Gotye (real name Wally De Backer) shared his composition and performance techniques with about 90 students from high schools in Victoria, Queensland and NSW. Mention of his 2007 hit ‘Hearts a Mess’ prompted one student to cry out ‘That’s my favourite song!’, much to everyone’s delight.
One of Gotye’s talents is ‘sampling’ which he does using the latest audio technology but he also samples from old tapes and records – for which he scours second-hand stores and op shops.
At one point, having been asked by student Daisy what sort of equipment he uses, Gotye replied ‘hang on a minute’ and rushed off-camera. He returned with his latest acquisition, picked up in Los Angeles after receiving his three Grammy Awards earlier in the week: a small square yellow box with dials and a speaker. It quickly became evident that it had an American plug but Questacon’s handy technicians Alex and Aiden thankfully managed to find some alternative AA batteries (Gotye kept up his delivery throughout, unfazed by the frenzied search). Inquiring student Daisy was treated to a Gotye rendition of her name sampled through his new toy. I reckon Daisy is pretty satisfied with his answer!
NFSA CEO and session facilitator, Michael Loebenstein, matched Gotye’s pace with insightful comments and questions that provided students with the scaffold to discover different aspects of Gotye’s work.
Gotye then explored his response to the countless cover versions of ‘Somebody that I Used to Know’ floating around the internet. He has created a brilliant mash-up of all the covers and there it is on YouTube: Somebodies: A YouTube Orchestra. Talk about embracing what is out there!
Around this time Minister Crean had to depart. We were pleased that he had the opportunity to observe the authentic experience that educational programs such as NFSA Connects provide to regional students in connecting them with professional creative artists via videoconference.