LessThan3: What kind of music do you remember your parents playing when you were growing up, and how has it influenced your current style?
Wes: They played a lot of pop radio, top 40 stuff. They weren’t playing The Beatles, or “cool” sh*t. So that is one of those things that I actually carry, that feeling that I can’t actually name all of The Beatles songs and I can’t tell you The Rolling Stones’ top albums, but I can tell you other things about what they listened to. That has definitely influenced my music.
LessThan3: RAC remixed one of your tracks a couple months ago and then you remixed one of theirs. Do you have an ongoing music relationship with them?
Wes: Andre has become a good friend of mine. You start playing these shows and seeing the same people and you start making a connection with them. We swap stories of things that have happened to us at shows.
LessThan3: What came first for you, DJing or production?
LessThan3: Was it a natural progression going from producing to DJing, or was there a bit of a learning curve?
Wes: It was a learning process. I started using a laptop and software and making it super easy, but it ended up being more difficult. Now I just travel with headphones and flash drives.
LessThan3: What was the most difficult part about learning how to DJ?
Wes: I kind of felt that I was at a disadvantage because I hadn’t really grown up in DJ culture. I grew up playing in bands. I felt like everyone was like, “Oh, he’s playing this track?” or, “He shouldn’t be playing this track.” I felt I was being judged at the beginning.
LessThan3: How did you get into electronic music after growing up playing in bands?
Wes: I actually made the music electronically, and then the band would basically play with me on stage. But I wasn’t making dance music. I was making songs and singing.
LessThan3: What’s your thought process when using samples to create an original? What stops you from just making a remix from the songs that you pull your samples from?
What I do definitely treads on the territory of a remix. You could say COOL
was a remix. I didn’t want to label it as a remix, though; I wanted it to exist as its own song. I wanted to see what it would do and I feel like if someone would have seen it as a Cassie remix, it would have come off differently. I liked the fact that it gave it more mystery.
LessThan3: You use a lot of R&B samples in your music. What is it about R&B that really resonates with you?
Wes: I finally discovered what that answer means only recently. My friend, who is here right now, sort of enlightened me. It’s the idea of taking a slowed down vocal that has a bit of soulfulness and speeding that up to be a dance track. I’m giving away all my secrets, I shouldn’t even be saying all of this! [Laughs] But speeding up an R&B vocal just sounds cool for some reason in dance music because it’s not the first thing you would think of. I have had tons of people try to record vocals for tracks I have written and it just doesn’t work the same way like taking a vocal that is unbiased and has nothing to do with my track and applying that to my music. Like that Cassie track–I didn’t really know where the chorus was; I was just cutting sh*t up to make fun stuff. That is more important in my music than I actually even knew.
LessThan3: Your Lana Del Rey remix says it’s remixed by Wes James, not Le Youth. Is this because you decided on the Le Youth name after you made the remix?
Wes: Le Youth actually already existed a little bit before that remix. I was sort of embarrassed to be doing a Lana Del Rey remix, so at the time I wasn’t sure if I wanted it to be labeled as Le Youth. Le Youth was so young and I wanted to define it with my vision and the Lana Del Rey remix was a bit different from that vision. But it was a cool offer and I couldn’t turn it down, so I still wanted to do it. So I thought maybe I’ll start doing weird stuff that doesn’t fit as Le Youth as Wes James.
LessThan3: You mentioned earlier that you also sing. Will there be any of your original vocals in your next tracks?
Wes: Definitely will be. For the album, I can’t imagine not singing on it. I have an itch to start singing again, even though it was really nice to use vocal samples on my own stuff. I never exactly liked my voice.
LessThan3: If you could work with any artist, past, present or, maybe even, future, who would it be and why?
Wes: I would like to make original music with Brandy. I want to make an R&B track with her and then secretly rip away all the music and use her a cappella on a dance track. I would get her to record as much as possible and just use it for the next ten years because everything she’s done is gold.
LessThan3: How do you like your eggs?
LessThan3: If the world was ending in LessThan3 minutes and you had an iPod with every song ever made on it, what would you listen to?