When writing his single “Not So Fast,” Denver native Julian Fulco Perron
looked to 1970s bands that melded different genres into a cohesive whole. “It really resonated with me,” he says of ’70s-era music. “I can never stay in one place for too long; I always kind of try to bounce around. … There are so many different styles to pull from. I really can’t stay settled.”
When he was penning the just-released, horn-driven single, Perron was listening to a lot of Ram
, the 1971 collaboration between Paul and Linda McCartney, which was panned at the time of its release and is now considered an early indie-pop classic. He also tuned in to a lot of the Beach Boys.
“You think of the classic, sort of surfer things when you first think of [the Beach Boys],” he says. “But they had a real sort of psychedelic period at the same time the Beatles did — late '60s going into the '70s. They did a more hippie, chill vibe.”
He adds that he also likes the rock-opera writing style of Queen, and while “Not So Fast” isn’t a “Bohemian Rhapsody” type of composition, Perron wants to reflect how the band builds on certain sections of a song. He appreciates the artistry present in a lot of the music. “I just want to get back to that [artistry] as a whole,” he says. “There’s certainly a lot of artists who still do it, but it’s just not as prevalent.”
Perron used to play in Denver band 21 Taras
, which had a harder sound than his solo output. As a solo artist, he wants to see how far he can stretch his songwriting and disregard genre trappings. His first effort, 2020’s Dreamland
, is a collection of ten psychedelic, bedroom-pop songs that metaphorically take a listener through dream cycles. "Not So Fast," as well as other songs for his upcoming record, are less psychedelic, he says, and went through a process of trial and error.
“Using the studio as an instrument is a big thing for me,” Perron says. “Writing the songs in the studio, crafting them and taking that time to really just mess with things. Having versions of songs that end up completely different from how you started.”
He adds that “Not So Fast” and his upcoming record originate from a more stripped-down sonic palette. The procession toward that sound was somewhat inspired through necessity, brought on by the solitude of the pandemic. “[The songs] started as a lot of acoustic guitar and piano compositions I then built on,” he explains. “It’s similar to how a Beatles song is written, or ELO. It features a lot of string and horn sections and Mellotron, something I recently picked up. I played with a lot of those sorts of things.”
“Not So Fast” was meant to be a 21 Taras song, though it was never recorded with that band. Written prior to the pandemic, the song went through numerous iterations and versions prior to the one about to be released. Lyrically, the song emerges from a deep dive into the Beatles, the Beach Boys and other bands of the time — and concerns what was going on with those bands when they were writing and performing, and how the state of the world in the 1960s and 1970s impacted the music being written.
“This song, lyrically, is just kind of about reminiscing about that time period, quite literally,” Perron says. “It’s about wanting to be in that time period. I feel like the kind of music I write and am most inspired by is of a different time.”
He concedes that many people feel as though they were born in the wrong era, and the song tackles that desire but ultimately reaches the realization that, even if you don’t live in that desired time period, you can still evoke and embody what you believe to be the same spirit.
Perron thinks about when musicians had to record to tape, and the limitations of that method to capture sounds without endless space offered by computers. Musicians had to be good with their instruments, and there was only so much you could do to fix imperfections without the technology of today.
While Perron doesn’t record music directly to tape — it’s an expense currently out of reach — he has been making his own films on Super 8, and for a time edited the film by hand.
“That was a nightmare,” he says. “It put me in my place a little, and that’s why I respect those artists so much. I try to embody that artistry and creativity and the level of craftsmanship they had to have with those technological limitations. That’s something that gets lost today.”
“Not So Fast” is available on all streaming platforms. Check out Dreamland on Bandcamp.