Somebody we're sure to know

Apr 09, 2012, 12:15 IST | Ruchika Kher

Belgian-Australian Wouter "Wally" De Backer, popularly known as Gotye has been making music for over a decade now. Yet, it was only until killer track Somebody That I Used to Know from his album Making Mirrors hit charts that the 31-year-old multi-instrumentalist, who calls himself "private person", became a global phenomenon. As his album hits stores across India today, he discusses his cult track, his desire to visit India and future plans

How does it feel to be an overnight success? How difficult is to retain and handle success?
It feels great, I love all of it and it’s great to have thousands of Twitter followers. Especially with the success of Somebody That I Used To Know, I’ve come across people who like the song, but don’t even know its name, or the name of the record, or my name! I’m a private person and as a result, I feel very exposed. I don’t seek out as much social interaction as many of my friends do. I prefer spending time reading, reflecting and processing things.

Gotye is a multi instrumentalist who also plays the guitar, drums, percussion, keyboards and synthesizer. He recorded his first tracks back in 2001.

Why do you think this song has connected so well with people?
The song is about how two people in a relationship have different perceptions about what has happened when their relationship fails. In fact, the song is perceived in different ways. I understand a bit from the emails of how people from different countries seem to respond differently to certain lines in the song. They have told me about their relationships. I’ve also come across people who are willing to offer their own stories in response to the song. It’s very interesting for me to see a trend emerge from different parts of the world.

Somebody That I Used to Know has been the breakout hit from the album, but what are you proudest of, about Making Mirrors?
I am proud of the album’s lyrics. I feel I have a close relationship with every track I stand behind on the record.

How did you come to work with Kimbra, the female vocalist featured on Somebody That I Used to Know?
Initially, there was a high-profile vocalist in Australia who was signed up but ended up getting cancelled the night before the vocal session. Eventually, the song’s mixer, who was also the producer of Kimbra’s album Vows, recommended her. It was imperative to find the right person for the song. Even when Kimbra did her vocals, and after I completed the song’s mix, I felt I hadn’t found the right person. Kimbra can do so much with her voice and I also feel like she has the potential to channel some great Jazz vocalists. But then, with Somebody That I Used To Know I realised that Kimbra’s singing tapped into the real feeling of the song.

Many international artists have visited India of late; what about you?
I would love to visit India in the future.

Your future projects?
I’ve got a project going — a concept, an album. I’ll be touring and doing a lot of live shows. I’m looking to forward to it.

Making Mirrors will hit music stores on April 9. 

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