Ahead of his LIVE full band performance at Coda tonight (10/15), we caught up with Josh Legg, the mastermind behind Goldroom, to talk about what it means to deliver a true live electronic music performance, his influences, and what his favorite kind of Snapchats are.
KDU: So you’re on a live tour now. What does it mean to you with regard to DJing vs live performance?
Goldroom: I grew up playing in bands and have always incorporated a lot of live instrumentation into my music. I cared a lot about DJing when I started Goldroom and I was only doing DJ sets then. I still DJ all the time – both in clubs and festivals. For me, playing live is a whole different level of emotional commitment and it’s much more musically fulfilling for me. We’re not up there with a couple of drum pads and an Ableton controller. When we’re up there live it’s a four-piece band with bass, guitar, and we sing every song – it’s truly like a band experience. Trying to bring electronic music to people in an authentically live performance is something that means a lot to me and I’m trying to fight the good fight.
What does fighting the good fight mean to you?
It’s kind of two fold. I don’t like a lot about what club culture means and I don’t particularly like mainstream music. I don’t think a lot producers and electronic musicians are about writing meaningful songs. So for me, everything is about the songwriting – if I can’t play the song for you on an acoustic guitar and have it work out, I don’t think the song should be out there. It really bothers me when people have their “live shows” that are a computer and a couple of controllers and there are vocals and really no instruments. That’s a legitimate form of performance, but I’m very interested in seeing people play live music with instruments and singing. So when I say fighting the good fight I’m just trying to keep that tradition alive.
What are some of your main vocal inspirations?
Stevie Nicks around the time of Rumours, I also love the way Sia sounded on the first Zero 7 record. I love dreamy nostalgic vocals. Every singer I work with has their different intonations which are exciting and inspiring to me – it’s about finding something unique and inspiring.
Who are some of your peers taking a similar approach to making electronic music?
I consider the Classixx guys peers, along with Andre from RAC, the Poolside guys, Classic Plates out here in LA, Oliver. It wasn’t until I launched Goldroom that there was a community I could build around. A lot of early French Touch acts like Alan Braxe and Fred Falke were really influential to me when I launched this project. I used to think that if you would write songs over that type of production, you would have something very special. That was my mission statement in the beginning, and write Americana over it.
Tell us a little bit about your new EP.
It’s a collection of old songs and new songs, and then an opportunity came up to get involved with Snapchat. They wanted to release something exclusively with them where we’d develop a short film that would be released in four episodes over four days. So we spent a few months putting together a short film surrounding these four songs and released the music that way.
Do you use Snapchat at all?
I do – I know the guys that started the company and they brought me in on a project pretty early on in the company’s history. So when they came back to me with this idea, obviously the company has grown massively, and it was really exciting. I think it’s a really cool platform. I post all the stuff that I wouldn’t want to post on Facebook there. I can preview songs on there, or share snippets of an idea that will probably never turn into anything, but it’s still really awesome to kind of give a glimpse into the process.
What is the best kind of Snapchat to get?
That’s a good question (laughs). People will send me snaps in their car in like Jakarta and “Embrace” came on – that’s so cool and random to me. Someone was in Amsterdam the other day in an H&M or something like that and they’re walking into the store and “California Rain” is playing. It’s a real trip to me that that can happen.
Catch Goldroom (LIVE) at Coda TONIGHT and maybe he’ll even take a Snapchat with you.