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Hailing from the great Garden State, multi-talented songwriter Julian Fulton is naturally imbued with both the strong work ethic and diverse cultural influences of the area. Taking time to regroup after his band The Zombie Gospel went on hiatus, Fulton started playing out solo, honing his sound and songwriting process along the way.
Now, Fulton is set to return with a new batch of tunes in the form of the Battered Receptions EP out May 12th via self-release. To go along with a stream of the EP’s first single, “Howl,” GroundSounds sent some questions over to Fulton to learn more about him and his forthcomign release.
Stream “Howl” and be sure to pre-order Julian Fulton’s Battered Receptions here.
Hi, Julian! Congrats on the Battered Receptions EP. Can you tell us a little more on who you are and how you The Zombie Gospel came together?
I grew up with a big family in a little town by the ocean in Central NJ and have been writing music and playing instruments since I was a kid. The Zombie Gospel formed kind of haphazardly out of necessity when I impatiently signed myself up for a battle of the bands without a band.
What’s your songwriting process like? Who are some of your biggest influences
My songwriting process is all over the place. I’m always writing too many songs simultaneously in different orders at different speeds. I could write a song in two days and still be amidst tweaking something I first wrote when I was 16. I’ll start with the music sometimes, start with just lyrics other times, or I’ll begin with just an idea or concept. Sometimes I arrange a song as I’m demoing it without any lyrics. Sometimes none of this happens. There’s no one way I really go about writing anything.
As far as influences go, I really got into music after rediscovering all of my parents’ albums, which was probably around when I was 12. They had tons of rock, soul, pop, and folk, mostly from the 60’s to the 70’s. I grew up on pretty much all the greats from that era (The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, etc), and worked my way backward, forward, and in between from there.
On my own, discovering acts like Beck and Radiohead had an impact on me. I’ve always been attracted to the idea of flipping preconceived notions about rock and pop on their head, and these two have perfected the art of doing that while still creating something totally brilliant and listenable.
It’s genuinely difficult to narrow it down to just a few influences, though. Plus, living in today’s world, with music the most eclectic and accessible it’s ever been, has probably had too large an impact to measure. I like to think that I take something away from most the music I listen to, intentional or not.
What are some of the larger themes at play on Battered Receptions?
Change seems to be the most overlying theme; both the need for change and the changes that people undergo. I guess there’s also a sense of yearning or restlessness.
It’s been a few years since the last Zombie Gospel release. What’s happened/changed since then?
Since the last Zombie Gospel release in 2013, a lot has changed – the lineup of The Zombie Gospel for starters, the way I go about performing and releasing music, the songs I’m playing, the songs I’m writing, and so on. That’s not even including the changes in the country’s political climate, the music industry itself, or my everyday life.
Change is likely a recurring theme for me, because as I become older, and maybe because of the times we live in, change seems to be occurring faster and more often than at any other stage in my life.
Before The Zombie Gospel, I had also never performed solo. During the first period of time without a full band (early 2015), I performed by first solo shows. Playing solo gave me a new mindset on stage and when recording, and I think it’s also helped me improve as a performer. You have to be on your shit when you don’t have another solitary soul to fall back on.
Any new NJ-based artists/venues/purveyors of the arts you could turn our readers onto?
There are too many great new artists in NJ and beyond that I’d hate to single out some and forget others. I’d just like to recommend to everybody everywhere who loves music to go out to local shows, start up DIY venues, or do whatever else you can to support local music scenes and new artists.
Where can we follow you and where can our readers catch you live next?
Website – http://julianfulton
Bandcamp – http://julianfulton.bandcamp.com
Soundcloud – http://soundcloud.com/julianfulton
Facebook – http://facebook.com/julianfulton
Instagram – http://instagram.com/julianfulton
Twitter – http://twitter.com/julian_fulton
Youtube – http://youtube.com/julianfulton
I’ll be playing some stripped shows with and without The Zombie Gospel throughout April, but we’ll be full-banding things on May 12th at the Asbury Park Yacht Club for our EP Release show with Illiterate Light and Yawn Mower. People can catch us after that throughout New Jersey and beyond, full band and stripped.
Full tour dates at http://julianfulton.com.