Goon’s Kenny Becker Talks New EP, Batman, and A Gross Song

Meredith Schneider

After Kenny Becker was diagnosed with a medical condition that can occasionally interrupt his senses of smell and hearing, he started to write music so he had a better sense of self and life while the other symptoms temporarily abandoned him. Because of this, he does have a very unique – and insanely captivating – sound, and it’s entrancing as hell. His project is called Goon, and it has blossomed into a collective that has garnered considerable attention on BBC.

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After a couple of (slight) reincarnations, the band now consists of a solid lineup that includes Kenny, Christian Koons on drums, guitaristDrew Eccleston, and Biolan Caleb Wicker on bass. They just released their EP Dusk of Punk on September 16th, so we decided it was time to ask them some questions.

What was the first album or song you remember listening to, and who introduced it to you?

I have a really vivid memory of sitting on the floor in the living room and listening to Nevermind on headphones as a child. My mom had bought it on CD. I remember being so blown away by the emotions it made me feel. Looking back, I’m really glad I was young enough to have no concept of what a rock band really was. Thinking about individual instruments and the people behind the instruments was still very foreign to me. I just remember being overwhelmed by the power of the sounds. 

Was there a moment when you realized music was your calling?

I’ve always loved music but at the end of my first semester at Biola I realized that music and painting were the two things that truly made me happy. So I switched majors from Bible to art and started taking music way more seriously. 

What is the origin story of Goon

We all met in college at Biola. I loosely formed the band after graduation in 2013 and over the course of the next two years it fell apart twice. Around April 2015 we re-formed as a three piece: Christian Koons on drums, Drew Eccleston on bass and me. After doing that for another year we added fellow Biolan Caleb Wicker on bass, and had Drew switch to guitar. Our sound fattened up considerably and it’s felt like we’ve hit a real stride ever since. 

How would you describe your sound, specifically? 

I actually really like to remain equally perplexed about our sound as anyone else. Once I feel like I’ve got it nailed down I’ll feel pigeonholed to my own description. Not to say that describing yourself is bad. I think we sound like the feeling you’d get if you lived on Jupiter and missed all your friends and family back home on Earth. 

Your Dusk of Punk release was well received. What did it feel like to finally get that out to the world?

It feels incredible! It took a dang while and it’s very exciting to have it out in the world now. We are becoming increasingly excited for what’s next! 

Do you have any favorites off the EP?

Definitely. I think Scab is maybe our best song. I think that’s true for a couple reasons. One is that it’s the most recently recorded out of all of them. All the other tracks were haphazard learning processes. Scab was done when I finally had a confident sense that I knew what I was doing. Also the instrumentation is subtly complex and the songwriting wasn’t really fussed over. It all felt very natural. 

In our politically correct society, have you gotten any backlash for the title of “Gay Rage” at all?

So far no backlash. I was attempting to suspend any sense of a politically correct filter when I wrote the lyrics to that one. But even still, I don’t think it goes into any obscene or offensive territory. The name “Gay Rage” comes from this idea I had about the entire LGBTQ population of Los Angeles going on some crazed comic book style rampage against all the close-minded straight people. The whole image to me was interesting mainly because it was a complete over-simplification of both sides, which is sadly how too many people view the issue of sexuality.

How do you imagine people might listen to the EP, specifically? 

I would love for people to listen to the EP very loudly on good headphones. I think it works in lots of environments but headphones have always been my favorite. Maybe with a red light on nearby. 

“Scab” is kind of a gross title, admittedly, but a GREAT song. Wha inspired it, specifically?

Well thank you. I was dwelling on some heavy feelings of regret regarding a girl. I’ve struggled with that a lot. The part of my brain that looks back on the past and envisions every missed opportunity or risk untaken as unfolding into the perfect version of the present if I had only chosen differently often goes into absurd hyperdrive. I get lost in nostalgia and wondering “what if?” and I’m often sick of it. But in that moment, I indulged in the emotions and allowed myself to feel that sadness in it’s fullness and then I wrote “Scab”. I’m happy with how transparent the lyrics came out. 

What is the best thing you have ever read?

I’d have to say the Van Gogh biography by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith. It’s ridiculously detailed. Vincent himself thought that the best paintings were ones where the artist was very apparent, and you could thereby learn something deeply true of the artist by considering the painting. He also felt that the more you knew about the artist the better! His life story is so beautifully heartbreaking. I know that’s not a new thing to say, but seriously if you have never dove into his life story, I would highly recommend it. He was an amazing person. 

Favorite superhero and why?

I have always felt a strong spiritual connection to Batman, I was obsessed with him in high school. I especially love how his origin story could have so easily led to him becoming a villain, yet it instead led to perhaps the most virtuous and morally rigid character ever. The obvious thing about him not actually having any superpowers other than his intellect, money and strong principals is so great too. He’s perfect. 

What’s up next for you guys? Can we expect a US tour? (wink wink nudge nudge)

Yes! We are planning a West Coast tour for January and perhaps another one around SXSW time! Pure elation. 

You have been making WAVES on BBC Radio. How does that feel?

Honestly it’s a little hard to believe. The full weight of it hasn’t sunk in yet. Such a privilege and honor. 

What’s up next? Anything you’d like to add?

We’re currently hard at work on a full length album that is shaping up to be the actual best thing we have ever done. Excitement abounds! The future is bright! 

Dusk of Punk is available now.

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