CULTED SOUNDS: WESLEY JOSEPH AND HIS GLOWING CREATIVE CAREER
For Wesley Joseph, every aspect of creation has meaning. It starts by putting pen to paper. Or, as Joseph prefers, copious large whiteboards filled with his thoughts.
Then, it moves to production, in which he succumbs himself to the grips of the studio, not allowing himself to break free until he’s more than content with his work. Once a project is conceived, Joseph employs a facet of creativity that other musicians lack: filmmaking.
The Birmingham native has a knack for making his movies and music videos appear big-budget. When in reality, the idea has been conceived and broken down so many times, viewers are experiencing the most unblemished version of each and every project.
We had the chance to talk to Wesley about how he conceives creation projects, what creation means to him, and his latest album, ‘GLOW’.
Man like Wesley! Tell me a little bit about your start as a creative. How did you get into music and filmmaking?
I’ve always been creative as far as I can remember. I used to be obsessed with drawing as a kid, then that love turned to animation, then to videos/film. As soon as I became obsessed with the art of film when I was younger, it wasn’t long till I understood the importance of music in the medium. At the same time, I grew up around music and loved music just as much from really young. I spent a lot of time studying both mediums and spent different periods of life obsessing with them separately. When I was finally able to utilize both of my loves, I did and haven’t stopped.
Your videos are crazy conceptionally, talk us through the story behind your latest release, ‘Monsoon,’ and what led you to portray this narrative.
For this video, the priority was reflecting the feeling and vibe of the track visually. It was less about narrative. I wanted to use impactful, metaphoric, and expressive imagery that leaned into the abstract to engage emotionally. I also wanted the video to have an open perception of different people. I wanted each scene to be worthy of being blown up as a huge print in an exhibition before they were moving frames; each scene has a picturesque feel to it for that reason.
Following this, do you write music with visuals in mind? Do you have an idea of how it will look or the story you want to portray with your music in the early stages?
Sometimes I make music that inspires film, and other times I think of scenes that need sounds. It’s a constant feedback loop of both, and doing one of them always inspires the other.
Being from London opens your eyes to endless creative possibilities. How does the city transcend and influence your creative endeavors?
In not from London, I’m actually from a small town in the West Midlands called Walsall. Growing up, there weren’t many creative possibilities at all, so when I moved here, it was exactly what I’d yearned for in terms of energy and opportunity I just didn’t know it existed till then. Really just the fact there’s an industry and a lot more people to be connected with is the difference. The world also kind of passes through the city in a cool way.
I understand that you were named Vevo’s Artist to Watch in 2023. Have you felt any pressure because of this?
Being totally honest, I was feeling 2023 pressure last year, now I’m thinking about 2024, the pressure I’m feeling is where I want to be by then. The things people see now are always planned way before, so it puts you in a weird time frame. Mentally you’re ahead of what’s happening now for yourself at all times.
Congratulations on GLOW! Out of the eight tracks, which is your favourite and why?
Thanks! my favourite track constantly changes I don’t think there will be just one any time soon. Right now though my favourite track is probably GLOW.
You’ve been described sonically as somewhere between Andre 3000 and Jai Paul. Where do you think you fall in the musical mix?
That’s a huge compliment as they’re two incredible artists, and I appreciate what they do stylistically, and vocals are somewhere in the cauldron of my influence. They have definitely inspired me, but ultimately I just want to be my own reference point. I think originality comes from a subtle blend of many influences expressed without thought, and thats what I aspire to be, distinctive with a sound that’s original and respects its influence.
I can see you have an extensive tour list coming up. What city is the most fun to perform in and why?
I haven’t done many shows at all, I did my headline and a few Europe festivals over the summer. Out of my limited experience, I’d say the south of France or Belgium was the most fun. Mainly because the people were super passionate and free-spirited, so the whole time I was in both those places, I felt a love for the music and was spiritually free.
Your cover art features cold fits. What brands do you tend to gravitate towards when shopping?
To be honest, I don’t necessarily look at brands when I shop I just look at fits, colours, and distinctive pieces that I like. I’ve bought some Diesel lately though that was fire.
Chat to me about co-producing Monsoon with A.K. Paul. What is it like to find someone who is so similar to you creatively?
Me and Harvey Dweller started the song in my studio then I took the demo to A.k. Both of those guys sweat music. As I remember, pretty much as soon as I got in the room with A.K. the song just took a different turn, and harmonies and new textures, and vibes were born. It’s really important that I’ve found people that understand my world of sound but also naturally fit into it with their sound/mentality and approach. It just allows for the most interesting music to be made without feeling forced.
You had a dope list of collaborators so far in your career. Which was your favourite collaboration to work on and why?
I don’t have a favourite as they’re all been special in super different ways but I’d probably say the most important collaboration for me was working with LEXXX, who mixed ULTRAMARINE and GLOW. as he’s been a mentor figure to me and really allowed the music to be the best it can be on a technical and facilitative level.
Lastly, what are five tracks that you have on repeat right now?
- Omar Apollo – Evergreen
- Swavay – GRAMMYS
- Sudan Archives – Ciara
- Greg Henderson – Dreamin’
- Airbourne Aquarium – Currency
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