The wait is finally over, Better Places is finally out! The debut album from Pierce Fulton is a beautiful combination of songs that take the listener through a journey of various influences and inspirations that keep Fulton creative. Since this is Fulton’s debut album, I wanted to chat with him about what it felt like to finally have an album out and what it was like to create it. In the interview, he talks about his creative process through the album, what was tough for him, what’s next for him, and what he’s excited about. Take a read for yourself below and take a listen:
How does it feel to say the words, “my debut album is out now?”
Honestly it’s really crazy to say…there was a long period in my life where I would fantasize about when I could write my first album and about 6 months ago my brother (and manager) and I were like “look at this folder of songs, it’s basically an album!” At the time it was about 15 songs, I cut it down to 9 of the VERY best and refined them for a few months. I really can’t believe how quickly it all came together. From the album cover, which came from my friend/amazing photographer Skyler Greene and I messing around with a drone, to the single covers which were designed by an incredibly talented artist that goes by The Antlered Wolf (both of whom helped with my Borrowed Lives EP), the entire album was created by me and my friends. All of the production, lyrics, vocals and engineering were done by me with some help from my girlfriend Noosa and friend Josh aka NVDES. It truly feels like my album, organic and from a small group of friends, and I legitimately love the music on it.
I know this is like picking a favorite child, but what’s your favorite song?
I’d say “The Sound.” It’s the biggest deviation from “my sound” and it’s the first thing I wrote with my girlfriend, Noosa, after we started dating. The whole song was written and recorded on instruments, no plugins etc, and it’s the story of two people who grew up across a body of water not knowing each other but have a feeling they’d some day meet. It all stems from the fact that she grew up in Long Island and I was born on the coast of Connecticut, separated by the Long Island Sound and would eventually meet in California. The whole song came together so naturally and it was a really special song for both of us.
What was your favorite song to create on the album? What was the most challenging?
I loved making “1 800 SUCCEED” because I basically produced the whole thing 3 years ago when I was still living in Brooklyn. It was right when future bass started getting big and I was like “I wanna try this fun stuff” so I did and it never got old to me. The vocal is straight off of my iPhone voice memo app, I usually play a song and record first vocal ideas with my phone and at the time Noosa had never heard the song and the vocal on the actual song is the first take of melodies she did. She’s not even saying any full words, it was all supposed to be ideas but it sounded so cool like it was from a voice mail. The name comes from this hypnosis clinic underneath my old studio in Burbank, California, there was this huge billboard that said 1 800 SUCCEED and I’d see it every day I went to and left my studio and it’s such a testament to everyone trying to make it in LA. I just used to laugh at it a lot and there was something so symbolic about being in Burbank, able to see the faint lights behind the Hollywood sign but not the sign itself, gave me a lot of motivation to just do anything different than the people on the other side of the hill that had already “made it”. I love Burbank, only place in LA where people really grind.
Do you prefer making a more cohesive statement with an album like this or do more singles?
I don’t really know to be honest. What I’m really excited for is to get a new single together soon, just to see what it feels like to finish 1 song and not 9 haha. I’m a bit beat up from doing a whole album so quickly, but I’m also excited to write an entire album in one cohesive state of mind. I pulled a lot of songs together from different time periods in my life for “Better Places,” and I love the result, but I’m curious how it would sound to do it in 1 time period.
What’s next for you? I know you’ve hinted at live show, when can we expect that? Will it be a live show and DJ set, or just live show?
I’m planning a live tour for the fall, still working on all of the details now but I also plan on continuing to do DJ sets. My live shows will be like seeing a band that really knows how to build like a DJ set and I plan on updating my DJ set to cover a lot more genres/tempos and I want to add some instruments/fun gadgets and singing as well. I’m basically locking myself in a barn for the next 3 months to figure those two out haha.
What was the intention behind calling the album Better Places? That is, was it that you wrote the songs while you were in better places, you’re in a better place now after finishing the album, or you hope that people are in better places through listening to the album?
I struggled with the title of the album for a long time…but the reality is this is my own better place. I felt so creatively frustrated putting out 1 song after the other, any time I deviated from what’s expected of me I either had incredible love and support from my listeners or a bit of distaste. It’s hard to be like “hey this isn’t forever, I’m just testing things out!” And if I made “Kuaga” 20 more times I think I’d lose my love for making music. I plan on continuing to make electronic music, progressive house included, but at my own pace so I can still love it. I’m not going to abandon anything, just open the doors to more things in the world that I love. That’s my better place.
Take a listen to the album below: