For a long time, we’ve known Full Crate as a DJ, record producer, and musician from Holland. I’ve even had the pleasure of catching his vibrant sets that show off his energy as a performer live. Although over the past year, Full Crate has been gradually opening up and letting us into his world in a more candid manner. The fact that he has worked with notable artists (BJ the Chicago Kid, Jarreau Vandal, A-Trak, Gaidaa) and performs at numerous festivals across the globe could paint the picture of someone living la vida loca – but that’s not the entirety of it.
On his debut album A Kid from Yerevan (stream on all major platforms here), Full Crate exhibits a side of himself that’s a lot more vulnerable as he acquaints us with the insecurities pulling him back and his deep experiences with romance. Furthermore, this body of work shines a light on Full Crate’s unique life story and background, while he embraces his authentic self as a music artist, vocalist, writer & producer. We had the opportunity to speak to Full Crate about the making of the new album, the importance of collaborations, and his meaning of home.
Considering that you and your family were immigrants in a new country, I'm curious as to how the reception was from them when you decided to go the music route instead of doing something more "stable"?
I come from a very creative and highly educated family. My mom is a ballet teacher and my dad is a geologist (who loves music and art) and even though I almost ended up studying architecture and then last minute switched to film school, my parents have always supported me 100%!
My dad once told me that he didn't care what I would choose to do in life as long as it makes me happy and that I should be the best me at it. Their support means the world to me!
During the early days of your journey in music, what would you say was the necessary sacrifice you had to make to propel your career forward and take it to the next level?
I think it was the days when my friends would do fun stuff and hang out while I was in the studio working by myself.
All the long nights and long trips while not making any money but doing it because I love it so much and I believe in myself! Investing almost everything I made back into my career.
The quote "I didn't get this far, just to get this far" has really helped me to stay on track.
I think this is the question that is on everybody's mind - what made you take your time with releasing your first album?
Honestly, I have tried to make my debut album so many times... But each time just didn't feel right. I guess I wasn't in the right mind state personally but also musically I hadn't reached the level where I could create what I needed. My team and I have been building with singles and EPs to make sure my first album is the way I truly want it to! My manager told me once: "you only get to release your debut once."
You've traversed A WIDE RANGE of genres throughout your career, although over the past 2 years, you've come to hone in on your own style of soul music even when you're working with collaborators. At which point did you discover that the kind of music you're making now, is the kind of music you want to make?
I always made the music I have been releasing now, just sometimes I was too insecure to release it or share it with people. At times I felt it wasn't cool enough or wasn't gonna work and listened to the wrong people. But at some point, I saw that my gut feeling was doing more for my career than any "industry input"
So I just started focusing on those songs that give me chills, no matter the outcome and success.
What was going on in your life during the creation of A Kid from Yerevan?
A lot! lol
A breakup, an identity crisis, and not wanting to live in Amsterdam anymore. Moving to LA. Oh yeah, there was the pandemic too which allowed me to grow and heal and get to know myself better, which then allowed me to write this album. Not only working on myself but also investing more in meaningful relationships and friendships.
Overall a beautiful time of self-reflection and growth.
You mentioned in a post on Instagram that you felt like not many people know what you go through, and that throughout this LP you're quite vulnerable about your experiences. What do you think are some of the things listeners will learn about you after they've heard the album?
Being super honest has always been a theme in my music, the only difference is the level of honesty.
I hope people get to see that I am just another guy, an immigrant, struggling with the same issues that others do. I hope they see the side of me that might not always be visible, a side that tells a deeper story. And I hope it inspires people to do the same and open up.
We live in a pretend world and some aspects of social media can be so unhealthy, so my focus has been to show everyone what really goes on in my life, good or bad.
I must say "Show Her the Way" is a fantastic song! What was it about BJ the Chicago Kid that made him the ideal collaborator for this song?
Thank you! I have been a fan of BJ for a long time and when I created the beat with JMO and Aabo I remember telling them that BJ would sound great on it. I feel like I even made that beat with them having BJ in mind as a vocalist. Who would have thought me and him would be singing a duet on my album? WILD!
There are a lot of collaborations throughout A Kid from Yerevan. What does collaborating with artists tend to bring out of you? And what are some of the ways you believe you bring out the best in other artists?
I always say that each collaboration is unique to the point where neither one of us could create what we create together alone. It's a one-of-one chemical reaction of minds and souls and I have learned so much from each collaboration on this album.
Methods, writing skills, life advice, therapeutic convos, and made new friends along the way.
How did your past studio habits and creative process have to evolve for you to achieve the vision for this album?
I needed to put my ego aside in the studio. I had to open up myself to the idea of others producing me, which was not always as easy tbh. Letting go of that I always need to sit in the chair. That has helped me sooo much and got me writing and recording better songs.
And also believe in myself more and not give up as easily and not thinking that my ideas suck!
On the track "Do They Know" you bring up your troubles with imposter syndrome. In which ways would you say imposter syndrome has held you back in life, and how did you deal with it?
All this has to do with a lack of self-love. It feeds into my insecurities and has created this imposter syndrome that has been messing with me for a long time. Feeling like I'm not good enough or I'm not welcome in some spaces (even when I'm invited there). It took me a while to actually believe in myself more and realize that I am here for a reason!
You're a man of diverse backgrounds, and with that being said - where do you call home?
That's a great question...and I don't have an answer for you... which is kinda sad!
I have been trying to answer that question for a few years and came to the realization that I don't have a place to call home... Home is not a place for me, unfortunately, it's people and connections, and experiences! Sometimes I get jealous of people that were born in one place and still live there and really know what home is. I just had to accept that my journey is different and that is okay.
I guess you can say I have multiple places I call home for different reasons.
What would you say to an immigrant kid reading this right now if they're struggling with acceptance?
Don't change for others to try and fit in! They are just as insecure as you are! Don't let others knock you down. Just be 100% who you are and the right people will find you! I wish I knew that at the time. Spending so much trying to fit in just to realize I was meant for something bigger in life.