Music Production

This is: Pierce Fulton | Interview

Pierce talks about his music journey, his future plans and working with our beat making and audio repair tools

“There's not much to do in Vermont...Though the combination of cold weather and small isolated towns do force an extremely bored kid to get creative.”

Pierce Fulton is an American DJ, musician, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. In 2014, Fulton's single "Runaway" topped the Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart. Later that year, his song "Kuaga (Lost Time)" was listed at number 38 on Billboard's Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart and used in a Smirnoff ad campaign. He recently collaborated with Martin Garrix on the song “Waiting for Tomorrow”, featuring Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda.

Now 25 years old and based in Los Angeles, Pierce is still subject to the habits of his youth; bouncing between genres and instruments while simultaneously bringing all of these influences into the dance music he's known for. When he isn't out on the road, playing shows around the world, not too much has changed about those quiet, cozy nights spent in the studio. 

We had an interview with Pierce and we talked about his music journey, the process of creation and his future plans. We also talked about our audio repair tool-kit, the ERA Bundle & our beat making tools Regroover and Beatformer. 

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Pierce Fulton. I've been making electronic music for about six years, and playing music in general since I was a little kid. I got into electronic music because a friend of mine, he was a DJ, and I had never heard electronic music before. He showed me some cool DJ mixes ans I was pretty surprised and fascinated by electronic music, and so I started trying to make it myself. I ended up putting out stuff for free for a while, signed a few songs to some labels, and kind of built my career from there.

Q: Why do you care to share the music you make?

That's an interesting question. At first, I just put everything that I finished on the internet. I didn't know what else to do, so I just uploaded it to SoundCloud. SoundCloud had just launched when I started making music. So I just started putting it on there, and then I remember being like, "Oh, I need to sign with a label to get on iTunes." So I did some label deals, and then eventually I figured out that you could self-release your music through TuneCore, so that's what I do now to get it on Spotify and Apple Music and all that. I like to share the music that I make, because I don't know ... Otherwise it sits around on my computer, and I have a ton of other music sitting around on my computer.

Q: Highlights of your career this far?

I started out in college, and I was just making music in my dorm room, and I got some emails from my old management and agent, and I just signed with these companies and started touring right away when I was 19, as a sophomore in college. I'd say the highlight of my career is the fact that I got to do that, and I ended up touring for about five years consistently, and I've taken a bit of a break to make music. I don't know how or why it happened, but I was just making music for fun, and I ended up being able to go play my music on the road, and that was really special.

Q: What is your favourite part of the process?

My favorite part of the process is definitely recording and producing, because I'm a musician first and foremost, and that's what I enjoy doing the most. But I grew up playing in bands, so performing was pretty natural for me. I like DJing, but I did a live tour for my last tour last winter. That was really fun, because it was like combining the elements of a DJ set in electronic music, with live elements from the stuff I grew up playing. I do like performing, but I'm definitely more talented in the studio I think than on stage.

Q: ..and you’re least favourite part of the process?

Definitely writer's block or when you really, really wanna make music but everything is not lining up for to make music that day, whether you have an appointment or meeting or whatever, and all you want to sit in this room and make music. That's definitely the worst part about this job. But it's also good; it makes you want to get back in the studio and make music even more. But it's definitely a painful process.

Q: What are the most common issues when recording at home? 

My studio here, is the first time I have a fully-treated studio. I used to just record in any room, and the most common issues with that is getting room reverb and noise and all sorts of artifacts that you don't want in the recording. But I've also learned how to turn that into something that I like. Sometimes I like having a bunch of noise or a room reverb or strange noises like lawnmowers or something. It depends on the song and the style you're going for, but that's definitely a common issue, is just getting background noise into the recording.

Q: Why do you prefer our ERA plugins over other options?

I just started using them, and honestly it's just really nice to be able to turn one knob and select a few options and have results. I think they're really cool because of how simple they are, and if you're recording at home like on a drum set or doing vocals or guitar, really anything, and you get background noise mixed in with the audio, it's pretty nice to just be able to throw one plugin on and twist one knob, and see if it improves your signal. I just think it's a really handy tool, and I like that it's a wet/dry situation, so you can apply just a little bit of it on it.

Q: What do you like the most about Beatformer?

What I like about Beatformer is just the fact that it's similar to ERA; you can just throw it onto a drum bus and start tweaking, and you instantly have a different sounding drum. I like that a lot, because in my time, I've gotten a little bit impatient in how I sit and process my sounds. Like for example, I recorded drums the other day, and I really didn't feel like sitting and going through all my compression and all my EQ, and distortion plugins or saturation and all that, so just throwing something like Beatformer on to the mix bus for drums: it's really simple, really easy, and it can just inspire quick ideas. I really like the fact that it's really fast and easy to use.

Q: First thoughts about Regroover?

When I first heard about Regroover ... I don't know how I heard about it, but I've had it for a while. My first thought was a) it's really cool to separate just standard drum stems, but what I was most fascinated in was taking a recording of something totally random, and seeing what would be automatically separated in the plugin. I think I did a voice memo recording for my phone of a subway in New York, and so it was the sounds of the trains going by, and the announcements above, and I could separate these little strange parts. And it was really cool; I ended up using the voice, pretty much isolated. I recommend it to other producers, because it's just a really good creative tool. And it's good utility-wise if you need to isolate a snare or take out a kick drum from a loop. It's both a tool for engineering side of things, but it's also a tool for the creative side of things when you start separating stuff and use the individual parts for something different than what was intended.

Q: Any upcoming projects? 

I have a bunch of upcoming projects. I have a few collaborations coming out pretty soon, and I'm really excited about those. Some are long overdue, and I also have a bunch of solo singles that I'm putting out as Pierce Fulton, and then I have some production work that I'm doing with some other artists that I like. And I'm also starting some other projects of my own, so it's been really busy for me, but it's been nice to use the time that I have away from touring to actually finish a bunch of these projects. And I'm excited to get them out there. Thank you.

December 11, 2018