*As published on my blog thatswhatvsaid.com, November 2010*
After drinking a Rockstar energy drink, he took that mic and that stage as an opportunity to introduce Virginia Beach to GOLDENWEST.
“I went to the concession stand and bought a Rockstar, it was my first energy drink in a month because I don’t have the money to buy a $3 drink on the road, and whenever I drink energy drinks I get super pumped,” Wes, 19, said.
Wes said he doesn’t usually get nervous before performing, but he did get a little nervous Saturday night (Nov. 13) since it was his second live performance ever, and his first time performing without his band.
“I’m used to playing with bands. Playing with just a backtrack is pretty weird…but as soon as you hit the first line, if you’re nervous you shouldn’t be up there anymore… so once I got started I was good,” he said.
“I don’t know if it was the energy drink or if I was just antsy but right before I went on I was walking around like a madman, I just couldn’t sit down it was weird,” he added while laughing.
His antsyness definitely drew in attention from the audience, but his words won them over. In his last song called “Through My Eyes,” which he rapped without music, he opened with “Too white for the black kids, too black for the white kids.”
“Growing up was really confusing for me. For a long time I felt I had to niche myself up, like I have to be black or I have to be white…as I got older that just became more of a crock of shit. It stopped making sense and I just started really becoming me,” he said. “People sometimes wonder what race I am or whatever, and they’ll ask ‘What are you?’ I just tell them I’m human.”
“A lot of the stuff that I’ve been working on lately has been dealing with that topic,” he said. “There are a lot of stereotypes that all races in general feed in to. I’ve been told by black people, ‘Oh you’re not black’ and it’s weird because I wonder why am I not black, because I’m not what you see in a typical rap video? What’s your idea of what a black person should be?”
“I really had a hard time finding my place until I found music and I started getting on stage… that’s a book, I’m coming out with a book soon,” he said and laughed.
Wes is from Anaheim, Calif. and has been rapping since he was 12.
His friend in high school, Alex, would play guitar and he discovered he could rap over it. “That’s when I discovered I love rapping over full instrumental music. I really think that’s where rap’s going. I think everyone is trying to have this indie sound with hip hop. I think that’s what’s cool about GOLDENWEST and what we’re doing… we are that,” he said.
Wes was in a pop-punk band four years ago before GOLDENWEST in which he would rap over the tracks, something he described as very “avant-garde.”
He met Colin Baylen and Shaun Profeta from indie band A Cursive Memory, who produce his beats, when he opened up for them during a show in his hometown.
After the show Wes got an email from Colin. He liked Wes’ style and explained that he makes beats and wanted to send Wes some to see what he thought about them. “I was like ‘Yeah-the-fuck-right, you don’t make beats,’ I was just blown away by it right away. I hit him right back and was like let’s do something, and the rest is history as they say.”
The beats Colin sent Wes were actually for the song “Always A Party,” which can be heard on YouTube or their site, http://www.goldenwestmusic.com. Wes said they are planning on releasing an EP in the next month and want to get in another tour when The Secret Handshake Tour ends in December.
“I want to be the biggest band in the history of music… honestly. My third grade teacher use to always say ‘If you aim for the gutter, you’ll hit it every time,’ so for me I always listened and admired the best… Tupac, Biggie, Kanye West, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Nirvana,” he said. “Yeah…I’m trying to take over the world,” he said then laughed.