BroBible: It seems like you’re ‘leading the pack’ of this new generation of college-student producer/DJ’s. Somehow you guys balance your time between a rigorous course load while producing new material and touring the nation.
Pierce Fulton: Well I definitely changed my work ethic. I used to be the kind of kid who would study a week before my final and be super prepared – and I would do alright. But it’s funny because I just got my grades back and I did the best I’ve ever done in my college career. I think I do better when I totally wing it. When I would go in blindly, I kinda just used what I knew. Perfect example: I went to Miami for Ultra/WMC and the day I got back I had a mid term in geography – really interesting topic, right? I go and take the test and didn’t study whatsoever before. And somehow I got a 90 on it, I was like ‘WHAT’ I thought it was an accident – I almost went to the teacher and asked ‘Are you sure this is my grade?’
That’s awesome you got the A between touring and making music. It would be pretty cool to correlate a busy DJ schedule with getting good grades.
I think it was just because it was such a different way of going about my life. Because before all I was doing was going to school and making music. I wasn’t traveling and I wasn’t taking the music as seriously as I am now. But yeah, I think because it was so different, it made me look at things in a new way and maybe that brought out something special – or it was just dumb luck.
After seeing your parents rock out on stage with you at your show at XS in Vegas, how awesome is it to have them as a support system? Are they both EDM fans now?
They’ve always been supportive, but they had no idea what I was doing every weekend until I brought them to Vegas. They had never been to a nightclub in their life, they don’t know electronic music — they’re the ones that put me in bands, and put a guitar in my hand and a trombone in my hand when I was a kid. They were always supportive of my music, but when I took this electronic path they were like “Uhh I guess we don’t really know what it is, but whatever do your thing”. After it got more serious, they were more and more interested and finally we took them to a show, and they were like – wow. Now my dad won’t give me shit for slacking on stuff around the house. He goes ‘Oh ok you’re working today, I wont make you cut the lawn’. Now he kind of has an idea of what it’s like. He saw how serious it was and the hard work I have to put into it.
That’s pretty funny because you’re a big deal in the EDM realm, but your parents obviously wouldn’t know that right away so for them to see you out at XS is major.
Yeah, one thing that opened my Dad’s eyes was when he went to Vegas the day before with my mom for a vacation. They were both walking down the strip and one of those electronic billboards with my name, XS, and the date came up and he was like ‘Alright this is kinda weird’ haha.
So we know you’ve been playing instruments since you were a kid, how did musical talent back then turn itself into your current production skills?
Well right when I first started producing I was still in a band – I’ve been in a few different bands. I’m actually in the place right now where I used to do all my ‘music stuff’. The first time I ever DJ’ed – right here. It’s like my old school lair and I’m in the middle of the woods so I can be as loud as I want. In terms of me getting into EDM, I had a few friends that got me into it. One was from Venezuela; he was an exchange student and had always been into EDM. He showed my best friend and I some music we both got into it at the same time. I started producing and he just kinda started supporting it.
So who was the first artist you really got into?
I remember, I think the first ever real house track I ever heard was by a guy named Hatiras. It was kind of a weird track, but it had a sick bassline and I think that’s why I really liked it. I was really into the basslines when I first started out, but I had never heard anything like that in my life so I was like – WOAH, haha. I came from listening to The Doors and The Rolling Stones and stuff like that. But yeah, it was just really strange and weird to me and from that he showed me The Swedish House Mafia and the more clubby stuff. From there I got into Pryda, and then I went a lot more melodic for a while.
Speaking of Pryda, I know you’re a huge fan, and since he finally announced a US tour this year, any plans to hit that up if you have the time?
I actually really want to because he was actually the first electronic artist I’ve ever seen live. It was about 3 years ago; he came to America in July and played at the Nokia Theater in NYC. I was like 17 and my friend who’s friends with Eric got me on guest list and somehow snuck me in even though it was a 2+ show. But I was 17 and it was my first electronic show and it’s Eric Prydz — it was ridiculous, I think I cried in the middle of a set haha. I do want to see him again, but I think I would want to see him at his own event.
Well I can’t imagine living a life where you get paid to make music, travel around and meet amazing people has many drawbacks, but are there any negative aspects about being a globe trotting DJ?
I’d say having an immune system is a downside. If we were just invincible to sickness – that’d be awesome. Sometimes I’ll catch a cold and it’ll last for like a month because I’m just still traveling and not getting enough sleep, not getting enough food. So I think health is definitely a big factor in why it’s not perfect. Some others things would be not having late checkout and having early flights. For example, one time when I was in LA I went to sleep at like 4 and woke up at 5:15 to catch a flight. My alarm is like this boat horn alarm because I sleep really heavily. All I remember was hearing the boat horn over and over again, and it sounded all slow because I was in some weird sleep pattern. I woke up, took a shower and ran to the airport – it was miserable. Pretty sure I was still drunk but I made my flight.
So as you’ve progressively gotten bigger as an artist, are more and more people on campus starting to recognize you? I’m sure there have to be a lot of young Pierce Fulton fans coming into UVM
It’s pretty funny. I stopped going to the library because I couldn’t do work. People would come up to me and give me their email. The funniest one was when I was wearing my Sennheiser’s – typical DJ headphones. Some kid comes up to me like ‘Oh nice headphones, man! Do you DJ?’ And I look up and he’s just like ‘WOAH you’re Pierce Fulton?!’ and I was like ‘Oh God…’ I just dislike confrontations, so I try and avoid them at all cost. I just wish that I could make music and not talk to anybody – not in a dick way! I just don’t like the attention. That’s why I take weird routes when I’m walking at school. Even when I used to be onstage for plays and bands or whatever — I liked it, but I didn’t like the aftermath of it. I don’t know how to explain it – I just like doing my thing.
Well, do people ever ask you to DJ their parties?
I actually used to play little gigs at the lacrosse house at UVM. I would bring these huge speakers that I have down here and they would get so many tickets from the police because of the sound and I was just like “Oh whatever, sorry ha!” I actually have a great story about this, too. Before I got into Djing I used to pack up my entire Jetta with all my equipment. So I have this huge Behringer speaker set up. These things are HUGE, and when they’re stacked on top of each other — they’re my size. Every gig I played in 2009 or 2010, I would have to pack my entire car with all this shit by myself, bring it to the gig, unload it, plug it all in, take it all apart, bring it back. During the entire process I was thinking “Hey I’m paying my dues, I’m working hard and one day I wont have to do this shit anymore”. But one night I was playing a graduation or prom after party at some kids house and everyone’s drinking, having a good time. All of the sudden there were these bright high beams through the whole house. We look outside, and there are three police cars. So everyone goes up stairs and hides, and I’m pretty drunk at this point. I say ‘Fuck this shit’, unplug one speaker and start carrying it out. I walk out the door, and about 5 cops are ready to break in and I ask ‘Hey I was hired to play. Can I go home?’ The cop goes ‘Yeah yeah’, and they all start helping me with my equipment – unreal.
Go check out Pierce on Saturday night at Santos Party House in NYC. Presented by our buddies at Electric Beach. Tickets here.
Pierce Fulton May 2012 Mix