Interview: Josh Legg of Goldroom, on the new ‘Embrace’ EP, re-booting Binary and keeping one foot on the dance floor and one in the pool


Goldroom_Tegan Butler

Josh Legg has had quite the year of recording and touring as Goldroom. Since he released the exquisite hit “Fifteen,” single after single has raced up the Hype Machine charts, making Goldroom one of the best assets for your summer soundtrack. Since then Legg has traded in his laptop performances for organic drums, guitars and keys, transforming Goldroom into a three-person live act. And with the recent release of his sophomore EP “Embrace,” the band has been one of the most sought-out electronic acts to dismiss the fact that the fall season has already begun.

||| Stream: “Embrace” and “Only You Can Show Me”

Legg, however, was a busy man before the success of Goldroom. His name is not new to electro-heads. Thanks to his prior band NightWaves and his label, Binary Entertainment, Legg has been closely associated with the electronic scene in SoCal for many years. We have a quick chat with Legg about the success of Goldroom as well as what else he may have in store for us in 2014:

Congrats on the release of “Embrace.” It’s quite the slick collection of songs. What are you happiest about in regards to this EP?

Well, a couple of the songs have been out for a bit, so I think I’m happiest about the idea of “Embrace” introducing people to some of the stuff they may not have heard
before. It’s a very cohesive thought to me, and so I’m proudest of the fact that I was able to tell the story I wanted to tell over the six songs.

You’ve recruited Nick Sandler (of Chasing Kings) on drums and Mereki Beach (of Australian band Peacocks) on vocals and keys this year. You’ve been in band live bands before, but how has translating songs with a full band been on this Goldroom tour?

It’s been so rewarding. I’ve always been in bands, so adapting the music to that format was something that wasn’t too foreign to me. The biggest question to me was how people would respond to it. Seeing people’s reactions on a night-to-night basis has been amazing and really fulfilling.

Goldroom’s recent singles have gotten more of a “chill” vibe to it, but you still manage to include the disco foundation in there. What influenced this slight shift in your sound palette in between EPs?

Well, I think a big part of that was shifting from using my own vocals to featuring female singers on the songs. My productions tend to work really well with those kinds of vocals, so I think the shift was just a natural progression to doing what’s best for the songs we were working on. I’m definitely trying to keep one foot on the dance floor and one in the pool!

How do you feel about the “tropical” label people have been giving Goldroom’s music during the last year?

I’m pretty neutral about it. I personally don’t label my music like that, but I understand why some other people would. It’s generally journalists’ jobs to label music, and I think there are a lot worse labels people could use. I think I have a lot more to offer than surface-level chill-out music, but I think I enjoy a mojito on the beach as much as the next guy.

Chela is a vocalist on two of the tracks on the EP. How did your collaborations with her come about?

We’ve worked with a lot of the same people in Australia, and so she was one of the vocalists I tried out for “Fifteen,” which I had originally written for myself. Her take was amazing and we used it. Of course, I was very interested in meeting her, so when she came to L.A., we had a few sessions together and “Adalita” was one of the songs we wrote.

||| Stream: “Fifteen” featuring Chela

What do you factor in when you’re choosing a vocalist to sing those big melodies?

Tone, power, emotion and clarity. I definitely believe in the intangible “it” as well. You can hear it when someone is really locked into a song and capturing that is what the process is all about. I love every bit of it.

“Pacific” doesn’t have a vocalist. Why did you decide to make this last tune on the EP an instrumental track?

That song is important to me because even after trying to find a way to use a vocalist on it, it just felt right the way it was. It’s quite affecting to me emotionally, and so I wanted to leave people with a track that kind of puts you in a dream and makes you question what might be next from Goldroom. My first EP was entirely my vocals … This EP was entirely others’ vocals. “Pacific” hopefully makes you wonder what’s next.


What’s the story behind the cover art for “Embrace?”

Oscar Delmar is this wonderful painter who I discovered. The piece that became the “Embrace” cover was my favorite watercolor of his. I asked him if I could use it and he was nice enough to say yes. I just find the piece to be really emotional, a bit sexual, and just kind of raw and human, which are all qualities I try and put into my music.

Is there anything currently brewing with your other band NightWaves?

Yes. 100%. I wish I could talk a bit more about it, but absolutely.

Speaking of Binary artists, how have you been juggling the label and going on tour? What can we expect from Binary in 2014?

Well, Binary is my label, and I’m very happy to be able to say that we’re doing a full re-launch in 2014 and we’ll be signing new artists. One of my biggest passions in life is introducing people to new music, and so running the label has been something that I’ve wanted to pick up as much as possible. We have some new people on board and I’m so excited to show everyone what we’ve been cooking up.

What do you have in store for Goldroom’s homecoming show at the Troubadour on Saturday?

That venue means so much to me, and I think it’s going to mean a lot to play it with so many friends in the house. It’s going to be really exciting and probably really overwhelming. Hopefully I don’t get too drunk or cry.

Last but not least, do you frequent the bar, Gold Room, in Echo Park often and are you a fan of their $5 deal (Tecate and a shot of tequila)?

Duh, I love the Gold Room special. It’s a mandatory order as soon as you get there. I used to go there a lot. I made a lot of big life decisions there actually, including the night I decided to name my solo project… I met Mereki there, in fact! I miss the old Gold Room, when it was darker and mariachi bands frequented it, but I still love the place.

||| Live: Goldroom plays Saturday at the Trouabdour with Carousel and Story of the Running Wolf.

Photos by Terry Butler