BY KEN BERRYMAN
On the 5th of March, 2013 Wouter ‘Wally’ De Backer, better known as Gotye, recorded an Oral History interview with the NFSA. In this interview he briefly outlines his Belgian ancestry, his gradual awareness of his artistic abilities, the formation of Melbourne bands Downstares and The Basics, and his personal rapid rise to international prominence via a determined internet presence. He describes various musical keyboards, recording software and life experiences that contributed to the creation of his popular state-of-the-art media compositions, as well as some of the strategies utilised to promote his works via the internet, including social media such as YouTube.
A Belgian-Australian multi-instrumental musician and singer-songwriter, Gotye has released three studio albums independently and one album featuring remixes of tracks from his first two albums. His follow-up single to ‘Eyes Wide Open’ titled ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’, featuring New Zealand musician Kimbra, was released in July 2011 and has become an international mega-hit. The accompanying film clip for the song, directed by Natasha Pincus, has had over 433 million hits (as of October 2013) on YouTube, one of the most viewed and most liked videos of all time.
In February 2013, Fractured Heart, an interactive sound and light sculpture designed and built by illuminart in collaboration with Gotye, was launched at the NFSA headquarters in Canberra. Gotye also curated and presented Visual Music, a special screening of works by some of his favourite animators, including those who have worked with him on the music videos for ‘Hearts a Mess’, ‘Easy Way Out’, and ‘State of the Art’. Clips from Visual Music can be viewed on the NFSA’s YouTube channel.
In the following audio clip from his interview, Wally reveals his reactions to winning three Grammy Awards and talks about working with Kimbra, NFSA title: 1102142:
The complete interview with Gotye is available on the NFSA SoundCloud page: