Psychedelic party rockers Gooon (formerly known as Emerald Rats, named after a Kim Fowley lyric) is a solo project founded by singer/keyboardist Mike Turi, who was soon joined by his fellow Wild Wild Wets player Marco Piro (as well as a guitarist who has since quit the project). Like minimalist dispatches from the collective unconscious, the music explores a darker, more ambient and beat-oriented sound than Turi has pursued in the past with Wild Wild Wets, Trap Gold, and the Old In Out.
“The sound differs from the previous bands I’ve worked with because it’s more beats driven. The simplicity of the loops gives it, for me, a sort of hip-hop/dance music vibe underneath, but then I add a synth cherry on a mud sundae over it, add on the lyrics, then tweak the hell out of it and send it to Keith Sweaty [Keith Milgaten of Jamuel Saxon] to master.”
Going solo with little more than a drum kit and a MicroKorg synthesizer has brought Turi a new degree of freedom. “It’s been exciting to be able to create on my own after years of always depending on guitar players and more to work with in order to make music,” says Turi. “Maybe one day I’ll learn the guitar, but with these small hands, arthritic from the [inflammatory joint disease] Ankylosing Spondylitis, who knows?”
Turi says he does prefer to create with others, though. “Even when I was in school for painting, I always did my best work with a good group of like-minded and similarly determined artists. Emerald Rats, however, offers other benefits as a songwriter, and the independence is extremely refreshing.”
The Emerald Rats Everyday Obstacle EP, released in early 2013, includes a cover of the Kinks’ “I Need You.” “It’s a lot of texturing for these [songs]. I just get high and weird and make simple chord changes and create a structure, then add what I feel necessary to the songs identity. Usually starting with the drums, then the rest is mostly all synth, though I did mess with a bass guitar a bit on some of these tracks.”
In late 2015, Turi announced that the band was changing its name to Gooon.