When you think of summer, certain iconic imagery instantly comes to mind. Beaches, sunshine, sunglasses, shorts, sundresses, pool parties and drinks with umbrellas in them all roll in. When it comes to music, there are plenty of different sounds that can soundtrack the outdoor season, ranging from reggae to breezy indie rock to laid back disco house. 31-year-old Los Angeles based, producer, musician and DJ Josh Legg, known professionally as Goldroom, is one of the artists making some of the finest music you can listen to with your shoes kicked off, relaxing in a lawn chair with a cold brew in your hand. The LA producer just reloaded your playlists with a new four-track EP, It's Like You Never Went Away, that includes some classics like "15" with Chella and "Embrace," which received an added vocal from Australian singer, songwriter, George Maple. Music Times recently chatted with the man himself about the new project and so much more.
Legg has lived in Los Angeles for the past 13 years, but spent his formative years in Boston, where his parent raised him. He credits living in the cold to his romanticism with the summer and the kind of escapism that is felt when putting on a Goldroom record.
"I grew up with that idealistic image of what LA was like with the pools, boats and palm trees and still kind of hold on to that," Goldroom explains. "That sort of image is what helps me make my music. I channel that sort of escapism in my music."
Part of that need for an escape comes from an adolescence that, like many other creative minds, was immersed in electronic music, Legg never really fit in with the "cool kids." "I never really fit in as a kid in middle school and high school and couldn't wait until summer to start every year," he shared.
The summer was the time when he didn't have to think or deal with the pressures of school. This was also the time when he fell in love with boating and the ocean. So he enlisted a sailing instructor and became friends with older kids around him during the summer. As he simply put it, "summer became my escape."
The feeling of escape is channeled through a group of high schoolers about to get out on summer break in the video for his new EP, It's Like You Never Went Away. The 17-minute clip can be categorized more as a short movie, though it is broken up by song with different plot twists in each track. It follows what Goldroom characterizes an "ideal picture of youth and summer" as two "uncool" kids manage to have a wild night on the town with two of the prettiest, popular girls in school after throwing a summer kick off party that is busted by the cops.
Such a story seems so real, it would seem that it has to be based on something from the life of Josh Legg, but he insists that the clip is largely based around fantasy. He drew inspiration from outside sources as well, saying he is a huge fan of John Hughes movies and coming-of-age films in general
Goldroom doesn't just soundtrack the video, he also makes a few cameo appearances throughout. One cameo stood out -- Legg sitting in the corner of the party playing guitar next to Nikki Segal who is singing the words to "California Rain." When pressed if he was ever that guy at parties, the producer laughed off the scene, saying, "I actually hated that guy. That was part of the joke."
Always looking to stay on the cutting edge, Goldroom partnered with Snapchat to premiere the video as a story on the photo and video sharing app. The relationship between the two parties began when Snapchat was a tiny company working out a small house in the valley with only 10-15 employees.
The opportunity to work together happened very organically, according to Goldroom, who remarks that Snapchat approached his team with the idea and the timing was perfect as he had just finished up the EP and was figuring out how to put it out. Though something in the very near future probably won't happen, Goldroom doesn't rule out another collaboration with Snapchat, saying it is a "possibility."
Snapchat is not the only place fans have been discovering Goldroom's music. He has built a vey strong following on music streaming and discovery platform Soundcloud and offered some thoughts on the future of the service that is in a serious state of flux over its struggle to resolve rights issues for content holders.
The impending ads won't be a problem reckons Legg, who compares the issue to YouTube, which serves 15 or 30-second ads without much complaint from users. "You get to listen to something for free and all you have to do is listen to an ad."
The ads wouldn't make much of a difference for his bottom line anyway, but Goldroom applauds Soundcloud's efforts to become legal. As it always seems to be with the Berlin-based service, there is some bad news with the good as it shows continued growing pains. Takedown notices have been a persistent problem for users who own the rights to their music and Goldroom is no exception to this, revealing he gets about one notice a week for his own original tracks.
Legg has plenty more new music on the way soon in the form of an album that has been in the works for over three years. When asked about his progress, he remarks wryly that he could have said "it was 75 percent done over the past three years." Despite that outlook, there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel now for Goldroom and his fans.
"I can say now that all that is left is the last bit of writing. I have about 42 demos in an iTunes playlist, but I just need to finish the whole thing. I need to re-track some vocals and write some intros and interludes."
Writing an album is a holistic process that will tell a story through his music and doing so requires not just the best 10-12 tracks, but the songs that are able to create a complete experience.
"I want to write an actual album, not like some acts, including some who I really admire, that just put together the best twelve singles from a batch of songs and put them together as an album. I want to weave together a story, which is hard to do when you are collaborating with others," explains Goldroom. "I have 7 or 8 tracks I am confident will be on the album, so it is just getting those 3-4 others that will really round out the story of the album."
Making music is only part of the story with Goldroom. He is also a skilled DJ and musician who is able to play multiple instruments in the live band he has assembled to do festival gigs on tour. Though he never actually performed any of his music until he was 25, the goal (once he worked up the courage), was to become a DJ. However, his band "grew into something bigger," describes Goldroom, as they started to tour more. Now both sides of the live world -- the band and DJing -- hold an equal place in his heart.
The live tour will be taking a fitting, nautical turn this summer as Goldroom is hosting a series of boat parties in major cities around the United States kicking off today in New York City, before sailing to cities like San Francisco and Chicago.
Talking about the tour, Goldroom almost has a sense of relief with the freedom he has.
"I will be able to do some of the things I do in my DJ mixes that are on my soundcloud page," Legg describes. "Normally in my sets, I have play a little more uptempo, but with those I imagine my ideal set with a more daytime disco by a pool with a drink. Expect me solo behind the decks for a few hours."
Several openers have already been booked, but The Knocks are not one of them, though the two summer acts have been talking about going on tour for quite some time.