I met Lawree (full name: Lawrence Fergus Goodwin) at the soon to be defunct Alleluya, within the recently purchased, and foreseeably gentrified St Kevin’s Arcade. He wore all black, bar the worn 8 eyelet red Doc Martens, and oversized denim jacket embellished with three iron-on patches: an ‘Acid House’ smiley face, a typographical pink and white ‘Girls Rule, Boys Drool’, and a dolphin.
Classic character profiles in the likes of The New Yorker would stretch tell you that when Lawree speaks, he’s quiet, considered, self-reflective, and conscious of how you’re taking his words. What’s Good exists to tell you that he’s one to watch, as if his meteoric rise through pseudonyms Career Girls, and Cheats, as a band member of Tied on Teeth (RIP 2013) and Caroles, and his og affiliation to Keroscene Comic Book wasn’t enough of an indicator.
At 21 years old, Lawree was born 3 years after the internet was invented. This fact serves as a segue attempt into the tidbit that the guy credits much of what he’s done to his ability to utilise the world wide web. “It’s fucking important,” he said, when I asked him how important it was. The ability for punters and artists and creepers to find inspiration, music, art, and all manners of media; to connect with countless people; to not have to anticipate an album like they did only a few decades ago for two years whilst it passes censorship - to get your ears on leaks before tracks even drop.
He’s from the small town (read: Statistics NZ place the population at 1,338) of Turua, which he explained to me was close to a town called Ngatea, which is close to Thames. Lawree moved up to Auckland in 2012, a year after starting Career Girls.
Career Girls was conceived as a pisstake, “A fuck you approach to producers and stuff… to make dance music that was undanceable.” It’s the ridiculous version of Lawree, the cryptic. Off the back of the hype towards each other’s music within the Keroscene Comic Book ranks, Lawree decided he didn’t want to be the “joke guy” anymore, and has taken to dropping tunes prompting such critique as, “Aptness to enable an exuberant, frenetic explosiveness to his pieces - something that you soon realise is more transportive than it is hyperactive.” At the other end of the spectrum of his personality lies Cheats, a solo singer/songwriter “guitar music” project.
For Lawree, in all of his endeavours, making music has always been about impressing himself, “If people like it, that’s cool.” What he wants from gigs - his own, or others - is real emotion. He wants musicians to mean it. But, at the same time, he realises, “There’s situations like New Year’s, where you just wanna froth and get drunk and shit.”
Given the guy’s heavy involvement and connection to Auckland’s music scene, he’s knows what he’s talking about when he offers a perspective about the direction in which it should be going. He’s adamant we need more all-age shows. Under my prying into the idea that he could see himself in these kids, who when he plays shows to, know every word to all of his songs (thank you, internet), Lawree admitted that validation, in a way, does come from their love for his tunes. But it’s more than that - “If you exclude them, what’s going to happen to the wave of local music in the next five years?”
In November, Lawree plans to move to London, then potentially onto Berlin. His mind’s not set, he tells me, because he might find out he likes Croatia, or somewhere else, more. He’s never before left the country, and doesn’t have a job nor home lined up on the other side of the planet, but isn’t fazed. He’s seeking out culture shock - that growth experience that’ll give him something new to feel and something new to sing about.
So, this is the guy behind the plethora of monikers. I ask him to recall his favourite show. Have you heard of Barrytown Point? Lawree tells me they’ve got a population of twelve odd (~census data), and a community hall. He played there on tour with Die! Die! Die! Everybody spread out, danced to their own vibe, and no-one gave a shit.
Photography by Jess Robins
Styled by Magdalene Lee