Goonroom was founded by childhood pals Day Cart & Wig-Wam on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn around 2013. Ever since they’ve harnessed their appetite for late nights and experiences as music journalists in the electronic music space to present some of the world’s best selectors on a variety of dance floors around New York. Their sonic focus is on jacking, eclectic pumping tunes that will make you smile and move.
How did you two meet? What made you want to start DJing with one another?
We met as kids growing up in New Jersey. David had these frosted tips on his hair and was one of the first kids to have a girlfriend. Harrison was always really tall and good at sports. Ironically years before ever DJing together we were in some sort of random jazz/rock band and played The Beatles’ “When I’m 64” for Yogi Berra at his private birthday party at around age 13 — the start to our musical journey of sorts. Harrison was on drums and David the sax and yes there are photos.
Through the years we had various experiences together as friends do and were quite close, but later separated for college. It wasn’t until we both moved to New York that we realized we had a strong passion for dance music and connected again and started sharing tracks that we were into. Around that time we started going to festivals together every summer and both took jobs writing about dance music in NYC which helped thrust us into the scene. Harrison then took David to Output (RIP) for the first time, and then his first warehouse party, Reconstrvct at the old 1896 space, and quickly we were collectively seduced by the rave. We both have been Djing for about a decade, but we started playing together around 2013 when we had our first Goonroom party in our friend’s backyard and as they say, the rest is history.
Wig-Wam, describe Day Cart’s DJing style, Day Cart do the same for Wig-Wam.
Day Cart: David is like an encyclopedia of music, he literally can play anything! This is my favorite part of playing with him, he pushes me and keeps me on my toes. He’s very eclectic with the music he plays, one moment can be house, the next disco, the next Italo and also world with engaging sounds and rhythms. His mixing style is to take listeners on a journey and it’s always an engaging ride.
Wig-Wam: We like to joke around and say that DJing almost exclusively b2b together is like a marriage and after doing that for a little shy of six years I’ve learned an incredible amount from Harrison behind the decks (and other places too haha). Harrison’s a very technical, tight, and patient mixer who favors long blends and high energy records that are often stripped and jacking. I can be quite ADD behind the decks and throw in curveballs, which is fun sometimes, but playing with him has taught me the value of focus and consideration behind every mix. If I mix in a track and he gives me a little nudge of approval I know that I’m doing something right!
A question for each of you, who were your most influential artists growing up?
Day Cart: I really got into music through my dad. I have two brothers, one of which is my twin, so that’s three of us boys. My dad played guitar and he put instruments in our hands at an early age. I took up the drums, my twin brother played bass and my younger brother played the piano when he was old enough to get involved. We had a little band and would have wild jam sessions in our basement. Later when I was discovering music on my own I was into a lot of hip-hop, specifically from the 1990s NYC like Black Moon and The Fab 5 with OGC, Smif-N-Wessun, Heltah Skeltah and stuff like that. Later I stumbled on music from the UK, specifically Skream and a lot of garage and dubstep that my brother and I obsessed over. House and techno came later. I’m a history buff so when I found out about the roots of Chicago and Detroit I was hooked and I remember digging through artists like Frankie Knuckles and learning about Larry Levan and Ron Hardy and DJ Pierre and Underground Resistance and I was instantly sucked into that world. That’s when David and I connected and started digging through the classic sounds together.
Wig-Wam: I was also lucky enough to grow up in a musical household and also always played instruments. My dad would play us this local NJ radio DJ Felix Hernandez who had an amazing weekend classic R&B/soul show called the Rhythm Revue that I think implanted a love for deep soulful sounds in my brain that would emerge back in my life years later as I started DJing. He also started taking me to see legendary classic rock band as a young kid–including the Rolling Stones at Giant’s Stadium in 2002 which was one of the first time I ever witness people losing their minds to live music and had a huge impact on me. My mom also schooled me—and still does—on everything from Traffic to Stephanie Mills and has incredible taste. Of course, I also was obsessed with hip-hop smoking blunts as a suburban teenager to The Fugees, Wu-Tang, Eminem, you know. My entry into electronic was interestingly through sort-of live electronica (cringe term but yeah, jamtronica) and slowly made my way over to the rave after becoming legitimately obsessed with Bassnectar. I don’t listen to his music really anymore but the incredibly intense bass weight at his shows blew open my mind to the collective euphoria humans can feel when listening to electronic music (I sound like such a hippie right now please forgive me). After a brief and confusing detour into trance, I became the house head I am today. Thanks, Moodymann, please release the damn album already.
What’s next for Goonroom? Does 2019 have any special surprises in store?
For us it’s always been about consistency, so as far as the party you can expect more and more nights with inspiring artists who are experts at their craft and play music that feels different and will make you smile and move (we have officially stolen that line from Resident Advisor and don’t care who knows it!). It’s such an exciting, albeit difficulty crowded, time to be throwing parties in this city so we want to continue to push ourselves to contribute to that in any way we can. As DJs, it’s been great to play in new spaces with new people and work with different teams who love to make people dance. To be honest we still can’t believe we get to DJ for people and throw as many parties as we do so it still feels like a dream to be part of the New York scene. We’ve met so many incredible people and are thankful for that. It’s also looking like we’ll be returning to our beloved Electric Forest this summer for some more sets in the woods. Nothing on the books yet but we’re working to play some sets across the pond with friends in the EU and gear up towards starting a label in the next year. We also need to make t-shirts. Wish us luck.
You host a lot of artists making their NYC or US debuts at your parties, do you make a conscious effort to bring this type of talent in or is that more just a coincidence?
With as many parties every day in this city we’ve always pushed ourselves to focus on doing something a little different, so no, it’s definitely not a coincidence. As music journalists at heart, what we enjoy most is looking beneath the surface to find artists who haven’t yet been exposed to New York or the US for whatever reason that may be—and there are many. Sometimes we truly can’t believe certain people have never played here so that’s when we get to work to make it happen. It’s difficult but extremely fulfilling when it all comes together. We both find something special about having the chance to not just help a DJ from another country play a set and get paid, but also see our city, eat our food (shoutout Guadalupe Inn for always taking care of us), dance in our clubs, and experience our culture, if only for a weekend. Bringing artists like Cinthie, DJ Seinfeld, Sweely, Damiano von Erckert, Hugo LX, Tee Mango, Remute, Hidden Spheres, Seb Wildblood, and Bell Towers all for their first performance in NYC is wild when looking back on it. In the end, the best part of this is making new friends and keeping in touch with people as the years go on. Huge shoutout to everyone who has gotten down with the goon, we love you.