Wesley Joseph-Ultramarine

The London-based artist, producer and director Wesley Joseph has announced his debut project Ultramarine which is set to drop in June. There is also a self-directed music video for the title track. “Ultramarine” again finds Wesley expanding his creative world with a distinguished vision, producing the song himself and finishing it in the company of collaborators Lexxx (Jai Paul, Pa Salieu, Celeste) and Mike Bozzi (Kendrick Lamar, Tyler The Creator, Mac Miller).

Discussing “Ultramarine”, Wesley offered the following, “I got a drum machine last year and wrote and recorded ‘Ultramarine’ in my bedroom around the same time. The song had a really dark, romantic, twisted, future funk vibe to it. I couldn’t put my finger on what the feeling was – but it felt eerie and tense, like the soundtrack to a romantic nightmare. When I was working on my project, I created an alter-ego called Fredrick that allowed the real emotions I feel to be humanised and that pushed the limits with the fictional scenarios and worlds I could create for the songs. The lyrics were formed around a nightmare chapter of Fredrick’s life – insomnia-fuelled, out of touch and tweaked-out“.

I filmed the music video as an expansion of that story and blurred those lines between reality and romanticist night terrors, filled with figments of his imagination that represent his fear of and obsession with love, and how dangerous it can be“.

Wesley’s highly anticipated debut project Ultramarine will be released on his own Eeviltwinn imprint this summer. The self-produced record was made throughout last year and features eight brand new songs from Wesley, including collaborations with contemporaries Jorja Smith, Leon Vynehall, Dave Okumu and more.

Wesley Joseph has firmly established himself as an artist to watch in 2021, kicking off this year with the release of highly anticipated single “Thrilla” and garnering praise from Highsnobiety, Consequence of Sound, Clash, Wonderland, The Line of Best Fit and more. The release followed “Ghostin’” – a recent partnership with Najeeb Tarazi, former Pixar technical director, and finds Wesley directing another story-led mini-masterpiece.

Since emerging last year with his self-produced debut single – the skittering, jazz-flecked Imaginary Friends – 24-year-old rapper-singer Wesley Joseph has written, directed and scored his own short film, Pandomony, as well as directing the video for his undulating second single Martyrs.

He delegated the animated visuals for glitchy “Ghostin'” to Pixar’s former technical director Najeeb Tarazi, where the video’s fusion of the hyperreal and the mundane marries purposefully with the intention of his music. He’s also working closely with Jai Paul associate Lexxx, who mixed his appropriately titled single “Thrilla” – a heady fusion of bass-rupturing beats, warm organ and Joseph’s playful, AndrĂ© 3000-esque rapid-fire flow.

When you look back at life, the romanticised memories are… more poignant than the reality“, he told The Face. “But music allows you to relive those moments as over-exaggerated, melodramatic soundbites. And I want to provide those soundbites“.

Born in Birmingham, where he was a member of the OG Horse collective alongside Jorja Smith, Joseph moved to London in 2016 to study film. He also started making beats on his laptop, converting his bedroom into a makeshift studio. That ad-hoc, DIY ethos permeates everything he does, with the lyrics to “Ghostin'” written quickly on the bus home from a session with the song’s producer, electronic pioneer Joy Orbison.

Wesley Joseph, Photo Credit: Rashidi Noah

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