 12-inch singles released in any particular week.
Dan: Dicko is a super talented guy and has been a friend of the extended gang for a long time. I love what he does, the way he works, and he is the kind of person I want to work with. At the end of the day, good people generally attract good people and I don't really like working with assholes! Dicko is far from that. It's nice to have a real identity to the label, something that's distinct without being too in your face.
You mentioned in the press release that the label will not be used as a vehicle for your own productions. What led to this decision?
Nick: I think that it was almost a sub-conscious decision right from the off. I’m sure Dan will elaborate, but Edible is a label that we want to operate as a modern day imprint, and not necessarily an outlet for one artist to release his or her own catalogue on. I guess after signing other people’s music for so many years on NRK, we wanted to keep that tradition up with Edible, and really hunt down some new producers and a variety of sounds.
Dan: I thought long and hard about the way I wanted to go with the label, and my own music, and it just seemed like the right thing to do. I am not saying that I won't put my own music out on Edible, but I really want it to be an outlet for music that I am into, from people I am into. Musically there aren't gonna be any boundaries as such; we just want to put stuff out that we love whilst maintaining an identity.
Finally, what's next for the imprint, and yourselves as individuals?
Nick: We’ve just cut the second record, coming from Lauren Lane, which is sounding really wicked. She's a great producer with a good attitude and lots of ideas. We’ve already signed the third and fourth releases, and are plotting and planning our schedule for 2016. Individually, well I’ve always got a bunch of activities up my sleeve. Edible is a long term proposition so we’re looking forward to growing the label over the coming year, focusing on putting out really good music and putting off having to go out and get a real job.
Dan: As Nick said, we have the next few releases lined up and they are really good. We are going to keep hunting for music by people that we are into and keep the label turning over. It's something we are in for the long term so we want to get it right from the start. Personally, I have lots of music lined up for release and lots of gigs to keep me busy so I should be, much to some peoples dismay and annoyance, around for a little while longer yet!
Ahead of its November 6 release, the label's first EP, Lord Leopard's "Mark Of Passion/Fantastically Well" (EDIBLE001), can be streamed below, alongside a mix to show the musical personality of the label, which is available here.