Pierce Fulton burst on to the electronic scene at the young age of 17 years old. His tutelage might seem unorthodox, given that he gained part of his knowledge originally from a class that was offered in his high school in Vermont. It doesn’t seem that strange to us though, considering that one of the nation’s best radio stations, C89.5, is ran by local high school students from Nathan Hale High School. From there, he has become one of the most dynamic producers and DJs currently in the scene. Even though he is pegged as a progressive house DJ, his sets are some of the most diverse we have ever seen.
Starting out that young in this industry (or any industry for that matter) does have its challenges, especially playing venues restricted to anyone under the legal drinking age. For Fulton, getting carded at the door even as the headliner is something that happens all too often.
Sure, here’s my ID; it’s not going to change the fact that I am underage. A lot of promoters would get upset that I didn’t tell them that I was underage. The fact of the matter is that they should have known from reading my bio. In that respect, age has been a bit of a hindrance. The biggest problem is that everyone is treating you like a kid and you find people are a little more judgmental when they shouldn’t be, because they’re kind of the ones who are gonna bring the new sound.
Being of age has definitely opened the market up a lot for Pierce. He gets to finally see all of the greatest clubs from across the country.
It’s nothing short of amazing that the high school that Pierce went to offered the class that they did. He grew up in Vermont, where most of the only clubs are located in the local college town, as club culture and electronic music was never really a big thing there. The class that was offered was run by a couple of teachers who are married. One ran the entire vocal and choir classes and the other ran band and the electronic production class.
I just went out on a limb and took this course and it was really really cool, because I don’t think I would be doing this if I didn’t take that course. It was this really fortunate accident that I happened to go to that school that had that class because it didn’t even exist in places that had electronic music.
The relationship with those teachers is still strong. Pierce shares his upcoming projects with his former instructors and likes to go home and say hello. There was even a planned guest speaker sort of thing at the old high school with the current students taking the course. Unfortunately due to scheduling conflicts it was not able to come to fruition. But the hope is that the spring will yield a bit more time to schedule a time to do a sort of TED Talk at the high school. However, with a busy schedule such as Pierce’s, it can be difficult to pin down a date, as shows come up weekly.
In this industry, it is increasingly hard to stand out musically, due to the saturation of the market. So the best thing you can do as an upcoming artist is to find a way to be different. As weird as it sounds, one of the ways he stays different is that he doesn’t listen to that much of the music around him. He attempts to distance himself away from what’s popular. The hopes is to make the most simple music possible, and do so in a new and innovating manner. Popular music at its core is really simple, which can be really good but it can also be really boring. You can find something on the radio that is simple and catchy, but it’s not interesting and Pierce wants to merge them together. Even instantly recognizable lead for his smash hit Kuaga came as sort of an accident when he “was creating a lead line for another song and accidentally hit the arpeggiator,” which ended up making the electro stutter the track has become known for. It’s simple stuff like that where it’s not something you would expect.
One of the big things in pop culture right now is the controversy over the movie, “The Interview.” It showed what people or businesses are willing to sacrifice in order to protect their interests. There are many points as an artist when you have to make compromises to ensure your success.
There have been many tracks that I wanted to make or things that I wanted to do but sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and what’s right and not necessarily what you wanted to do. It’s obviously not the same as what Sony did with deciding to put out a movie or not, but there is that kind of compromise where it’s like do I do this and roll with it? Or do I hold back and kind of play it safe?
Forbes recently released their top paid DJs of 2014 and the question comes up as to whether or not that success is a reflection of skill and talent. Fulton notes that “it’s one of those things that I don’t really like to pay attention to, but if you can get yourself into that sort of position then good for you, but if you’re not really doing anything then why bother? It should be about the music not the amount of money you make.” If Pierce were of those top money makers, he made it clear that he wouldn’t be doing this if he didn’t love it 100%. If you happened to catch his set at Foundation, you likely saw the energy he brings to everything he does. We have no doubt he’s there for the love of the job.
Let us know what you thought about Pierce’s set at Foundation! Were you just as impressed as we were?
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