sounds like Kaskade doing Balearic - Goldroom’s road to West of the West doesn’t exactly fit the old “overnight success” adage, which is all for the better—he prefers his bright, electronic melodies drenched in sunlight.
The artist born Josh Legg has been releasing music under the pseudonym Goldroom since 2011. After three EPs (including 2015’s breakout It’s Like You Never Went Away) and an array of viral remixes and memorable music videos, his much-anticipated debut full-length album drops this Friday, September 23. Brimming with sun-kissed flavors and sonic Southern California iconography, West of the West hinges on spring-break nostalgia for glistening bronze skin, sand snug between the toes, and young love and lust. It is the perfect September soundtrack for those clinging to the final scraps of summertime.<br/><br/>
Pulling his debut’s title from a 1903 Theodore Roosevelt address in Ventura, California—“When I come here to California, I am not in the West: I am west of the West”—Legg himself has always pined for the Pacific. Though he did not move to California until attending the University of Southern California, where he studied psychology and public health, he’s had a love affair with the ocean’s twisting tides since he was a boy living in Massachusetts along the Atlantic shoreline. He grew up sailing on the water, and taught boating lessons as a teen. Around this time, his “musical awakening” came about via his first guitar, his first four-track tape recorder, and Nirvana’s Nevermind. The symbiotic relationship between his music and the water was seen in his first musical project, NightWaves, and continues to this day.<br/><br/>
“A lot of what Goldroom became was sort of this second chapter of my life. I moved out [to Los Angeles] and fell in love with everything, and a big part of that was finding a new group of people to sail with and spending a lot of time on the Pacific,” Legg, now 32, tells Vanity Fair. “The idea of ‘west of the West’ being the Pacific Ocean was an idea that I was really enamored with for a long time.”<br/><br/>
“In a lot of ways, I write songs for a 15-year-old version of myself,” he says. “I just want to write stuff that can take me or take somebody else to somewhere nicer.”
This sentiment is the antithesis of a prevailing notion Legg takes issue with: he believes that critics often scorn artists who use common emotional denominators like nostalgia. Unless those artists create things that are overtly personal, he says, their art is deemed gauzy and saccharine.<br/><br/>
“Maybe everyone doesn’t agree, but it feels like to me that that’s the general sentiment, and I just, like, vehemently disagree with that,” Legg says. “There’s a strong pull across all mediums, but especially in music, that escapism, or shortcuts like nostalgia, somehow lessens the art that’s associated with it.”
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