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, André 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.