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Earlier last month, we were given the privilege of sitting down and speaking with L.A. based DJ/Producer Goldroom as he was preparing for his set at Primary Night Club in Chicago. The brilliance behind the solo project Goldroom is an extraordinarily kind and inviting individual born into this world as Josh Legg. He has been making sonic art for quite some time and he disclosed to us his ideas of what he thinks of his music, where he thinks most modern music is lacking, and even shells out some amazing advice to aspiring producers. We entered the green room as one of Chicago’s hottest and most intimate dance clubs filled to capacity and were graciously greeted by Legg. He sat alongside a bucket of craft beers with a grin from ear to ear as we began to pick his brain about his life, his career, and his beautifully produced music.


UPC: In your own words, how would you describe your music?

Goldroom (Josh): My music?

UPC: Your music.

Josh: My music. I would describe music in a lot of interesting ways. I hate this question but I am going to answer it. I have an impossible time describing what I make. You know? It’s dance music, I guess. It usually has vocals. People always end up calling my music tropical, which I hesitate to say that myself, but I understand where other people come from on that, so, it’s usually feel-good, groovy stuff.

UPC: Can you please tell us a little bit about your childhood? Growing up, were you gravitated towards any particular music genres? Are there any early influences that you can recollect?

Josh: My earliest musical memory is listening to a Beach Boys tape that my parents had, on those big old headphones that were like this big [shows with hands] and had a long cable on it [accentuates length], on my parents HI-FI system, I remember just listening over and over until the tape broke. This was when I was like 5 probably, like really, really young. But, my childhood …  I think, like coming back to that whole tropical thing, I grew up on boats, most of the time, like actually living on boats … a significant amount of time like every summer. So being near the water, in the water has always been something that I have held very close to me and I think that comes across a lot in my music.

UPC: Was that a hobby?

Josh: I suppose at first it was a hobby. I was living on a sailboat with my dad and we would go around during the summer to different places. So, I just spent a lot of time on the ocean and in the water. So it was a hobby, and then it became my job. I taught sailing all through high school and then I moved to California so that I could sail year round, really. I went to school but that was a big reason why I move to California. My two passions have always been music and sailing.

UPC: In a recent interview, you stated that you never thought of music being a serious career, would you say that it was something that naturally happened over time or was it from putting yourself in the right place and the right time that made it all possible?

Josh: That’s a good question because I certainly would not have ended up being a musician if I didn’t move to LA, and that is not because industry is in LA. I went to USC and there were a lot of people that work in film, and there is a music industry program there, so, I was surrounded by creative people and I ended up meeting a lot of people that went into entertainment and I think that helped put me in a position where I felt like I could do it. It was always my biggest hobby but I also thought it was a really dumb thing to try and work in entertainment, especially as an entertainer. Nobody actually ever makes it or whatever … so, after I graduated, I was doing research with one of my professors for six months and then, um, I hated it.

UPC: What kind of research?

Josh: I studied psychology and health promotion, and she was a dietician, we were doing research in diabetes. So that’s it. I did that for like a little more than six months and hated it. And a friend of mine, who was in the music industry, had quit his job and was starting a record label, and I was like, ‘Ok, cool. I am going to get in on this and try it.’ And that sort of lead me down the path to Goldroom.

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UPC: What or who do you feel is your biggest inspiration in the music that you produce?

Josh: You know it is really old … since songwriting is a bigger inspiration than vibe, and everyday I am pissed that I don’t write songs as good like Bob Dylan and Tom Petty, I want to write songs that are as meaningful as that, but in the style that I am doing now. So it is finding a way to bridge that gap. My biggest inspiration is old songwriters.

UPC: What does music mean to you?

Josh: It is like an escape for me, which I think is kind of weird. I don’t think that is true for a lot of people like I think for a lot of people, it’s an internal thing or a way for them to digest their own lives, or something like that. But, I have always used it as an escape to take me somewhere else. That’s the way I make music, too. I’m sure I am writing songs about stuff that’s going on in my life, but it never really comes across that way. I always am writing about stuff that I’m dreaming about happening, or maybe is happening, or maybe isn’t.

UPC: Is there anything that you think is missing in most music produced today? Why do you think this is true?

Josh: Better song writing. I was just tweeting this today. I felt really good. A lot of people were retweeting me. I felt really good about it. [Smiling] I think this is the problem; everybody is so focused on being cool and not wanting to get made fun of, or not wanting to make shit that somebody might perceive as being not cool. Then, when it comes down to actually trying to make a song, no body wants to write some emotional shit or some real stuff, and they just end up …  doing very generic things. And I think that’s really a shame.

UPC: Following a template?

Josh: Yeah. I think people have just stopped caring about the songwriting aspect of things, especially in dance music. I’m sure that’s not really true everywhere, but in dance music, it seems like people have no desire or care to examine their own lives or society and reflect that in the music and to me that is a big shame because I think electronic music can be just as emotional and meaningful as rock music. That is kind of my whole goal, as a person, to trying to make it so people can start writing electronic music in the same way.

UPC: Out of all the music that you’ve created, what track do you feel “best” represents your artistic style?

Josh: [Elongated pause] … Damn, that’s a really hard question, um [pauses] … well, it’s my next single [laughs]. How about that? I don’t know that’s kind of tough. The first single I ever put out was a song, “Morgan’s Bay,” and I was would say that is one side of what Goldroom is, and I think the last single I put out was “Embrace” is kind of the other. So, those form the border of what Goldroom is and I think my stuff is everywhere in between.

UPC: Are there any particular types of artists that you’re attracted towards when aspiring to collaborate or produce a track?

Josh: Attractive girls?

UPC: Well, maybe not attractive girls, but …

Josh: I’m attracted to attractive girls that sing well [laughs].

UPC: Makes sense.

Josh: What was the question? [continues laughter]

UPC: Basically, what are you looking for …

Josh: … In a collaborator?

UPC: Correct.

Josh: Somebody who has a voice and I don’t mean a singing voice, but like an emotional voice. And often times, an interesting voice, literally.  For the most part, I think if they’ve written a song that has affected me in some sort of emotional way that I am really interested in what would happen if we got in a room together to write a song. But, I’m still at the point in my career where I am very excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with anybody. So to me, the nervousness of having a session with somebody is the entire attractiveness and draw to the thing. People don’t talk about this very much, but co-writing songs with people is exactly like dating. It’s really weird like that. You go into a room with somebody; you maybe have never met them before, and you’re expected to write an intimate song with them in a day. It’s very weird, but I love the process. It’s my favorite thing about music. It’s a weird way of going around the question, but yeah. [Smiles].

UPC: With 2014 seeing the re-launch of your label Binary Records with a renewed focus, can you please elaborate on your thoughts of this forward thinking pop music you are wishing to discover? And where do you hope this re-emergence will take the label in years to come?

Josh: You’ve done your research.

UPC: It’s just reading up on bios …

Josh: Yeah, well, it’s a lot more than a lot of people would do. But, I am really excited about it. We threw a party at South By to announce to the world that we are back and now we are starting to sign some singles. We are going to start releasing music soon. So, I am very excited about doing that. My hope, in the long term, is that we can get to the point at which we can keep introducing Goldroom fans and other fans of the label to really exciting, up-and-coming pop music, that’s kind of left of center. We are not talking Top 40 stuff or electronic-based stuff, but the same idea of finding people that have the same belief system that I do about songwriting and wanting to bring great songwriting to modern production and exciting production. I am excited to try and find like-minded artists and to build a stable of great songs that represent that.

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UPC: When is the public going to be honored with the long awaited full-length Goldroom album?

Josh: I don’t know … [laughs].

UPC: Next question …

Josh: No, I mean … if you asked me, on the side, to give you a Goldroom record a year ago, I could have. The same like six months ago or today, if you asked me to give you a Goldroom record, I can give you a Goldroom record tomorrow. I am waiting for that point at which I have like 12 songs and I would kill me to get rid of any of them. I am not totally at the point yet, but I am really close, so I think it is going to happen pretty soon, like within the next year.

UPC: What is some advice that you can give to aspiring artists that you wished you had getting into the music business years ago?

Josh: Well, I always thought it was stupid to get into the music business because it wouldn’t work. But, this is the cheesiest most cliché thing ever, but following your dreams and trying to do what you want to do is something you should do while you are young. At some point in your life, you might have kids or a mortgage or something like that, and you might not have the luxury of being able to try. So, while you don’t have those things in your life, you’ve got to go for it, you know? The real piece of advice though is that everyone thinks shit should happen fast, especially electronic music producers, for some reason, think that they should be able to get a copy of Ableton and write a track that is going to put them on Ultra’s lineup that year. But in reality, they don’t realize, most good producers have to work many, many hours for many, many years to get to a point at which they can make good stuff. And that is the biggest thing. Understand that all the shit you make when you start is going to suck. I’ve made a million shitty songs. A million. You know? You have to write 500 hundred shitty ones to get the first good one

UPC: What is the one thing that you hope people take away from your music?

Josh: I feel like I am beating a dead horse, but the real human emotion behind it. But like I said I sort of take music as a escape for me, so I really hope that the music that I write can be an escape for someone else. A lot of the times, I feel like I am writing music for the 14-year-old version of me that’s depressed and lying in bed wondering why the girl in Spanish class doesn’t like me, right? [Looks down and smiles] So I am hoping that there is some 14-year-old kid that can listen to the music and it can make them feel like they are not living in the “shitty” life that they are in.

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UPC: Lastly, is there any exciting news you wish to share with you fans in the next coming months?

Josh: Well I am changing my live show a bit and adding a new member. We are going to have special guests on our next tour and I am very excited about taking a step up in the live game. So, people, I hope, should get excited about that.

UPC: That concludes our interview and we thank you for your time!

Josh: Definitely, thank you!

Check out more photos of Goldroom’s interview and DJ set below!

Photos courtesy of Mariya Illarionova.