We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Fulton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, why did you pursue a creative career?
For me, there was no other choice. Imagine feeling the gravity of music pulling you so hard that at eleven years old, all you want to do is sit in front of your parents’ iPad and record songs on GarageBand. This was how I got my start as a producer—authentically, almost by accident, and in awe of the discovery of the creative process. I graduated to Logic Pro when I was 13, and have written, produced, and recorded an album a year ever since. I have no particular interest in being heard; rather, my fascination with music comes from the desire to make sense of a complex world—and in structuring my songs like stories, or writing lyrics that reflect the messy patterns of reality, I help piece together my own role in the universe.
To be an artist, for me, is to be in constant conversation with the self.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Lately, I’ve been really into pushing the boundaries of genre, rhythm, tonality, and temperament. I inadvertently got into microtonal music back in high school, and combined with a lateral interest in Brazilian and Afro-Cuban rhythms and Jungle/DnB production techniques, I’ve been able to expand my vocabulary and build music that speaks differently. It’s the most inspiring thing sometimes to step outside the bounds I’ve been trained on. Some of my most exciting work reflects that. I always leave time during the year (particularly in the summers) to work on personal projects, which is where a lot of the most valuable learning happens.
Of course, there’s a challenge inherent to this space. I’m still in a mentality where I’m figuring out what my personal artistry really sounds like. And looks like! How do I navigate this industry and market myself in a way that’s authentic to who I am without compromising the most unique aspects of my personhood? It’s a question I’ve answered poorly in the past, and it’s resulted in a lot of erasing, a lot of starting over, and what feels like a lot of time wasted. But at the end of the day, that brief period of inauthentic presentation really taught me to hold onto the kind of art that lives outside the box. A pitch-bending delay on the vocal chop. Widening the drum stack with a modulating filter. Verbed-out classical choirs, odd time signatures, and 808s. You wouldn’t always think that the pieces belong together, but that’s just imitating life.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Unfortunately, due to quarantine, I’ve been out of the city for a while and haven’t had a chance to really explore! I’ve heard great things about Crossroads Kitchen. I had a friend freak out over the brunch she had there—apparently there are some really beautiful vegan options! Maybe we’d start the day off with a bite there before heading out to Silver Lake or doing something totally different, like an escape room. Would love to catch a show at the Moroccan too at the top of the night.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I wouldn’t be where I am without my family. Their immense dedication to and belief in my passion was what gave me the shoes to walk such an unpredictable path. (It was my parents’ iPad, after all, that I even started producing on in the first place.) They also made sure that great music was playing in the house when I was growing up—Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Alicia Keys, George Benson, Earth Wind & Fire. I truly got some of the best of their generation’s art, as well as the constant encouragement to consider how I could be a part of mine. My dad (as an experienced drummer) has also seriously come in handy a couple times during gigs. He once had to step in for the drummer I hired when I was playing a music festival in Cleveland… thankfully, he’s one of my biggest fans and knew the music from top to bottom!