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INTERVIEW: Perth artist Goon speaks on his latest mixtape & his musical rebirth through hip-hop

We spoke with Perth’s Goon about his new mixtape ‘Langley Street Demos’, his journey into the world of making music, and the reason he recently changed his name.

Photo by @brendancphoto

Perth songwriter and rapper Goon has released ‘Langley Street Demos’, a fresh mixtape consisting of 10 hip-hop and R&B tracks. The new body of work was intentionally shared to streaming platforms with spontaneity, with Goon saying it was a purposeful “lowkey drop”. “The point of this one was to just surprise drop it…There wasn’t too much pressure on the release, which was really good. I’ve been getting great reception and feedback on it so far.”

‘Langley Street Demos’ is sonically dynamic and shows off Goon’s raw vocals and uniquely talented song writing ability. “I just recently changed my name from Yung Goon to Goon and I just wanted to change the way I approach things with this new brand,” he says.

“The main thing I want to focus on with this ‘Goon’ venture is focusing on dropping whatever I want to make, and it doesn’t matter what genre it is or anything like that. With ‘Langley Street Demos’, I just wanted to put that music out there and to test the waters to see what people respond to more. From now on I’m going to just release whatever music I want. Most of the songs on my new mixtape aren’t songs that I think are going to do very well commercially but they’re still songs I’m really proud of and I wanted them to be out there in the world.”

“With my old projects I was a bit too much of a perfectionist and I’d spend too long getting things exactly right and it would get to the point where I would sit on a song for so long that I wouldn’t even like it anymore by the time it was ready to release. I wanted to release these songs [on ‘Langley Street Demos’] while I still enjoyed them and before I ruined them by overthinking.”

Photo by Joel Baker

Goon says the majority of the content of his music is based off of personal experiences. “I’m an artist so I definitely dramatize stuff and I’m not shy of an exaggeration or two, but in general I try to be pretty honest in my music. I’m not a very creative songwriter like a lot of other people, a great example being Wesley Black. When he writes music, its full of imagery and metaphors and I love music like that, but I just can’t write that kind of music. I write music very honestly and bluntly.”

Goon grew up in a fairly musical family which allowe him to naturally develop a fondness for music. “My dad was always singing and playing guitar and my uncle lived in London playing gigs. I was just always around music and in primary school and high school, I was always in bands.”

Photo by @brendancphoto

Following high school, Goon continued to engage in music, performing at live gigs at pubs and at his band’s shows. “At the time, I was listening to a lot of hip-hop, but I wasn’t really making it or pursuing it at all. I just really lost interest in other forms of music, and I found hip-hop to be very striking where you don’t have to dress anything up and you could just say what you felt in rap. It really appealed to me.”

“I started writing with my homie EL-J doing the odd hook or verse with him and I just got more and more into it. I found [hip-hop music] to be where I felt most comfortable, so I ended up pursuing that. I already had the Goonie Records label, so I started targeting that towards more hip-hop and electronic kind of music and moved away from the instrumental music. I’ve been really enjoying and finding it a lot more comfortable to be in this music scene.”

Photo by Joel Baker

Goonie Records was formed to act as a collective of musical creatives, but over the past year it has become more established as a record label, distributing music, and pushing the promotion of these releases. “Originally Goonie Records was just a name that I made up for myself and my friends and our bands. It was just a name to make us look more official to put on posters and stuff,” Goon says.

“When I got into hip-hop, I realised in Perth there’s not really that many independent labels doing anything so I thought maybe I could actually do something with it. Around the same time, I met Lavelle who was about 14 years old, and the dude is just a prodigy. I really gelled with him and it all kind of went from there. It’s not really a path I thought I would go down, but I love it.”

Photo by Angel Archive

The studio where Goon used to record music with his band was the same place he realised his strong passion for hip-hop music. “EL-J came around [to the studio] and we recorded an EP for him, and I got up and sang the ad-libs just to have a different voice on some of the tracks. I got a bit brave and wrote some bars and we’d just smoke weed and spit freestyles. It was sick, and around that stage I got more and more into it.”

“I was making pretty average hip-hop music, it wasn’t good music back then, but I started to take it a bit more seriously. It’s only been in the past few years that I’ve made music I’m actually proud of enough to hear it on radio or do well commercially. But there was definitely a period where I was making pretty questionable music.”

As his artistry became more established in the hip-hop sound, Goon realised he would need a more rap-themed stage name to release music under. “I’ve always been really bad at coming up with names. I’d say I’m quite creative – I like making movies and taking photos, but I’m a very literal songwriter where what I say is how it is so coming up with names is a bit of a struggle for me. I was obsessed with ‘The Goonies’ when I was younger and that’s what got me into film making and those other creative things I enjoy. I was really fascinated by it and liked what the movie represented, so I took that and built the label around that. I rapped under Mikey Walsh for a while which was the kid in ‘The Goonies’. I then changed my name to Yung Goon which sounded more like a generic rap name because I wanted to distance myself from the acoustic music.”

Photo by Angel Archive

As time has passed, Goon began to feel detached from the name ‘Yung Goon’ as his visions for the future slightly adjusted. “I decided Yung Goon was a little too generic and that I wasn’t really young anymore because I’ve just turned 27. I like Goon, it’s just a simple name and looks good in writing so now I’ve gone with that.”

After releasing the incredible body of musical work that ‘Langley Street Demos’ is, we were eager to uncover what is next on Goon’s agenda. “‘Langley Street Demos’ was the first thing I wanted to drop with the name changeover. Now that mixtape is out, I have a bunch of singles and other works coming out. I have an EP in the works with Dylan Guy called Atlantis which I’m really looking forward to, it’s something we’ve worked really hard on and is probably the best thing I’ve ever made I think so I’m pretty keen to drop that. That will hopefully come out late this year or early next year, but I’ve got some singles for in between and then some collaborative stuff as well with the Goonie Records lads and with the 6K crew.”

The heartfelt, honest and dynamically unique ‘Langley Street Demos’ has left us mesmerised and buzzing to hear what else Goon has in store for the Australian music scene.

Words by @livdaangel

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