Gotye: I don't care if you mispronounce my name
Gotye at Epic, 4/4/12
Gotye and Kimbra's music video for "Somebody That I Used to Know" is perhaps the break-up experience of the year. Watching will leave the viewer wrapped up in tantalizing, emotional excitement, or at least fascinated with this man's teeth. Overtly nostalgic for the '80s, the song is also a gateway into a Peter Gabriel time machine.
The man behind the seemingly extra-syllable'd moniker Gotye (pronounced Got-e-yay) is Belgium-bred, Australia-based Wally De Backer, and he swears he wasn't trying to irritate us with the name.
"I didn't need to imagine [it would be hard to pronounce, but] that became quite apparent early on, especially in Australia," he says." I don't care if people mispronounce the name, no big deal. It's funny when people come up to me, and go 'Awe mate! Are you that Got-Yiauawa- guy?'"
His third album, Making Mirrors, is anything but an ordinary pop record. Let's go back to that video for "Somebody That I Used to Know" for a second. Where you see Wally and neo-Simone chanteuse Kimbra, disrobed, and painted.
It's an unusually vulnerable portrayal with simple, yet haunting expressions that bring us to all reminisce of relationships gone ass-backwards. As if we don't have enough reasons to be reminded of the resentment and agony we often invest in ex-lovers. Gotye makes a great run of describing the majority of emotions that run through our jaded minds during the course of a relationship pitfall.
This, in turn, has now garnered Gotye as one of the most talked-about artists of the year. It's caught on like a bad-drug habit, and the rest of Making Mirrors is the culprit. "Really, making songs on this record is just a series of responses to tales or circumstances," De Backer comments. "And really just following it along until you feel like you've got it all out; till you've found something, or opened a door to something different."
Then he adds, "There's plenty of ways to kick the boxes, and make some pretty inspiring middle-of-the-road music. After years of trying, and finding things you didn't think could prove appealing and interesting -- they may seem a little off-the-map to me, [but] clearly I can always keep striving. It's just finding a direction that I find hard. There's so many ways I can go with it, that is what's hard."
Gotye may have been fairly unknown to the States prior to his earth-shattering breakup -- but as of this year, De Backer has reached the ultimate revenge status, along with Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again," or Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer." Not everyone loves "the song," but it nonetheless sticks with you, and you know all the lyrics by heart in a matter of days.
"People seem to celebrate and say it's a pretty angst-y song," he says. "But I guess on some level it's a pop song. It's catchy and so if people have had this angst-y relationship I guess then when you have music like that, it's the romantic side of melancholy, celebrating that angst, sadness."
The buzz built quickly and early for Making Mirrors, and finally it seems to have receded a bit recently. De Backer says he hasn't been keeping track: "Stuff carries on, and you kind of just get more disconnected from it, probably. I'm just trying to do good shows and think about when I might get a chance to do something interesting next; make some more music. It's been hard to stay humble. [I] just don't focus on all the bullshit."
And so there's not likely to be a quick follow-up for capitalize on the exposure? "The best process is sometimes to just wait, read and experience interesting things and wait until those things and combine with musical experience to hopefully make an interesting song."
Gotye at Epic, 4/4/12
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