Fulltone is an artist that has had a very busy last 12 months with releases on labels including SevenVillas, Klassified, All Day I Dream, Kindisch, and Akbal Music. For those of you familiar with his sound you will know he produces some of the finest Deep House around and 2019 has seen him move on to the radar of some of the biggest names around.
He is not the easiest man to find out about when using the usual online tools which always makes me that little more intrigued I must admit. His artist bio on Facebook just states… “The harmony that results from diversified beats, sounds, rhythms and melodies; the perfect unity achieved when all these come together and merge into one tone; one Fulltone.” In my mind, I could not describe him better if I tried.
I got the opportunity to sit and chat with Fulltone before Christmas when he was preparing for his live set at MDL festival in Saudi Arabia. I began our chat by asking Fulltone how he first got hooked on the sounds of electronic music… “I grew up listening to bands like Alan Parsons Project and Pink Floyd which are considered classic rock but with a touch of electronic sounds as well. I started playing the guitar when I was 16 and slowly found my elf interested in sound design and music technology in general.”
Moving on to Fulltone’s recent music (and there has been a fair few), I asked him to tell us a little about his latest release (at the time), ‘Agabat’ on Klassified… “Every track I make is like a journey to me while making it, I never have an idea of what the track will be like when it’s finished, I just start on a blank canvas and slowly start the journey of finding harmonies, rhythms, melodies and sounds. ‘Agabat’ is one of those tracks that kind of made itself, I recorded accordion, guitar, live percussions & my beloved Moog bass.” You can check out the track below:
Fulltone’s track with In2Deep, ‘Dip In’ was featured on Pablo Bolivar’s superb Re:Makes LP which was very well received across the industry. I asked how the collaboration came about and how Pablo got involved on remix duties… “Dip in was released on Seven Villas in 2015 as part of our ‘Vine of the soul’ EP with fantastic remixes from Powel & Pablo Bolivar. Hassan from in2deep is a very good friend of mine and we’ve been working together for years and I have a few releases on his label L’enfant terrible.” Fulltone continued… “‘Dip In’ first started at my studio in Cairo as an idea to create a melancholic groove the could work on both the dance floor and on the couch, I sent the projects to Hassan and he loved them and from there we kept sending back and forth until we reached the final tracks.”
“Pablo (Bolivar) has always been one of my favourite producers out there, I love almost everything he releases and it was really flattering when I found out he loved the tracks so much and decided to remix one of them and release them on his label.”
Whilst chatting to Fulltone about his music I asked him if there was a difference between putting together an original track and a remix? “As I mentioned earlier each track for me is a journey of its own while making it, I never know what the end product will sound like. Sometimes it starts with a melody or a chord progression or maybe a sound that inspires me to create something with it, but generally, I would start with a simple groove then start working on the harmonies, I really like to take good care of the melodic part of my productions. As for remixes, my approach is almost the same except that I use the original parts as a sample pack and try to create something new with it. Most of the times it ends up being completely different than the original.”
I went on to ask Fulltone if there was any track he found difficult to complete for any reason… “My track ‘Woodland Oracle’, which was recently released on Shanti Moscow, was one of those hard to finish tracks! For some reason it took a lot of time to finish it, I struggled a lot to find a hook that could make it both emotional and memorable but when I found it it was a magical moment.” It certainly was, and personally, I find the track to be up there with one of his finest releases to date.
I asked Fulltone about his inspiration behind the track ‘Woodland Oracle’ and how it was constructed… “Groove and bassline then I struggled for a while to find a hook that is both emotional and memorable. I made the beats on my Elektron analog rytm, bass line on my Moog sub37 and the Squeaky sounds on Moog mother 32, I then stumbled upon a nice chord progression and struggled for days to find the right melody for it then one day it just hit me and it was a magical moment for me, I was dancing all alone in my room so happy that I finally found it! What a journey.”
We spoke for some time about gadgets and hardware so here is what the man had to say… “I’m addicted to gear… I love everything music-related, from guitars to ethnic instruments to analog synthesizers and drum machines to microphones and preamps. I share my studio with my brother and another close friend and they sometimes join me on stage as “Fulltone Band”. We are actually collecting ethnic acoustic instruments from everywhere we travel to, we have Greek bouzouki, Turkish saz and cumbus, percussions from India, 4 strings tongna from Nepal, harmonium, Native American flutes, Charango from Argentina and many more. And the fact that we are all instrument based musicians we prefer to record with microphones instead of using samples. But if I had to choose my go-to essentials, my list would be:
- Ableton Live
- Moog sub37
- Dave Smith Prophet 6
- Classical Guitar & Gibson Les Paul
- Elektron analog rytm
- AKG C414 microphone
- Universal Audio Apollo
- SSL Xlogic preamps
- Roland JX8P
- Fender Rhodes mark2
For those of you that listen to Fulltone’s music, you would not argue that his sound is so well suited to All Day I Dream, yet he has not yet had a full release on Lee Burridge’s label yet. I asked him if something may be in the pipeline… “Yes you’re correct but it’s definitely on my plan and I wish to be involved more with the label. I really admire what Lee has created with ADID. It is not just a label or a party, it became more of a community of like-minded people who love emotional house music and I’m one of them, I really love the music that you can listen to in your home on the couch but can also work on the dance floor.” Fans of All Day I Dream and Fulltone, I am thinking we may see something in 2020… Fingers crossed!
As I mentioned, Fulltone is an artist that does not have a huge online presence, and this is by no means a bad thing in my mind. I asked him if this was intentional or something that he doesn’t feel is important to him… “It’s true but I’m not really doing it intentionally, I only post when I have something to say like announcing gigs or releases, I’m not really good with the day to day posts but maybe it’s something I should work more on, I think it’s sometimes nice to share a bit of your personal everyday life with your fans, it could make it more intimate and special.” I say stick to your productions and carry on with the great music. Fulltone is a great example of an artist that lets the music shine rather than posting daily pictures of himself in the mirror or with his dog! Refreshing I say!
Moving back to the music, I asked Fulltone what can we expect from him over the coming weeks… “I have a podcast coming early next year on All Day I Dream, another EP coming out on Keller Berlin with an amazing remix from Powel, a remix for my dear friends Elmundo & PHCK coming out on Earthly Delights and finally a collab track with “surprise” coming out on surprise label.”
Many labels and events these days judge DJs on their social media presence and likes etc, rather than their talent as a DJ. I asked his thoughts on this and if he ever sees it changing… “We can’t deny that social media nowadays is a huge part of the industry, I personally rely on it entirely for announcing everything, from gigs to releases to interviews etc. I’ll be completely honest with you I personally don’t like it when things are forced on my feed and it kind of turns me off a little when I see the “Sponsored” tag on an artist’s post, it’s fine with record labels or clubs or online magazines but with artists, I don’t find it cool.”
“I prefer organic growth, I prefer to think that every single like or follower I have on my social media is actually someone who searched for my name and decided to like or follow because they actually like my music, not because it was forced on them and it has 1 million views so it must be cool.”
Fulltone continued… “Do I ever see it changing? Hmm I hope it changes for the better because I believe that fame is also a responsibility for the person who has it and I hope that the people with this power can start help raise awareness to all the major problems we have in this world, don’t get me wrong, music is a beautiful thing and I believe it is essential but nowadays we have bigger issues like global warming, plastic waste, people dying of starvation or war or diseases and if we all don’t start taking action soon their might not be a future.”
As we draw the interview to a close I asked Fulltone to talk through some of his highlights of 2019… “Thankfully 2019 has been my “Dreams come true” year, I released music on all the labels I’ve been dreaming to work with for a very long time, Travelled to so many beautiful places and met amazing people on the way and I’m so happy and super grateful for all the love and support I got from both the fans and fellow musicians from around the globe.”
Fulltone added… “I want to keep the momentum going, work hard, give the best I can to my work and try harder to be in the moment and just enjoy the ride.”
I would like to thank Fulltone for his time and his beautiful music that continues to fill my downloads folder. Here’s to a superb 2020 for the man and I (and all at Decoded Magazine) wish him all the best.