It's been an eventful year for Pierce Fulton to say the least, and things are only heating up for the Vermont native. He released several remixes in the past few months and even a track which features his own vocals called, ‘False Proof'. His most recent release comes as an original track called, ‘Losing You' which taught Pierce a lot about patience as it went through 5-10 different versions over the course of the past three years. Most producers would have either settled or given up on the track, but not Pierce as he was truly determined to make the best track possible.
There was only one hiccup along the way this year for Pierce unfortunately as he was injured in a rope swing accident up in British Columbia. With the help of others, time in and out of the hospital, and rest, Pierce managed to get himself back to full strength. Needless to say, life is pretty good for Pierce Fulton, and I was fortunate enough to sit down with the man himself after a live set to discuss anything and everything going on in his life. Check out the full interview below. Enjoy!
What kind of pre-planning or preparation goes into a set? Do you have an idea of where you want to go with it or do you sort of feel out the crowd?
“The only thing I really plan is my own stuff. Even if the crowd doesn’t really know me that well, I just try to hit them with as much of my own music as possible. That’s why I’m here.` When I was younger and I was DJing, I’d always think that I have to play to the crowd and really give them what they want, and I was like ‘then what the hell am I doing?' I’m just a jukebox. You know, obviously I play some songs people know and they have a good time and enjoy it, but at the end of the day I make my music. This is my performance at the moment, so I've got to put as much of my music as I can into my sets.”
You moved out from NYC to LA recently, How has the transition been?
“I love it so much. I love New York and I might move back there someday, but L.A. is so nice. I wake up happy everyday. I lucked out and got a really cool house. I live with one of the members of Botnek and DallasK. So it’s like a little producer hut and we have two studios. It’s the sickest house ever and we just have a great time.”
So for those who may not be aware, Pierce Fulton and Ansolo formed a group together when they were roommates living in NYC called, ‘Shirts & Skins’. They released two tracks on Soundcloud almost a year ago but since Pierce moved out to L.A. it left me wondering what the current status of the duo is.
“I actually was in Atlanta prior to the Number Fest because Ansel (aka Ansolo) was shooting a movie down there, and we actually did two back to back studio days where we just pounded out a bunch of music. We both have our busy schedules but we’re still really fired up about it, and he’s going in a new direction with his music and I’m kind of going in a new direction with my music as well. I think Shirts & Skins is the tie back to just the core of dance music for us, which is great. I’m still going to do progressive house, but I’m playing with some other styles and sort of exploring new avenues. The cool thing is like I said, Shirts and Skins is that kind of medium for both of us so that we can go back and play fun, house music and have a good time.”
You have been incorporating more live instruments into your tracks recently; Do you see yourself going more towards a live show instead of a traditional DJ set?
“The big thing is that I’ve been playing in bands since I was a kid. I either played with friends or found groups that wanted to play. When I started making electronic music was the first time I stepped off and just did my own thing. It was fun. It was very liberating because I worked better by myself but for a long time I just ignored any sort of live influence on it. I don’t know whether I consciously ignored it or if it just happened by chance. I think it was by chance but one day I was just like ‘fuck it, I just want to put a guitar in my song’. Actually, ‘Landmines’ was the first song that I ever just put one of my guitar riffs on and it worked. It wasn’t even that much, and I just kept doing more and more to the point of where I started to record all my drums live, and all my bass live, and even some vocals. I’m just trying to make it feel like it’s a one man band just having fun and making fun music.”
Insert typical, “What are you working on” question…
“I don’t know if you saw the live version of ‘Kuaga’ that I did, but I’m doing another video like that although totally different and a totally different type of song. It’s basically the same idea where it’s a live version of that single and I’m currently working on that. I’m trying to develop all the video stuff right now. It’s a big project but it’ll be really fun. Then on top of that I have a few collabs with some people that are really fun and then I have this 6-track EP that I’m finishing up. On top of that I have a million other things that I might put out in between like some covers, and some singles just for fun.”
Where do you draw your influences from?
“Lately I’ve just been doing what feels natural. I used to go in the studio and just be like ‘oh, people like this song so I’ll just try to make something like that’. For example, my song ‘Kuaga’ started doing well and then I did the single called ‘In Reality’ and that was like my response to ‘Kuaga’. That was supposed to be the next one and weirdly no label wanted it. Every label said, ‘No’, so I put it out for free and I was like, ‘fuck you guys’. It did really well on its own which is cool but it made me sort of realize that people know me for progressive house, but I don’t think that’s the end all be all. I still have a bunch of classic Pierce Fulton sounding progressive house songs, but moving forward I’ve just literally been making music that I would show my heroes and be proud of. If I were to show some ‘Kuaga’ rip-off to one of my influences like Keith Richards, Beck, Moby etc, I would be really ashamed of it…well, not ashamed but I just wouldn’t be stoked. I’d rather show them this new music that I’ve been creating for so long and I’m really excited about. It feels very pure. It might not be successful but fuck it, I’m having fun.”
Talk a little bit about how you handle life on the road. Does that take a toll on your mind and/or body?
“No, it’s weird because you know the thought of flying is annoying to anyone. You’re just sitting in a tube for hours but when I’m doing it I actually love it. I use that time to read, or listen to new albums and when I’m home and in my studio I’m not trying to listen to a full album because all I can think about is ‘I need to work; I need to do this, and that, etc’. I can obviously work on flights but I treat flights like a meditation kind of thing where I can just disconnect, and enjoy a book while listening to an album. For some reason I do both at the same time, so I can listen to an album completely and read at the same time. I use that time to really engage the other part of my brain that doesn’t get engaged very often.”
What are some other things you do in your spare time?
“I honestly use all of my free time at home to just write music, but when I have free time on the road I do this thing where I sort of venture off. I used to do it more than I do now because I haven’t had a lot of time in each city but I used to land early afternoon and I would just walk until I was like ‘where the fuck am I?’ And then I would just take my phone out and find my way back to my hotel. It was just a fun routine that I would always explore new cities and see what was going on there. Even if it’s like in the middle of no where I would just do it.”
What was your reaction to Avicii’s announcement on him not touring anymore?
“I get it, I mean he seems like he’s very introverted, not in a bad way. I’m very introverted too; I just put on a front that I can be social about. He seems like he’s very contained and just wants to write music and enjoy the simple things in life. He was thrown into a big world really early at a very young age. He was like 21 when he was huge and it messes with your head. I haven’t seen it at that point at all, I’m still very early on in my career but I get it, sometimes you’re on the road and you’re just like ‘Fuck, this is rough’. You miss your friends, you miss your family and their sending you pictures of them all out on a Saturday night and you’re sitting in some random town by yourself in a hotel. I travel alone everywhere but I’ve gotten used to it, so I don’t think I would ever hit a point where I was just like ‘I’m Done’ cause I’ve done it alone from the start so I’m pretty used to it. I definitely sympathize with him. People think its all fun and games and shit. Everyone thinks you’re partying all the time.”
We continued to talk about the perception of DJ’s living the “Rockstar” lifestyle…
“I actually talked to my manager about this. I want to do some editorial about how the age of the rock star is totally dead. It’s not a thing anymore. People don’t do drugs and go party all the time anymore. We are in the day and age where you have to be sharp everyday and you have to do your social media, be doing your music, and be doing all this stuff. The book I just finished was ‘Scar Tissue’ by Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I love him to death but he’d go off for weeks on drug binges and do whatever. They just went nuts but you cant do that anymore or else your just totally screwed. I’ve seen so many people dump out a bottle of vodka and fill it with water and be doing shots. It’s smart man, you’re putting on a persona of partying but you’re not actually partying and you’re being smart. That’s how you do it.”