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Interview: Goldroom On How New Album 'Plunge /\ Surface' Embraces Live & DJ Sides Of His Career

We chat with Goldroom about his new album, some of his favorite wines and the tough recovery road he faced two years ago.


Goldroom, real name Josh Legg, has released his new album Plunge /\ Surface. The album is comprised of two distinct components in Plunge and then Surface. The double LP contains 12 songs in total and each of the six tracks on one of the albums has a sister track on the other, remade in a different vision and sound. As Goldroom described to us in June, Plunge is best suited for his live band and feels more lively, while Surface is a nod to his DJ sets with a little more energy and focus on the groove, which powers the dancefloor.

The LP has been slowly teased out over the past few months, releasing tracks not in pairs, but sometimes the sister track may appear three singles later. The journey to discovering each sister track is something Goldroom wanted to create with this album – a sonic puzzle of sorts that provides more intrigue to the record than just 12 songs on an album.

The LP came together in a difficult time for Legg. He had just broken his neck in a freak accident surfing in Tulum. What proceeded was six months of managing pain and eventually getting back on the road too quickly. It was a hazy time where he did his best not to take opiates, but rather supplemented with CBD, THC and a little booze when recording.

That incoherence and hazy nature of his recovery is found best in Surface, where you feel the descent down into chopped up vocal samples, reworked melodies and murky, but still danceable basslines. Plunge also carries some of that haziness as vocals and melodies swirl around each other and can be intertwined in an organic way. Like diving into the ocean, the melodies are murky and the vocals powerful, writing to a certain difficult period in Legg’s life where a clear recovery wasn’t always apparent right in front of him.

We discussed the creative process for the album at length in June, but now we have part two of the interview for you. We go into how the different modes of performance impacted this album, his favorite wines and how his recovery impacted his view on the medical system.

How did your two different modes of performance shape this album?

It’s been one of the struggles that I have had with Goldroom from a career perspective. I play live and I care a lot about performing live as a band in a traditional sense, a four piece, I am not up there with a controller and drum sticks. Playing fully live is really important to me, always has been and I also really love to DJ. Finding ways to make music that fits in both of those spaces is very difficult and traditionally I have been able to do remixes to create material that fits in my DJ sets. But because I have been doing so many originals and my injury, I haven’t had to do that much stuff. This afforded me that opportunity. So in some ways this album mirrors what happened in my life for the past two years, but they mirror the project also. Plunge is the live side of what I do and Surface is the DJ side of what I do. So that is exciting to show the entirety of what Goldroom is across this album.

Were you gun shy about going back in the water after your accident?

No, I grew up on the ocean and I have gained a very healthy respect and appreciation for its power. What happened to me was a complete freak accident and I have even been back in the water in Tulum since. It is not something that has freaked me out at all. I feel so at home there and it such a big part of who I am. Sometimes I wonder if I should feel differently, but I don’t. I just blame myself for that. It is somehow reinforcing how much being on the ocean is a part of my life.

The ultimate irony is that accident took that away from me for a little while. I had to cancel a few shows, but I got back Djing pretty quickly and I had boat shows later that summer. So I was back in it pretty quickly. I jumped back into DJing way too fast. I was pretty medicated at the time and self-medicating and it was pretty hazy period of my life when I look back on it. I can hear that in the music – Plunge sounds super foggy to me and Surface sounds super clear.

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Did you get a different perspective on the medical system after the accident?

I was prescribed a whole bunch of opioids and I was told you’re probably going to be in a lot of pain over the next six months. So I asked “will I need to take Tramadol every day for the next six months, because I don’t like the sound of that. I don’t like where I am going to end up if that goes.” That was a bit of a red flag. This was 2017 and I wanted to make sure I didn’t become addicted to opiates. I supplemented that with CBD, THC and also wrote a lot so there was booze around. I did my best to not take too many opiates and on the whole I got back into the saddle a little bit too quick and I wasn’t mentally recovered from that. Nothing went wrong and I made it through period, but when I listen back to that music I can hear the fogginess in it. In some ways it is a good thing, it is like an audio timestamp of a period in my life in a direct and obvious way.

What are your favorite Philippe Zdar productions?

Haha, can I just say all of Wolfgang Amadeus? I know they aren’t his productions, but I could talk about that record specifically for like a week. I am with Phoenix’s management and I have the same booking agent as them, when I first heard it I was very obsessed with the sonics. Finding out that he was this guy – Cassius was never the act that I gravitated towards the most coming out of that scene, but there were so many things he had done that I love. His Sebastien Tellier mix is one of my favorite things of all time. 

When I heard the Phoenix record I was so curious why it sounded so good and seeing it was him really altered the way my career could go as well because I thought, damn maybe I could work with bands in the future and bring a little different vibe to what they do. From a career standpoint he was very inspiring on what a producer could end up doing and that he could be a sort of big picture producer in the same way people used to do that 30 or 40 years ago, was a big inspiration.

As a wine drinker, what are your favorites wines?

Yeah I definitely am. I am huge fan of the central coast of California. That is where I originally went to learn more abut wine and it is closer than Napa. I fell in love with that area and I had done a lot of sailing in Santa Barbara, so I was really interested that part of California. So Central California is kind of my place and I think because of that my favorite is this place called Kenneth Volk vineyard, which is a small winery. He had started Wild Horse wine, which is seen more in stores. 

He is inspiring because he sold the wine so he could go back and make another boutique vineyard. So he started to make wine as his name, Kenneth Volk. What was interesting about him is that he only makes single varietals, so he doesn’t make any blends. You learn a lot about single varietals and you really get a taste for the different grapes. He makes this this Cab[ernet] Franc that is pretty incredible -- also any Pinot Noire from Central California.

When we were on tour two years ago that is what I would drink – a bottle of Californian pinot noire that I would bring on stage and sip on as we played. It was very old man, but in the best way.

As a French person I totally admire that.

I also love French wines. I would love to go Bordeaux and go tasting. One day….

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