Unless this is the first time you’ve trekked through the hallowed grounds of TMN, you’ve no doubt ran into at least a song or two from L.A. based producer Josh Legg and his solo remix project turned nationally touring live act Goldroom. He, and the rest of Goldroom’s live iteration just recently wrapped an expansive, 30 date live co-headlining tour with fellow TMN regulars Autograf, and before quite a memorable show in Boulder, CO, we had a chance to catch up with Josh on the heels of Goldroom’s debut long-player West of the West, and ended up having one of the more in-depth conversations regarding music we’ve had in some time. Enjoy our interview with Goldroom below.

The Music Ninja (TMN): Alright… Matthew Bloss of The Music Ninja here with Josh Legg, the mastermind behind the Goldroom acclaim. First off, thanks so much for taking the time before your show to sit down with us. Firstly, you just recently released your first full length LP under the Goldroom name, West of the West, which we’ve had the chance to listen to a couple times and I really, really enjoyed it. After talking to friends around the music industry who know you, and from following your social media accounts, this was something that has been years in the making. Can you speak a little more to that? How long has West of the West, been coming together, and how does it feel now that it’s finally out?

Josh Legg (JL): Yeah, I mean there was a moment in time, probably in 2013, right after we started to tour with the live band for the first time, that it was just really clear that at some point if things went the right way that at some point I was going to need to put a record out. And I’ve always lived my life, sort of through albums of other people’s. So, I started thinking about it right then… I was thinking about the first Goldroom record as early as January of 2013, so I’ve kind of been writing for it for three years now. But, I don’t know, it’s weird… You were saying earlier, that you guys have been paying attention for along time. But, if I walk into a radio station or something like that, I’m going to talk about it (West of the West) like it’s my first statement, but in a lot of ways it feels like my sophomore record because the Embrace EP took me all around the world twice, and I got to play Coachella this year, and I released that independently… and that EP did all of this. It’s a seven song EP, and for a lot of purposes it worked as my debut full-length record, so this is actually closer to my sophomore record from sort of a traditional perspective. But, I wasn’t thinking about that EP in the same way that I was thinking about West of the West. I wasn’t thinking like, “Hey, would I be proud of this if I died?” But, I have been thinking about that with this record. I wanted this record to be so good that, when I die, I’m going to be like “I have this at least. At least I did this, and I’m proud of it.” hahaha. And, I don’t know, as things went a long, I started to feel more and more strongly about certain things about the way producers in my world were making records. And I was getting more and more discouraged with the fact that it was just this endless cycle of people throwing acapellas to each other, and getting random features and finsing out that the artists, that you think that you love didn’t even write the song that you loved. And, I want a glimpse into people’s hearts I guess. And so, the only thing that I promised with this record is that for better or for worse, it would really be me.

’Goldroom – Silhouette’

Read the rest of our interview with Josh Legg after the jump!

TMN: Awesome. That actually leads into my next question. As far as the writing and recording process, I know you layed down your own vocals for a lot of this LP for the first time and have always handled a lot. You know, for the most part Goldroom has always been viewed as pretty much a solo project, even though it has developed into a full live act.  Did you mostly handle things top to bottom as far as instrumentation, writing lyrics, and overall arrangement or did you have some outside input as far as guest musicians?

JL: Well certainly, there wasn’t a part of  anything on the record that I didn’t touch. But, no, the real answer is that it was an incredibly collaborative process from moment one. It’s funny, the first EP that I ever put out, everything was me, top to bottom. But by the time this record came out, I had started to remix artists, and my manager was like “Hey, that Niki and the Dove remix is really starting to get some traction. Maybe you ought to work with some female singers. Let’s see what happens when you start collaborating (on original tracks).” And I started to fall in love with the songwriting process of co-writing with other people, and so I’ve never stopped doing that. And with this record, you know, every song I co-wrote with other people. It’s really important to me that I have a heavy hand in the lyrics, and it was never a situation of me making a beat, and sending it out and having somebody else send me a finished product back. So like, I’m always sitting in a room with somebody being like: “This is what’s going on with me, this is where I want to go.” And I was trading ideas and it was always a very authentic, collaborative process. So yeah, it’s a little bit of everything. You know, I had, depending on the song… maybe I produced it, maybe I was doing all of the drum programming, but maybe somebody else helped me write the topline. On another song, maybe I wrote the whole topline… and… there’s actually a song on the record that Oli G from Oliver did a beat for. I heard the beat and loved it and thought that it worked well for Goldroom. I wrote the vocals and the topline for it, sang them, did additional production, and then played guitar on top of the song, and then pulled it together. So, songs came together in so many different ways, the difference is mostly that, I don’t know, my imprint is really heavy on everything and yeah.. I had my hand in every little element. But, a lot of people were a part of the creative process, which was really exciting.

’Goldroom – Silhouette’

TMN: And, there were a lot of different vocalists on the record right? Who all did you actually have? 

JL: On West of the West? There are actually only two vocalists on the entire LP. So that’s something that was super important to me about the record. Because, this is my thing about a lot of electronic records too is that… you hear all of these different features and vocals. How are you going to fall in love with the record? When we grew up  you were falling in love with a voice, and it felt like you were all the way inside that person and that you were falling in love with it. So, I wanted to get back to that a little bit with this record. So for me, with this record, a big signifier for me was the Zero 7 record that featured Sia. When they put their first record out. Because, Sia was not credited as a feature, but her vocals were present throughout the whole record, and that was a big part of falling in love with that group for me. The fact that there were cohesive voices was a huge part of that. So for me, I was hoping to, and I knew that I wanted to sing more on the record and I sing on half the songs, and that I also wanted to find a vocal muse of sorts. And so after a while I found this girl Rooty,  she’s an Irish singer/songwriter and she’s the only female voice you hear on the record.

TMN: That is awesome, I didn’t know that. And did you record the entire LP in L.A.?

JL: Yeah. We did all of the songwriting over time in a bunch of different ways. But then, right at the end of last year, there was a concentrated period of about three weeks where all of the final vocals from all of the record were recorded. And they were all done in this studio in Silver Lake called Oulse, and it’s where Tupac recorded “All Eyez On Me”.

TMN: Hahaha Nice! No big deal. Very cool, very cool. Obviously as artists grow older and mature, so do their tastes. There’s been a clear evolution from what I would refer to as sort of an indie-dance, disco-chill vibe from singles like “Fifteen” in 2012 and the Embrace EP in 2013. I would go as far to say that as a listener, at times I felt like I was listening to just.. an immaculately produced pop album on West of the West. There are tinges of R&B, mature sexuality and plenty of sing-along synth-pop anthems. I think Vanity Fair even called it “Escapist E.D.M. for the Adult Millennial”.

JL: Fuck. Yeah… That’s the worst.

TMN: Hahahaha!

JL: I literally… refused to even repost that article because of that headline hahaha.

TMN: So, I obviously don’t agree with that at all.

JL: Right, it’s not even close to EDM, you can’t even fucking DJ even half of these songs. 

TMN: Hahaha, so anyway. I was kind of talking about the evolution of the Goldroom project.

JL: Yeah. I did want it to grow. And the difference is, some people have said, “Hey, your sound has totally changed. What precipitated that?” or whatever.

TMN: It still feels like Goldroom though to me. Like, I didn’t feel like I wasn’t listening to a Goldroom record. But it did feel a little bit different at the same time.

JL: That’s amazing to hear. That’s great. Because that’s sort of my only worry. Of course I want it to be different. A.) I want it to grow but B.) Very rarely do artists arrive being competent enough to make the music that’s truly in their head. And I’ve always wanted to make this music but, no offense to Poolside, but I didn’t want to be Poolside, I want to be Phoenix. And, I think this is me finally being able to make music that I think can be in that world. I don’t want to be… I love the Poolside guys, don’t get me wrong they’re my favorite people. So that’s sort of a shame I said that hahaha, but yeah, I don’t care to… I don’t want to make songs like “Morgan’s Bay” or “Only You Can Show Me” where it’s just like “Cool I found a nice little vocal line and I want to make a beat around it.” I want to write songs that… I want to be able to stand on stage and be able to grab an acoustic guitar, and sing the song that I wrote and it doesn’t matter if it has cool electronic production over it or not. I want it to be a great song. If you listen to Phoenix’s “1901” or “Listzomania” or something like that, those are songs that whether they came out in the ’70’s or 2030’s, they’re going to be hits regardless.

TMN: I definitely agree.

JL: And I’m not comparing myself to that by any means. but, that’s what I’m aspiring to you know?

TMN: And kind of touching on that live aspect you were talking about. We’ve seen you come through Denver probably four times as a DJ, but this will be my first time seeing Goldroom in all of their live glory.

JL: Amazing! This is better hahaha.

TMN: Can you talk about the differences as a performer between those two sides of Goldroom?

JL: Sure. I’m excited for you to see it. I mean, I love doing both and I really value both as an art form. I think DJ’ing is bastardized sometimes because there are some bands, and then they go and just try to make some money DJ’ing, and then you’re just going to see ‘Band X’ DJ sets. And, I don’t know, that’s lame to me. I’ve cared about DJ’ing as an art form for a really long time., and that’s not going to stop. They’re just very different shows. It’s weird because you’d think that playing live you have more room to improvise, but the turth is with DJ’ing is that you have ultimate room to improvise. Because you can go in any direction and make wild changes at any given time. Whereas when we’re playing live, I can make little adjustments and wiggle and do this and that, but on the whole we’re playing the same set every night for the most part. And we’re playing a lot of the same songs, and I love both in very different ways. But… I like performing live for the human connection, and the amount of human connection that you can make when you’re singing a song through microphone and looking at somebody. It’s so much stronger than DJ’ing. But I do love both. I’ll tell you, by the end of this tour I’m definitely gonna be really excited to just go DJ a few nights for sure.

TMN: Well, we do certainly enjoy you DJ’ing as well. So you are just a few dates into… How many dates are you playing with Autograf?

JL: It’s a total of 30, and actually I think tonight marks the halfway point.

TMN: So, is this the longest tour that you’ve ever done consecutively?

JL: Big time. Big time. This is by far the longest I’ve done.

TMN: How has it been going so far? We had a bunch of friends go to the sold-out Denver show last night and it looked like an absolute blast.

JL: It’s been great, we’ve had some really amazing shows. The cool thing to me, to be honest is like… I keep coming back to the fact that on a Tuesday night in Portland, Maine where I’ve never been before, we sold 150 tickets and there were people singing along to all of the songs on the new record and stuff like that. It was just a trip to me.

TMN: Which, yeah… that’s crazy. I think there are only 60,000 people living in that town. I was just there and was reading their local magazine Dispatch and saw an ad for that show.

JL: Oh no shit? That’s amazing! Yeah, I don’t know. It’s kind of humbling to know that people are coming out and spending their money to… they’ve obviously spent some time digesting the record, and they learned the record and then they’re down to spend their own money to come out and buy a T-Shirt and  sing the songs with us. It’s a trip. And people have apologized to us at shows when there are like 200 people in a 600 capacity room, and I’m like “I can’t believe there are 200 people here!” Like tonight I think will be a little slower than Denver last night, but I mean… I’ve never been to Boulder before, it’s fucking cool that there are a lot of people coming out to see the show hahaha.

TMN: Yeah, I jumped at the chance to come see you guys at the Boulder Theatre. I went to high school out here in Boulder, so Iwas really excited about the show.

JL: It’s such a cool town.

TMN: So, being on tour, besides the obvious, are there any items that you have to travel with?

JL: Ummmm…. I mean. I bring my Kindle everywhere. I really like reading and it’s is super important to me, so I’m always reading and digesting something. Right now I’m reading Shea Serrano’s The Rap Year Book, where he talks about the best rap songs from every year between 1977-2015. It’s a really cool book, and it actually tells the history of rap through these songs and it’s pretty cool. So that, and my acoustic guitar. You won’t see an acoustic guitar on stage tonight, but we always have one on the bus, which is amazing, because we’ve been doing a little bit of acoustic work within the band and it’s my primary songwriting tool. I can’t think of anything else at the moment… maybe a bottle of red wine.


I always like to pick the brains of my favorite msuciains. 2016 for me has been kind of an up and down year musically and politically. Has there been anything that you’ve been listening to, that you’ve been really enjoying?

JL: Yeah, totally. Not to go too far back, because it’s a 2015 record, but Tame Impala’s Currents, I can’t say enough about. I think it’s one of the most important records in the last five years at least.

TMN: I absolutely agree. It makes me so happy to hear you say that, I just saw them at Red Rocks and it was incredible.

JL: Yeah, and I don’t know. A lot of my friends are still making my favorite music. Gigamesh’s new LP that he just put out the second half of this year, I think is a really amazing thing. Poolside has been putting out new music which has been cool. Classixx’ Faraway Reach LP I thought was amazing.

TMN: Yeah it’s cool to see all of you guys… well not you guys, but I mean all of the acts coming out of that scene like Classixx doing the live act, you guys and a handful more have emerged as live acts.

JL: Yeah, some… I guess have emerged while some have faded away and it’s cool to see that we all are in it together and rooting for reach other. Same with the Miami Horror guys, and the list kind of goes on and on in that way. I don’t know, right now, I’m really digging on.. I’m looking through my phone right now, but this is always the right way hahaha. The Knocks are a good example also. Their last record was great…

TMN: Awesome. You’ve always been a pretty active producer. This is going to be the last one I have for you…

JL: Wait, I want to properly answer your last question hahahaha.

TMN: Hahaha, okay my bad sorry, let’s finish that thought.

JL: I feel like I can answer that question better.

TMN: Yeah, well it’s probably hard being friends with everybody too hahaha. I mean, just from being around everyone so often, we hear nothing but good things about you.

JL: I mean, I just root for everybody. I try to at least. I don’t actually root for everybody.. I have like… frienemies isn’t the right word… I have nemesi that I choose not to mention. Let’s put it this way… I was never trying to own the tropical thing, that was never something that I was doing on purpose. But, maybe the tropical thing, became a thing and a lot of people like…

TMN: Yeah I think your music and all of that music that came about definitely had its roots in that L.A. culture.

JL: Yeah, and I mean, I also just love tropicalia music and the Latin influence that is so prevalent in it is really important to me. And I think that there’s a lot to be gained from dancing to that kind of stuff. And, the stuff that became ‘Tropical House’ music is not even dance music. The idea that some people would try to compare me to that stuff is kind of a bummer. Oh, okay! I’m ready to answer your question now hahaha. Ready? The Roosevelt record was really dope. I mean there are so many great acts that are coming out of Australia right now. The Rufus record was also really amazing.

TMN: Yeah Bloom was an excellent record.

JL: I don’t know the list kind of goes on and on.

TMN: Alright last one. I know you just released the full LP, but you’ve always been a pretty active producer both as a remixer and original producer. Do you have anything else coming down the pipe or have you been able to just kind of sit on this record for a minute and go on tour and kind of bask in everything?

JL: I’m actually really anxious to get back in the studio. We will play a song otnight that was one of the songs that almost made the record but didn’t. And, I don’t know… I don’t think we’re going to release it. I kind of like the idea that it’s just like, living out in the world. It’s kind of like a cheesy Daft Punk record… Or like, in the way that Daft Punk is cheesy, you know what I mean? It’s a song called “Spread Love” and it like, it sounds the way that a song called “Spread Love” might sound. Like a cheesy old French-House song hahaha. But, we did this record and everybody really loved it, and it just didn’t really fit the album so we left it off. But, we love playing it live and… maybe it will come out but maybe not, I don’t know. Besides that, I’m really excited to get back in the studio and remix some stuff. I’m going to put out another mixtape. I think I’m actually going to do a mixtape while we’re on tour, which will be hard.

TMN: Yeah, I’ve always loved the Spring/Summer mixes that you put out. The El Verano mixes.

JL: Yeah, I did that Summer one this year but I want to do a Fall one So I’m going to do the… I think Ibiza mix is I think what I’m going to call it, I dpn’t know. So, yeah I’m going to do that and then I can’t wait to get back in the studio and start working on the second record.

TMN: That’s really exciting, and like I said thanks so much again for sitting down and talking with us. I relish the opportunity to just sit down and talk about music with one of my favorite musicians, so it’s been a real pleasure and I really appreciate you takig the time.

JL: Of course, I hope you enjoy the show, and I’m sorry we’re going on so late but.. It is what it is hahaha.

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