GoonRock’s production work with LMFAO has been heard literally everywhere. From the top of the charts, to ad campaigns for M&M’s, Kia, Budweiser and the NBA, songs like “Party Rock Anthem” and “Sexy and I Know It” have been in constant rotation and made LMFAO a household name.

Although life’s a party for GoonRock now, when we caught up with him he told us about his fifteen year climb to fame, how a kept promise from a friend helped him out, and why he says he had to learn how to be successful. GoonRock also discussed where the inspiration to create his Party Rock style came from, and the reaction he has every time he sees an M&M dancing to his music.

Adam Bernard: A lot of artists try to break into the music world in their teens and twenties. You’re finally getting your chance to shine in your late thirties. What was going on during all the years leading up to this? Were you working the entire time and experiencing rejection? Were you perfecting your craft?

GoonRock: Both. I really got serious in my late teens / early twenties, and I was always trying to make it. I had a lot of projects that could have went big, but didn’t for whatever reason. The business wasn’t right, or the stars weren’t aligned, for whatever reason it didn’t happen, but when you love something you keep doing it whether you’re successful or not. That’s what I did and it just happened to happen later in the game for me.

AB: So you’ve really been bustin ass for 15-20 years trying to break through. Did you have any weird jobs on the side that you were doing to keep this going?

GR: Yeah, I did. Probably the weirdest job was in my twenties, I was a Tiffany’s doorman and I had to wear this like limousine suit. It was like a tuxedo and it had like a captain’s hat. I had white gloves. They were very strict about how they wanted you to open the door and you had to stand a certain way. I used to see all these rich people coming in and I would just be dreaming about when it would be me going in there. It was good. It was a learning experience. It was humbling, and I think it was important for me to do some of the not so great jobs. I also worked in a movie theater. I had a lot of odd jobs.

AB: You’re having a really incredible run of hits right now. If you can, compare where you were five years ago to where you are now. What about your life has changed?

GR: I think the biggest thing that has changed about my life is my mentality, because really, although I was trying to break through for 15 years, I didn’t know it at the time, but you have to be ready for success, and accept it. For me it was a lot of visualizing. No one in my family was successful. I grew up with RedFoo. RedFoo came from success. He knew what it was to be around money, to be around successful people. For me, I didn’t really have that. I was around him, I was around his family, but I didn’t grow up that way. So for me the biggest change was probably learning how to be successful, learning how to get what I want out of life. Then comes the lifestyle change, and the house and the car and all of that stuff, but that stuff can go away quick if your mind’s not right, so to me it’s a mental change that happened with me.

AB: You said you’re the first of your family to be successful, which means you really didn’t have the groundwork laid for how to deal with it. Has anyone helped you deal with success, because it can be trying.

GR: Yeah. I have friends that are successful that are close friends and I talk to them a lot, and although my dad wasn’t a huge success, he’s a big success as far as getting out of the norm. He was from Chicago and no one in his family really branched out, they kinda did the run of the mill thing, the 9-5 thing. He kinda struck out and had some successes. Nothing major, but it did teach me to strive, and I know he had to have a little bit of what I’m talking about now to even get to where he got, so I learned a lot from him and I kinda picked up the ball where he left it and I just kept running.

AB: You mentioned growing up with RedFoo, and I know you went to school with him, but when and how did the GoonRock – LMFAO musical connection happen?

GR: Music was always a part of our relationship. He was always writing raps. We have old videos of us dancing. We always were about music. We didn’t necessarily know we wanted to make music, though. He produced a friend of ours’ demo who ended up getting signed right out of high school, and I was around that and I was there learning. That’s kinda where I got the bug from. When we really started to take it seriously we both kinda went our own ways and we both promised that once we got on we would put the other one on, and he got on, so he put me on. That’s kinda how that worked.

AB: When you started creating music together did you envision it connecting with so many people?

GR: You know, the answer to that question is yes, we did, because we really, especially with “”Party Rock Anthem,” even though it was for another artist (Flo Rida), by the time we realized that it was gonna be for us we really did sit and say, “let’s change the world.” Now “change the world” is probably too big for what this song is, it’s really just a feel good song that everybody can get into, but that’s what we said – “let’s change the world. Let’s do something that will make everything crazy and make everyone feel good in the club. Let’s just do the best shit we can do.” That energy is what we went into it with and it really carried through throughout the song. Every part was paid attention to. We wanted to take the listener on a ride. We wanted to do something great.

AB: Other than having that vision, why do you think this is working so well? What musical elements have you put together that nobody thought to put together, or at least had never put together so effectively, before?

GR: The thing about house music, and some dance music, is it has a feeling. I compare it to sex. House music, and some dance music, it can be minimal and then it can climax and it reminds me of sex. It’s kind of like teasing the listener. It’s like you get em with this piece and then it’s rising and it’s a build and it’s like life, so with that theory we realized that no one had really rapped over house music and dance music, so we really wanted to take it to the highest level as far as rapping and singing. Now everyone’s doing it, but when we started doing it there was nothing on the radio really like that. That was kind of our thing, let’s combine rap and this house music thing that we love so much and do something cool.

AB: And now when you turn on the TV and you see M&Ms and CGI hamsters dancing to your work, what do you think?

GR: I think “thank you.” I’m just so happy when I see it. I love it.

AB: You have worked with a plethora of artists. Give me your best in-studio story. Tell me about something crazy, or unexpected.

GR: Being in the studio with J-Lo, because I grew up with her (work) all the way from In Living Color, and I’d seen her on TV, and I’m not really that excited about stars, but with J-Lo it definitely was “wow, I’m here with J-Lo and I’m doing her single.” It was crazy. It was very cool. She was just like a homey, like a friend. That was pretty crazy to me.

AB: Speaking of friends, I know you had a friendship with DJ AM. What was that relationship like? Did you share musical tastes? Did you work together on anything?

GR: It was a music relationship. He and RedFoo were friends. He had kinda of grown up around us and came up around the same people. He heard a CD of mine, I used to make beat CDs, and he was very impressed. He wanted to sign me. He came over to my house. I ended up not signing with him, but the next beat CD I remember playing him he was like “yo, you need to listen to some of this dance, some of this house stuff, and electro stuff I’m into now.” I was doing straight hip-hop. He kinda hipped me to house music, and that’s when I stared to fall in love with it. He was a great dude and a super talented guy.

AB: Do you have a favorite story from hanging out with him?

GR: I just remember being super impressed by his talent. He was like a DJs DJ. He would do things that DJs really weren’t doing at the time. The way he would mix songs where he would take something old that you were familiar with and then mix it with something new, like someone had sampled it and he would show you what the sample came from. He’d play the old record in the club and then you’d realize this is in that (current) big song. So he kind of would take you through a history of music that was really cool, that people weren’t doing that back then, that I really admired.

AB: Now you’re working on an album of your own. Tell everyone about it.

GR: It is more of a producer album. I am hooking up with artists that I like, that I’m inspired by, and we vibe a certain way, and I’m just making music that I love and I hope people connect with. I have been working with other artists, too, just to keep my name out, keep the Party Rock brand going, but my album is a big project for me, so I’m excited about that.

AB: Is it going to be in the same vein with the combination of house and hip-hop?

GR: Absolutely.

AB: And you said you’re working with some people. Is there a small list you can give me, or is that not allowed yet?

GR: It’s forbidden now.

AB: So no contracts have been finalized yet.

GR: That’s right. {*laughs*}

AB: That being said, of the people you haven’t worked with yet, who would you most like to give the GoonRock treatment to?

GR: I have a lot of artists that I like that aren’t necessarily pop artists. I really like Inara George and (her band) Bird and the Bee. They do a different style of music, but I think that we could do something cool together. I love Radiohead. I know they’re very selective of who they work with, but I’d love to work with them. I love the old 80s groups General Public and English Beat, (which featured) Dave Wakeling. I would love to do something with them. There are a lot of people that I would work with. I love the current big names, too, but I think that what I do could be very cool coupled with a different genre that doesn’t necessarily do what I do.