Although his first EP only dropped four months ago, it is easy to guess why Ben Pearce landed on this year’s Artists to Watch list. Within its beautifully simplistic production, the single “What I Might Do” shot way up the Beatport charts within days, and remains in the Top 100 to this day. Heavily supported by industry legends like Pete Tong, Seth Troxler, John Digweed, Jamie Jones, and Annie Mac, the release—a clever take on Anthony Hamilton’s “Cornbread, Fish, and Collard Greens”—can easily be a contender for one of the biggest tunes of 2012. With new original and remixed material on the way, a continued role as creative director of Purp & Soul, and an increasingly lengthy touring schedule, 2013 looks promising for this Manchester native.

There’s been a lot written about you lately… tell us one thing about yourself that the press has missed.

I’d have no shame in admitting, but I don’t think it’s come up in any press: I’m a massive geek. I get almost more excited about a new documentary series on TV than music. Africa and Galapagos have been highlights of the year. Before I got into playing and making music, I was going to study astrophysics at university!

Have a favorite track from last year?

Real Connoisseur’s “Jungle Jakarta.” He’s one of our own, and it’s a huge track.

Besides you, who else should we keep an eye on this year?

Without sounding too eager to promote, everyone on our label, Purp & Soul, is doing some amazing stuff—Real Connoisseur, Harry Wolfman, Jouhl, 2ndSun, etc. Happa, I imagine, is going to have a huge year, My Nu Leng definitely, Monki, Chaos in the CBD, Paleman, and Last Magpie.

Any predictions for 2013, music or otherwise?

I’m sure there’ll be another end-of-the-world fantasy for people to look forward to, and I’d love to predict that my team, Manchester United, will win the premier league again and make it number 20! Music-wise, there’ll most likely be a further divide in the so-called “EDM debate” between those who are following trends and those who are breaking them. The UK is definitely at the forefront of changing music. People like Blawan, Four Tet, and the Hessle Audio lot are pushing the boundaries further than ever and it’s really exciting. Techno will be definitely feature heavily. There will be more of an influence from the UK scene to play a range of styles and not just be limited, which I’m happy about. The best parties I’ve been to and/or played at have always been those where the DJs have free rein to go where they like and where they think the crowd would like; everybody relaxes and it creates this brilliant atmosphere.

What’s next for you release-wise, and what should we look forward to in the future?

I’ve just got a remix of Josh Butler on MTA Records out this month, a remix of Chicken Lips on Southern Fried landing in March, and I’m really pleased to be part of the next Moda Black album. So, some collaborations and a few other remixes, then getting down to work on my next record, really. I’ve got a very busy first few months of the year, gig-wise. As for our label, we’ll be pushing forward this year with both a sub-label, which will be more white-label edit kind of releases with the first one coming from 2ndSun. Our main label’s next release is from Harry Wolfman & Jouhl and has remixes from James Welsh and Friend Within. I’m really excited about the next few months and can’t wait to see what they hold for both me and the whole P&S family.