Here at Earmilk, we love guys like Pierce Fulton. An artist who allows himself no boundaries or guidelines as a producer, his style is one that spans multiple different genres and emotions, all while staying true to himself. With that, success comes naturally. This week, he’s paired with another one of our favorite artists, leading dance vocalist Polina on “Where We Were” out on Cr2 Records. At times it’s obvious when a track is written together by collaborators, and in “Where We Are” the synergy between lyrics, melody and production is smooth. Polina’s made her mark on “Where We Were” with a sound that reminds me of the days of Zero 7 circa the release of the melancholy soundtrack to Garden State. We got to chat with Pierce Fulton on how this collaboration all came about, recent club residencies around New York, and his personal journey with music.
You're a self starter: taught yourself how to play the piano and other instruments. How'd you learn how to produce electronically?
Mostly trial and error. I never really had any mentor besides my high school music teacher and he would just give me a ton of books on certain aspects of production like mixing and mastering. He was the kind of music teacher who obviously ran the school’s orchestra and everything else music related but also knew so much about electronic music. It was really cool getting some guidance early on from the same guy who taught me how to play trombone.
When did you decide that electronic music was what you wanted to "do"? How did that come about?
Well I never really decided, it kind of just happened. All of the sudden I was playing shows and people were starting to take my music seriously so I thought, “maybe I should take it seriously as well.” Although a big change in perspective came when I moved to Brooklyn this past December. Just moving away from home and taking this music thing on full time was pretty intense, but I do love it so much.
You seem to be a composer before producer. How do you think that affects your outlook on music?
I wouldn’t say I’m more of one thing than another, but composition definitely came first for me in my life so that’s always what I think is the most important aspect of my music. But through becoming an electronic producer, I’ve learned that you can’t have more of one than another. For example, a great melody won’t shine nearly as much if the technical side of the production isn’t on point and a shit melody won’t sound amazing even if you know every trick in the book. It takes a proper balance to make a great piece of music.
What's a track that's been working well in your live sets that surprises you?
I’ll say one of my own upcoming ones and another that’s not mine. "Where We Were" has been doing great live, but I have this other one that has a super quirky break and a kind of harder electro style drop that I’m really excited about. It works well whenever I play it and I’m recording vocals for it soon so it has some great potential! As for another, I’d say anything by DallasK and Audien has been destroying my sets. Dallas’s remix of "Burred Lines" and Audien’s "Iris" are my top two from them at the moment.
Do you ever produce with a specific "inspiration" in mind?
Not really, I usually just sit down and start doing stuff with no goal in mind to see where it goes. Sometimes I will hear a certain thing from just flipping thru new music that will spark an idea but that’s about it. My biggest inspiration at the moment has been trying to develop my sound into something that I can embrace/endorse and something that will work in my sets and other DJs' sets. I also want to always put out track that is in some way better than my last one; I don’t think I’ve got time to settle on “alright” tracks anymore.
Can you tell us about the inspiration or strategy behind your latest track?
I’m actually quite proud of "Where We Were." Polina and I got in the studio in July of last year and we had never met nor did we have a plan, haha. I kinda flipped through some older ideas and we agreed to work on one, which was not at all like "Where We Were" now–completely different key and track all together. So we sat down and wrote the lyrics together, which I’ve never done before so that was pretty neat, and recorded the first version. Almost a year passed and I had written the first chords for the current "Where We Were" and flipped through vocals I had laying around and realized the older recording with Polina worked if I re-pitched it. I finished the track, sent it to her and she wanted to get back in the studio to recut the vocals. We did that in like June and now we’re here! It was a long process but super rewarding because I love the result.
Who is your dream collaborator?
Definitely Apparat or Andrew Bayer. Sasha Ring (Apparat) is such a talented guy with an incredible voice. All of his work with Moderat is incredible and his last Apparat album, The Devil’s Walk, was one of my favorite albums ever. He also came from a techno background and now makes insanely beautiful music and I just think that’s amazing. Andrew has always been someone I looked up to from the start of my interest with electronic music. He’s also got a similar story to Sasha, came from making trance/prog house and now makes everything you can imagine. His last album If It Were You, We'd Never Leave was an absolute masterpiece and everything he makes will always be on full rotation in my library.
You've now got a residency at Marquee. How did that come about? What's it like playing there?
I actually just woke up one day to my manager (and brother) emailing me with a residency offer for shows with Marquee, Lavo, and Avenue. It was my first residency offer so I was like “WORD!” So far I’ve done 1 at each and have one more at Marquee and two more at Lavo for this particular residency. It’s been so great, all the people involved with these venues are awesome and being able to play in NYC so much has been really nice.
Any other gigs coming up that you're excited about?
I have a bunch of really cool stuff coming up! Not much I can tell you at this point but I’m obviously excited for the next Marquee and Lavo shows. Keep an eye out on my Facebook page for all the show announcements!
Where We Are
Pierce Fulton Feat. Polina
- Cr2 Records