The Mill — Friday, May 6 at 10:30 p.m.
By Genevieve Heinrich
Firmly planted in a ’90s aesthetic, Los Angeles-based Wes James, performing as Le Youth, grows from those roots into his own new and modern dance music. He brings a personal love of fashion with him to Iowa City’s inaugural Flyover Fashion Festival (Little Village sponsors the music element of the fest). James spoke with Little Village about his musical past and what excites him about the future.
What took you from Ohio to Los Angeles? How do you feel your formative years in Ohio affect your musical aesthetic?
Growing up my parents didn’t have good taste in music. I grew up listening to pop radio. I think I was really sheltered musically. As I got older I started trying to fill that void, going to cool shows, listening to independent music, collecting records etc. eventually I started making electronic music. From there I formed a band around the music I was making on my own. I toured the world and eventually ended up in Los Angeles.
What is your musical “origin story” — when did you receive the wake up call that this is what your life should be?
I never received a wake up call. I’m still confused how I got here really. I guess I just followed my heart and tried not to let things get in my way. Music isn’t my life story though, it’s just a chapter.
I started playing drums at a young age and was in a couple bands growing up. When I graduated, I left Ohio and moved to Seattle, WA where I got into electronic music. That eventually evolved into what I’m doing now.
Have you performed in conjunction with a fashion festival before? What role does fashion play in your own life?
I’ve played a few fashion festivals in Europe. Fashion plays a big role in my life, it’s how I express myself and it heavily influences the aesthetic of Le Youth. So I’m very grateful for the opportunity.
What are your dreams, musically? What are your goals for your career trajectory, and what do you see as the milestones along the way?
I have so many dreams; they’re all typical and cheesy. I would love to be doing this for the next decade. I would love to continue touring the world and making people smile with my music.
Who are you most excited about in electronic music — what up-and-comers are on your radar?
The artists who are going to impact the world with their music, and don’t even know it yet, really excite me. Some of my friends are doing amazing things right now. Some names off the top of my head: Latroit, Hotel Garuda, Goldroom.