Exclusive Interview: Getting To Know Pierce Fulton
Pierce Fulton returned to New York City June 2nd for his debut headlining show in the Big Apple. Musik Beats was lucky enough to sit down with him before his performance at Santos Party House. Hailing from Vermont, this nineteen-year-old college student is making big waves in the EDM community. Not only is he an incredible live DJ, he has a serious talent when it comes to producing. Pierce has released a number of his own original tracks along with countless remix’s that he has been commissioned to do. Signed with Cr2 records, this kid has a serious future ahead of him and has already been supported by many big name DJ’s who see him as a big part of electronic music’s future.
Also, check out the review of Pierce Fulton’s first headlining night at Santo’s Party House
How excited are you to be playing in New York for your first time as a headliner?
Pierce Fulton:There is always so much of a difference between headlining and opening so it’s definitely going to be a lot different than the last time I played in New York; and the last time I played in New York was January, which is a long time ago, so I am definitely excited to be back and headlining this time.
How do you decide what you’re going to play every night, especially now that you are headlining in New York, which is somewhat a new territory for you?
Pierce Fulton: Preparing for any set, I never really play the same set over. I usually sit down the night before I have to play and kind of organize tracks that I like at the moment or they’ve worked in the past. For some reason, I can’t just recycle a set from an old show because I feel like there should be some process of making a set and kind of connecting it and then playing it. Like tonight, I’ve made edits for the past two nights just preparing for today, and I guess that’s different then opening, because opening I’ll just play generic kind of mellow stuff, and went I’m headlining, its more fun and I think the preparation is definitely different.
You’ve obviously been supported by Tiesto on Club Life Podcast and you opened for him at XS, the last time being only last week. How is that, working with Tiesto, as an experience all together?
Pierce Fulton: It’s definitely a different look on everything in electronic music because he is just such a huge figure in our culture and in what we do. It’s pretty intense just kind of being this kid from Vermont making music and just being suddenly thrown next to him in a club. I mean I’ve hung out with him outside of the clubs and he’s like the nicest guy, he’s super down to earth, and he’s like a real guy which is cool because you never think that with guys as big as him. But its different, you have to pay attention to certain things and kind of go about things in a more professional way, where as if I was just playing my own show I kind of get goofy. But when its his show. You just have to be a little more responsible and respectful and just know your boundaries.
I actually just listened to it yesterday, and today on the train in today, your monthly radio show “Get Weird” just launched. Could you tell us a little bit about that project?
Pierce Fulton: Well, I’ve had monthly mixes on my SoundCloud for the past three months I think, and it really just started up because I used to have a podcast back in the day, and it did well, but I was still really small, and it wasn’t really worth everything that we were doing for it so, we kind of stopped that. Then suddenly when content started slowing down we said we should make a mix because its fun and people like to listen to it, so we started doing that and we always had a radio show, and when I say “We” I mean my manager and I. We’ve always wanted to do a radio show and we got the offer to do the spot on the Club Life channel and it just worked out perfectly, because I’ve always wanted a Sirus XM show because when your doing a monthly radio show, its good to an extent but when you have Sirus air playing time. Its not just an Internet radio station, it’s a cool thing, and it works and its very structured and I like that.
Can you tell us a little about what it’s like being a young producer amongst all these veterans and huge names in dance music out there?
Pierce Fulton: Its stressful at times, I mean it’s cool because you see success in what you’re doing and it’s comforting to know that you’re doing something right but at the same time its stressful because sometimes. I’ll be sitting at home and I’m like, “I should be working on something. I should be doing this, this, and this,” and you feel like you need to keep up with the rest of the group, but at the same time your doing your own thing, you are your own person so it doesn’t really matter if you compare yourself to these big names or not. Whatever you do is your own choice but you kind of look at things differently because back in the day I just made music because I had nothing to do and I just thought it was fun and cool and all of a sudden it started picking up and now I do it because people want more music from me, and that’s really weird. I feel like I need to keep supplying.
What are some of your favorite tracks for any show to play right now?
Pierce Fulton: I really like everyone at Anjunabeats and Anjunadeep. That’s probably my favorite little family in electronic music. In the past two years, they have gone from really hardcore trance to house. All the Arty releases are very house based with some trance elements and like Mat Zo. So I play a lot of Arty and Mat Zo in my sets, and I kind of just branch off of that. I do play some other kind of weird electro that kind of goes with my style and I really kind of structure my sets around my originals. When I play something like “Pardon My French”, I’ll play other kind of upbeat electro tracks. When I play something like “For Me”, I’ll play more progressive trancey ones. Grouping around my originals, that’s how my set works.
What’s your most memorable night so far as a DJ, if you can pick one?
Pierce Fulton: Usually the bad ones are the most memorable, but I’ll go with a good one. I definitely think headlining at XS was pretty memorable because I had always been there to watch Tiesto and for the first time I was there for me. It was just really intense, there was just confetti everywhere and co2 cannons and LED’s going crazy. I kind of remember just sitting there and being like, “What the heck is going on?”
And your family was there too right?
Pierce Fulton: Yea, my parents, they’ve never been to a club in their life and my brother and I one day were just like, “Why don’t we just bring them to Vegas? Its like the perfect show to bring them to, its crazy and whatever”. Not many people bring their parents to shows but I was like, whatever. And the thing with them is that they are really cool people, like they’re not really hardcore parents, they are really chill, and you can hang out with them. My Mom was dancing like crazy and my Dad was just goofing around, so it worked out well, I think. I can see other people’s parents and it not going so well, but it did go well.
What’s it like balancing school as a DJ?
Pierce Fulton: It’s brutal. The most surprising thing about that though, is that this past semester I actually did the best I’ve ever done in my college career, and I was gone every weekend. I think there were one or two weekends that I was at school the entire semester, but for some reason, when I wing it on tests and don’t study I do better. I guess that’s like my new strategy, because I was in Miami for Ultra and WMC and I had a geography test I think the day I got back and I like flew in at midnight the night before and I just went into the test. I took it and I got an A on it, and I was like “what the heck?”. I actually thought it was an accident at first I was gonna go up to the teacher and be like, “are you sure?” But it was just really weird, somehow I got really lucky and I did pretty well. But it’s definitely tough, you learn how to sleep in class very well.
Advancing your career during college it’s got to overshadow your whole college life. Are there times where you’re sitting there and your wishing you could just be a normal college kid?
Pierce Fulton: Ehh, I remember for the few weekends that I was at UVM this past semester I kind of just sat there and I was either working on music, or just doing nothing. The downside with leaving every weekend, I have a lot of good friends at UVM and I’d hang out with them a fair amount but when you’re always gone they kind of just get used to you being gone. I would usually just be chilling by myself, its just strange when I am a normal college student, I’m like, “I hate this”, but when I’m traveling and I come back to college it’s nice, and I think it’s because you’re not always there. It’s refreshing to be back instead of just always being there and being like, “God, get me out of here!”. It’s like having a million vacations so it helps a bit, I wouldn’t say its stressful or anything, I would say it’s refreshing. A lot of people would see it as being hell but I enjoy it. And I’m really ADD so I like always being in new places and stuff.
Do you ever play parties at school?
Pierce Fulton: I did back in the day, I mean only a few times. Freshman year, I lived across the hall from these lacrosse kids and they were two kids on the varsity team that were really nice and were always coming by my room and playing music and talking or whatever, and I played one or two shows at their little lacrosse house and it was a fun time – I mean it’s just crazy college kids. I think one of them was on a computer, like a computer speaker set up but this was like far before I ever actually started gigging because I really just started gigging the beginning of this year, maybe a little bit into 2011, but yea, those were my gigs I guess. I played a few shows, I think three in total at UVM, like basement parties and stuff just for fun and it was way before I was doing anything serious.
What was your first actual show?
Pierce Fulton: I don’t even know, I started DJing like half a year after I started producing and I started producing in the Summer of 2009. I started out with hip-hop actually in the beginning of 2009 on New Year’s Eve, I think I made my first track ever. Then, in the summer, I got into House and later on that year I got into DJing. I don’t really know my first show, I used to have weird raves in my barn in Vermont and back then I used to have to pack my little Volkswagen Jetta with all my speakers and equipment, it was this crazy stupid set up and it would take so much man power and time. But my first legit club gig was in the Dominican Republic actually, because I had a friend down there and they had a large poll with my music so they flew me down there and then after that I had nothing for five months until Yacht Week, so those were like my two first shows.
As we all know, dance music has completely blown up in the past couple of years, there are a lot of younger producers in the scene. What do you have that you are bringing to the table that’s different from other young up and comers out there?
Pierce Fulton: I don’t want to bash other people but I think the issue with a lot of these young producers is that they are settling with paths that people have already traveled on. They will produce the same stuff, the same styles, the same samples, and the same presets. You can’t help but to follow those paths because you just do it because that’s what’s going on, and that’s what’s popular. I think I definitely try to bring a weird style to my music, I always say that, that’s why my show is called “Get Weird”. Like the burp in the track in “Pardon My French” its just weird stuff and you gotta have something different than everyone else. I take a lot of pride in just trying to go the extra yard and bring something new in and put your seal of approval on.
At what moment did you say, “This is what I want to do, I want to produce music, and make electronic music”?
Pierce Fulton: I don’t even know if I have yet, it kind of just happened, I never decided, “Yea! I’m gonna do this and I’m gonna get gigs”, it all kind of just pieced together in this weird timing. I didn’t really get a second to figure it all out. But its what I’m doing now and I love it and it’s a hell of a lot of fun, I could always do something different. I still have a lot more college left.
What’s your major?
Pierce Fulton: Currently, it’s Economics, but I don’t think I’m going to stay with that. I might do Anthro because of all the hot girls are in Anthro.
Where do you see yourself in your musical career say a year from now? Or can you even envision your music a year from now?
Pierce Fulton: I change so much that I can’t even, I mean, ideally, if I’m at the height that I can be to make an album that’s what I would like to be doing. Ya know what I mean? If it’s acceptable to make an album. Because some people will make an album and its totally the wrong timing, they are either too small or they’re in a rut and no one really is talking about them that much, they’ll make an album, it’ll come out and its not that great. But if I’m at the level and the height to make an album, I’d love to do that because ideally all music is in its best form when it’s in an album. It’s telling a story and it’s a progression, it works. I hate putting out singles or two track EPs because, sure, they can tell a story but its short and it’s not full. I would just love to be able to give something full.
That was actually one of my questions, do you currently have an album or anything like that in the works or are you just focused on releasing a sick song whenever you can?
Pierce Fulton: Right now, I’m at the level where you just need output all the time and you need to just be putting out stuff all the time and feeding the crowds. Because when you’re still up and coming, something like an album is just totally not smart because you spend all this time on it and it comes out and not that many people know about it. When you’re at the peak of your fan base, that’s when you should start thinking about an album – it becomes logical. I’d love to but right now I can’t. I was actually even debating making one and keeping it to myself for now just so I can say I made an album but no one has to hear it.
Do you have a certain routine before either writing music or making remixes?
Pierce Fulton: No, I probably should though, I’m a mess. I have like millions of project files that are just unfinished, named the weirdest things. What I do is, I actually try to name my exported files the funniest thing possible to make my manager laugh when I send it to him. I’ll just name it the strangest thing in the world. I’m just a total mess when it comes to my workflow, I should probably get structured, it would probably make things go a lot faster.
Do you have a process on picking songs that you remix?
Pierce Fulton: Well, the thing with remixes, a lot of people don’t actually know the process with a remix. But the way it comes about is that you get offered a remix, so you can either say yes or no. When you’re first starting out, you say yes to everything, because you’re like remixes are good. It’s an official release or whatever, you get the parts and you try it out and if it works it works, they can decline it or it can do well. But my process now is, I’ll get a few offers a month and sometimes I’ll want to do them and sometimes my management will give be like, it’ss really not smart, or yes do this. It’s really based on, if it’s smart for you to do or if you just really love it. So if I have a remix that I really love I will be super enthusiastic about it and I’ll take it and I’ll do it, hoping it’ll go out. But sometimes, you’re not that enthusiastic. I just did one the other day and it ended up turning into a good project but I didn’t like the vocal that much; I kinda just said sorry I don’t want to do it any more. I might use the idea for an electro original which would be cool.
What tracks, original or remixes are you most proud of?
Pierce Fulton: I’d have to say my progressive stuff. Tracks like “For Me” I’m always really proud of because I don’t even remember making it. It’s just weird, because it was just a long time ago and it released probably like three or four months after it was done. And that was just so much different than what I’ve been working on now. The stuff like “Pardon My French” and “Who Wants Spaghetti”, they are cool and special in their own way but I just like the different sounds. “For Me” was just kind of totally a different style and everything.
Which venue or festival are you most excited about playing this Summer?
Pierce Fulton: Well, it’s not really the Summer, it’s kind of after the Summer, but Electric Zoo. I’m definitely excited for because I’ve been going to that festival for the past two or three years. Just as a fan and just seeing all these guys I like. Getting the offer was pretty cool, because when you go as a fan and now all of a sudden your like, “Damn, I’m playing!”, it’s pretty eye opening so I’m excited for that. New York is kind of considered home turf because it really is for everything in New England, so yea, I’m excited.
Check out the pictures below from Pierce Fulton’s show at Santo’s Party House in NYC