LA-based producer Goldroom’s music makes you feel like that last sip of lemonade on a warm summer's day. It’s refreshing, satisfying, and leaves you wanting more. Josh Legg, a.k.a. Goldroom, has been successfully coasting along the California music scene, finding a niche inside a new wave of “tropical disco” grooves. Legg has unquestionably found the perfect dose of styles from nu-disco to indie electronic to dreamwave, making his formula work.
From his nostalgic summer-soaked “Fifteen” to his more recent magnetic edit of Owl Eyes's “Jewels & Sapphires”, Legg blends disco vibes and soul-filled melodies that will have you searching for cruise control as you joyride along the ocean. I was lucky to see Legg perform at Brooklyn Bowl the other week for an intimate DJ set. Filled to brim with his tropically-soaked edits and bounce-filled tunes that make your hips want to move, Goldroom brought those summer vibes on, ironically, the hottest night out in the city. It was only appropriate to catch up with the man himself to find out more about where he got his start, where he is now, and where he is going. Read the interview below.
EARMILK: Hey Josh, thanks for taking some time to chat with us. Let’s kick things off with what you have been up to lately?
Goldroom: Since we finished our live tour, I've been doing a lot of Goldroom writing and other production, playing a bunch of DJ shows, and generally trying to have as much fun before heading back out on tour this fall!
EM: When did you start getting into music?
JL: I've loved music for as long as I can remember. I'm an only child and I didn't exactly have a ton of friends growing up either, so music became my escape pretty early on. I starting learning in earnest, playing the cello when I was eight, but within a couple years I had picked up a guitar and keyboard as well.
EM: Who were your musical influences early on?
JL: As I was really diving into guitar I would learn entire album's worth of chords and structures… I bet the first few records I learned on guitar were Nirvana's“Nevermind”, Oasis's “WTSMGlory”, and pretty much anything by Tom Petty. I think my early education was all about melody and song structure. I still feel like those are the most important parts of a song.
EM: Who do you find influences you today?
JL: I'm rarely referencing artists or deciding, "I need to be more like these guys." I'm influenced a lot by small things like a bass riff, or a synth sound, or a creative way to build some tension and release. Usually something small like that might spark an idea that becomes a song. It tends to be from older stuff though… early Braxe and Falke are still huge influences to me.
EM: If we were to go to the record store today, what album would you insist we pick up?
JL: Air's Talkie Walkie. Moon Safari gets all of the glory, but I think Talkie Walkie is a better and much more interesting record on the whole. It comes from a very personal place, but that record is the ultimate paranoid driving through the desert record.
EM: How did growing up in Massachusetts play a role in your sound and career?
JL: I have a hard time pinpointing this, because, as I said, music was always an escape for me. I always used music to take me somewhere else. I don't think it was until I started to really get very heavy into sailing in my teens that I started to build some memories associated with music. Most of those memories were on or around boats, during the summer… I think to this day that’s probably why so much of my musical energy is tied to the water.
EM: What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in yourself since you decided to move to Los Angeles?
JL: I used to get really stressed out in traffic. Not anymore, haha.
EM: If we head out to LA, tell us one spot we can't miss?
JL: Well that one is easy! Head to Echo Park and find The Gold Room on Sunset Blvd.
Honestly, besides that, any newcomer needs to visit the Griffith Observatory as soon as possible. It's super romantic and will give you a proper overview of the city.
EM: We know your music has been dubbed to have a “tropical” flair to it, can you tell us what influenced you to come up with said sound?
JL: I honestly didn't make any sort of decision to sound a particular way. It just sort of comes out of me. I've been in a handful of bands in my life, and they've always had a "direction" or "sound" in mind. The whole point of the Goldroom project from day one was just to do something that wasn't contrived, it’s just me. I'm sure the tropical flair that people hear is that part of me that I can't hold back. I feel very tied to the ocean in a spiritual and important way. I think I'm just always trying to bring out the strongest emotions I can when I'm writing music and for me, a lot of those emotions are tied to being in or near the water.
EM: Can you tell our readers about Binary Entertainment and how that came about? Is there anything new and exciting coming up?
JL: Binary is a record label that I started with Kyle Petersen (also my partner in our band NightWaves) in 2007. We were on the melodic, 80s inspired synth-pop thing pretty early. I think we pushed it in LA a couple years too early, to be honest! We were lucky enough to throw some pretty epic shows in those early years though. We brought The Twelves, Anoraak, College, Bag Raiders, Miami Horror, and Futurecop! for their first LA shows ever. We've been putting records out since 2009, and while Kyle and I are quite busy with other projects at the moment, we've got some big plans to bring Binary back in a big way soon.
EM: First off, it was great seeing you the other night at Brooklyn Bowl. I know you’ve played a few spots around NYC in the past few months, how does the East Coast compare to the West?
JL: I love that despite the Internet and its ability to homogenize the world, different regions and cities can still have such different vibes. I love the East Coast a lot… it’s my real home after all. There's a sense of community that is undeniable and exciting. The shows we've been playing on the East Coast have all been amazing. It’s a little justifying, because what I'm trying to do is bring a slice of LA to people who might not be fortunate enough to enjoy 75 degree days in January like we are. I want to be that escape, even if for one night. New York especially is such a treat. I've met so many cool people in the city, and I always really look forward to coming out and hanging for a weekend.
EM: What would you say is your "guilty pleasure?"
JL: Quiet acoustic singer songwriter music… Elliot Smith is straight up a hero of mine.
EM: One celebrity you are crushing on?
JL: When Emma Watson tweets about Goldroom, I can quit the business.
EM: What is one item you can’t live without?
JL: My passport.
EM: What is your favorite TV show at the moment?
JL: Well… I'll forego the boring but real answers (Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Game of Thrones). I've been watching the original seasons of the original UK version of Skins, which is amazing.
EM: If you were curating your own festival who would you have headline, dead or alive?
JL: Michael Jackson, no question.
EM: Lastly, tell us what you have in store in the upcoming months?
JL: I'm headed to South America next week for shows in Colombia, Brazil, and Chile. After that we get to start rehearsing for live shows at Lightning In A Bottle and the Trillectro Festival in D.C. Besides that, I'm really focused on continuing to work on my album, which is coming along nicely!