California Gold: A Conversation with Wes Period

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A few months back I went to a packed Vic Mensa show on Sunset expecting to stand through the usual mediocre openers. But to my surprise I was pleasantly impressed at the performance of a California native with iconic stage presence. Fast forward to a Sunday afternoon in October, and I sat down with rapper Wes Period to discuss Los Angeles life and the mind frame of a young creative in today's crazy world. Here's the transcript of our fire escape talk, and a video to accompany.

Describe yourself in one Tweet. Hashtags welcome.

#latebloomer, #photosynthesis, #rapgamedonnieosbourne

Seeing as that we’re doing this interview in downtown and I first met you at your studio in South Central, how well do you know Los Angeles/how long have you lived here?

I grew up in north orange county (like 30 minutes away). So as soon as I  got out of the house, I started coming here as much as I possibly could. It took a second but yeah now I know the city pretty well.

Do you think LA is a city conducive to creativity or more just about business and image?

I just think it depends on what circle you're in. Its super super extreme in both directions because you're in the epicenter of entertainment, so because of that I think you're going to get the full spectrum of people. I think half the people (or maybe less) here are super genuine and trying to accomplish something dope from a good place, and I think everyone else is on some bullshit. 

But moving past just talking about the city, why music? 

I really don't know why, I've just always loved music. My parents are big music fans, but they don't make it, theres no one in my family that does really. It just something that I attached myself to early.

Have you always been into rap music (for example listening to it at home) or was it something you more grew to love? 

My parents are older so they kind of missed the rap generation (which is rare for a lot of people my age), they were still on like Frankie Beverly and all this soul stuff.  But yeah, I have two older brothers and my middle brother Jerome was super into East coast rap. We were listening to like Bad Boy, Diddy, Mase, The Lot; so that's where a lot of my hip hop taste came from.

What’s your ideal song writing habitat?

Its one of two,  either a lit ass studio with 50 people going crazy or I gotta be by myself really zoned in.

 Is there a general concept behind your latest project Photosynthesis or is it more just an EP of songs ?

Its a little bit of both. From a sound perspective its really just a collection of songs that aren't going to make the full length project (Late Bloomer), but conceptually I think the through line in it is about growth.

I've been in this game a long time, growing up really close to LA and in LA. So now I feel like this is sort of my second approach; I've had a lot of time to grow and develop a story over time.

 Would you say there’s more room for artistic expression and creativity for today's youth (with the availability of the internet)?

 I think over all there is more room to do whatever you want to do. But I think the thing that the internet also does is give everyone access to compare themselves all the time. And really that does the opposite, it stunts creative growth.

In your opinion is putting out quality music or “star quality” more important for an artist?

I think that the star quality probably is important because in this day and age branding is so key for music out there. And its not that I'm the type of person that puts branding over the music, its just that everyone has a good song because of technology and computers (in production) so you have to have something to separate yourself. Even though the internet is such a good way to get your music out, overall you can't substitute physically reaching out and making someone feel something. I think that's still the most important piece. 

Since this is also a blog about personal style and fashion, how would you describe your personal sense of style and would you say it has an effect on how you feel?

Its so crazy! Its really just how I feel when I wake up in the morning. I'm inspired by everything; the freshest person I've seen today was this bum chick. She had on this long extendo tee with these dope striped pants, and this sick ass corduroy jacket! I'm super about the eclectic look and kind of throwing things together. I like to mix match patterns a lot.

Honestly a lot of my biggest inspiration is transients. Its straight up Kurt, Andre 3000, just people who aren't really 'fashion' but more so style.

Finally, what should your fans look out for next? Any exciting news?

We got a couple things coming. I have this song called Photo Booth that I've been playing for probably like a year and I'm finally putting that out. And I'm actually doing a video with PHHHOTO  so that should be really dope. 

Then more content for Photosynthesis, and I might sneak in another project before Late Bloomer. But honestly just gonna be tons of video, music, all kinds of stuff!

Be sure to follow Wes to keep up with the #newnew

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