The Goon Sax at Rising in Melbourne: “It’s easy to get excited about something sounding new and not necessarily better”

Backstage at Naam/Melbourne’s new winter festival, the Brisbane band talk their 2021 album ‘Mirror 2’ and their upcoming tour dates with Pavement, Interpol, Spoon and Snail Mail

The Goon Sax aren’t letting up this year. Having signed to Matador Records in 2020 and released third album ‘Mirror II’ in 2021, the Brisbane trio are gearing up for scores of tour dates across the US and Europe supporting indie titans – Pavement among them – and playing headline shows in between.

Before all that, though, The Goon Sax sat down with NME backstage at Naarm/Melbourne venue Max Watts, where they were performing as part of the city’s new winter festival Rising. Besides showcasing ‘Mirror II’, the band also play older cuts, including ‘Boyfriends’ and ‘Sweaty Hands’ from 2016 debut album ‘Up To Anything’, to fans’ delight.

Jamming on old songs years later, The Goon Sax can feel when they have the “potential” or even want to evolve, said vocalist-guitarist Louis Forster. “But then on other songs we were trying to restrain ourselves, to not lose what we were trying to make when we wrote them. because it can be easy to just get excited about something sounding new and not necessarily being better. Hopefully we toe that line.”

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When making ‘Mirror II’, The Goon Sax – and three other roommates – were living in a small sharehouse in Queensland. It was an intense experience: “We couldn’t escape the vibe we created,” vocalist-drummer Riley Jones remembered. “It wasn’t diluted by having time away or having space and doing your own thing.” By cohabiting, the band could share musical ideas, even if they weren’t fully formed, with each other anytime, anywhere. “When you’re living together, you can kind of act on those unintentional moments together,” said Forster.

The Goon Sax live at Max Watts for Rising festival Melbourne
The Goon Sax live at Max Watts for Rising festival in Melbourne. Credit: Izzie Austin

‘Mirror II’ was The Goon Sax’s debut on the revered New York indie label Matador – where they share a roster with Interpol, Spoon, Snail Mail and Pavement, all of whom the trio are supporting on the road this year. Warming the stage for the newly reunited Pavement is a particular honour, said Forster, given how much he was listening to their music when the Goon Sax first formed as teenagers: “At the start, 20 per cent of what we would do at band practice was playing, and the rest of the time we were getting high, feeding [vocalist-bassist James Harrison’s] fish, listening to Pavement and stealing food from his parent’s fridge.”

Watch NME’s full interview with The Goon Sax above, where they also talk about returning to touring by supporting Snail Mail in the United States, becoming a Matador band and their memories of the creation of ‘Mirror II’.

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