GOON DES GARCONS* is here to become one of the biggest artists in the world, and he’s not stopping until he gets there. Hailing from a small town in Arkansas but now residing in sunny Los Angeles, the rising star creates his own version of hip-hop that he calls “peaceful chaos,” laced with his own unique flair and style.
Pushing his own DIY spirit with an emphasis on doing things independently, GOON creates vibes for any type of situation, whether you’re driving down the PCH, turning up at the club, or even watching the sunset. His lyrics are directly inspired by real-life experiences, reminding the masses that while you may go through tough times, it’s all about the beauty in that journey.
Fast forward to 2021, GOON inks his new deal with Def Jam and releases his new album titled Sheesh! This follows his previous 3-song bundle tapping Fredo Bang, Reese Laflare, and Landtrip Chip, and standout single “BULLY” featuring Na-Kel Smith. In any case, the recording artist keeps his foot on the gas pedal when it comes to creating music for listeners to feel something.
Flaunt caught up with GOON via Zoom who was posted in Hollywood doing some merch inventory. Read below as we discuss how he got his name, what it means to be signed, how he got into the industry, biggest influences, his new 3-song bundle, the inspiration behind “Bully,” his fashion sense, his own merch and label Maniac Sounds, goals, and more!
Are you named after the fashion brand?
Yeah kind of. I’ve been rapping for a long ass time. I started this name 2012, because I was wearing a lot of Comme des Garçons. People always called me Goon” growing up, that was my nickname. My homie said “You should do this high-fashion alter ego called Goon des Garcon.” We thought it was funny as fuck. We were high as fuck. I changed my name to that on Twitter, it started going up. I released a project under that name on some alter ego shit. [laughs] It stuck, and now it’s been fucking here since. I’m a signed artist.
How does it feel to be signed, coming from a small town in Arkansas?
It’s big. I put more pressure and crazy energy on myself than it is, but it’s sick. On a surface level, it’s sick. I checked one milestone off. At the end of the day, I was working all those years to get the job and now I got the job. I celebrated a little bit, but it’s mostly now I have to actually start work. [laughs]
Do you feel like it came quickly? You’ve been making music since 2010.
I started taking it seriously 2012 to 2013. Started leaving home to go to SXSW, go to A3C, go to anything that was around me in Arkansas. Then I set my sights a little bigger, and I started going to New York. I went to ASCAP, I met Derrick Aroh at RCA. I kept setting my sights bigger after that. I started in New York, then I came to LA. I met Anthony Kilhoffer and was moving around with the G.O.O.D. Music camp. From there, we got a placement on Kid Cudi’s Passion, Pain, & Demon Slayin’. A beat, it was crazy. Off that, me and my main producer Idle Kid, my brother from Arkansas, we took that and got us an apartment together in LA. We never left since then. This is legit my fifth year in LA now, and I didn’t make my record deal happen until my third year here.
Biggest influences coming up?
Definitely Kanye. Definitely Kid Cudi, Pharrell. If I do people more close to now, love Key. I always loved FatManKey. FKA Twigs, that’s about it for off the top of my dome.
3-song bundle with Fredo Bang, Landstrip Crip, and Reese Laflare out now. What’re you most excited for?
All of them snapped for me. Fredo snapped for me, Landstrip snapped for me, Reese snapped for me. I’m excited. I know for people that have been listening to me, for people who haven’t been listening to me, this is my first time working with more bigger artists. It’s an emergence point that people start to see. When you start to work with other artists in the industry, it’s almost an entry point of “oh okay, this guy is serious.”
I’m most excited for people to see me now. I’m trying to see how that goes, I’m excited. I’ve had this dream about “Ride” for 3 months. I literally have the most vivid ass dream that Cardi B tweeted out “Ride.” One of those dreams that I woke up thinking it was real. I went to go check my phone, fuck it was a dream. Usually my vivid dreams are on some deja vu shit, so we’ll see what happens. [laughs]
That’s crazy, what if it happens?
I’ma fucking lose my shit. You saw my face before, I’m going to be screaming and crying. Losing it. I’m most excited for people to hear my music though, it’s vibes.
How would you describe your music, if you could?
It’s a hard one man. I really make whatever the fuck I want to make, whenever I’m in the mood for it. I’m a real mood guy. If it’s a mood, especially a mood people haven’t felt or I haven’t felt before really, those are the ones I’m usually more apt to. I’m not going to be one of those people who say they’re not a rapper because I do rap, but it’s not all I do. I say modern hip-hop or post-modern hip-hop, I don’t know. I be on my go with the flow shit. I’m a real Zeitgeist broker, no kizzy!
Bring us back to that recorded “Bully” with Na-Kel Smith, what inspired this record?
I recorded “Bully” in the middle of quarantine last year. It was after the point of extreme sulking and being low-key pissed off because I was supposed to be on tour. It was my first tour, all this shit. “Bully” was me trying to get back in my head of what was my purpose. A lot of shit was weighing down, I said “awww, all these people are winning. What the fuck? What am I doing wrong?”
“Bully” was a night where I had a breakthrough in my own mind. I realized “There’s nothing wrong with what you’re doing. I am me, I’m going to show these motherfuckers you don’t have to be one type of artist to make it out here.” I named it “Bully” because in my head, especially when it comes to making videos and music, it’s this story. It was almost like when you come on, you’re this high school freshman. It’s almost like those animes where you have to fight your way up to beat up the seniors, it felt like that. I’m coming into this industry, this is how I want to be perceived. I want people to know this about me: I’ma do me regardless, that’s my vibe. I can only be me, to be a 1000%.
How did you link with Na-kel on the record?
That was mostly management. My manager grew up with his manager. They asked me to name a list of people I wanted to work with, because I’m a real fucking particular type of guy. They’re asking me, trying to figure it out. I said Na-K, and Ryan said “Oh shit! I actually know Na-k, that’s nothing.” We made that link, we met and it was all cool. He sent his verse in, I did a little mix on it and this is it. It hit the vibe perfectly. He killed it.
How was shooting the music video?
It was fire. We did a music video in L.A. We had to do this thing for Fader at first. We got tacos and drinks, we did this piece for Fader. After that, we went and shot in LA. Everybody was tipsy as fuck, it was a fun ass shoot. It was definitely a fire shoot. We’re running around a mansion, drunk as fuck.
How would you describe your fashion sense?
Real comfy styling guy. I’m a comfy guy. I always think of this interview Kid Cudi had a long time ago, he said “Yeah, I wear whatever the fuck I want and people really fuck with that.” That’s how I feel about that mostly. I don’t feel like the super fashion guy, even though recently I’ve been hearing a lot of people say that about me.Thats been surprising me, but I really wear whatever I want to wear. Overall to me, comfortability is key. It also plays into the whole thing. A lot of people dress in high brands, but they don’t look comfortable so it negates it. I like to dress cozy and if I like it, I like it. If I don’t, I’m not wearing it.
What do you think about Cud’s dress on TV?
I wasn’t fucked up about it because I knew where it was coming from. But Virgil with the spaghetti straps… the spaghetti strap wasn’t it bruh. Should have gone with the sleeves like Curt.
Talk about the merch you’re packaging yourself, what’s your brand?
I have two brands. I do GOON DES GARCON* merch which is my artist merch, then I do Maniac Sounds which is my label/collective merch. I have this label/collective called Maniac Sounds, it’s me, my dogs, and people we fuck with. Last year during the interim, during Covid when the labels closed and everything was shifty, I started releasing everything through my Maniac Sounds page. My little loosies. I used my Manic Sounds page to put out songs that at this point in my career wouldn’t be the best or good, but stuff I know my fans would still appreciate. So I used Maniac Sound for that, then GDG merch for GOON DES GARCONS*.
Any goals for yourself at this point in your career?
I set a couple of goals this year. I want to do a collab with a big streetwear brand, either GOON DES GARCONS* or Maniacs Sounds collab with a big streetwear brand. I want to do a B/C-list acting gig, like throw me on Euphoria. I got a little short film dropping in a week or two, that I’m hoping will get me in a room for some acting shit. I want to get a big one this year. Not necessarily being #1 record, but I want to get something that pushes cultures. Shifts the culture a tad bit. I know everyone is bored, I know me personally I’m bored.
I also know the fucking law of the universe. I know you heard that quote that every 10 years, something happens that shifts everything or it realigns. You go back and forth between we’re on some silly shit, then we go back to people wanting to hear substance. Right before Drake, it was Atlanta dance. Then Drake came out, okay we’re on serious shit again. After Drake, we went back to dance. We pivot in between those two a lot.
Beginning of 2010, it was Odd Future. They came in and really fucked up the way everybody looked at everything. I’m thinking with me and Idle, me and my team, what my friends are doing are akin to that. I want to see a shift where people are forced to think of life, this whole music shit, this whole world in general a little different than how they look at it already, I can tell people are bored, I’m bored. Also we’ve been on this thingy for a year. People want to feel something now. Everything is cool right now. We get music every fucking Thursday, Friday, but people want to feel something. Something you’re not going to feel one time and go on. We need something people can focus on.