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Gotye: Just calling to say 'how ARIA-'

Author: Bloom
Thursday, November 22, 2007
The last 12 months has been a bit crazy for Wally De Backer, aka Gotye. As well as singer, songwriter and producer, he can now add 'local boy made good' to his business card (it seems he's bypassed the 'next big thing' tag and gone straight to the top).

OK, so we all knew he was talented and would no doubt score success with his genre-busting bedroom beats, but did anyone really see the 'Best Male Artist' ARIA award coming-

Certainly not Wally De Backer.

"I've been doing this for a while and I feel like I built the platform over 4 or 5 years, but the last year has been quite a ride"

Of course, once the juggernaut shifted into top gear and the national music press began tapping its collective foot, there was no turning back. Now, at just 27, he has the world at his feet and a killer album under his belt, despite most people still being unable to pronounce his stage name correctly.

"They still don't get it right, but I'm used to it. I make diverse music and have an unusual name….. oh my God, it's so difficult to understand!" he says with a laugh.

This new found success has meant that Mr. De Backer has managed to snare the headline slot at Future Entertainment's Hot BBQ gig on January 1st 2007, relegating both Cut Copy and De La Soul to second and third billing respectively. Ask anyone who knows about music and they'll tell you that's fucking huge.

But, humble as ever, De Backer is getting swept up in the excitement, instead describing this change in fortunes as simply "part and parcel of the organic process"

And he's also quick to dispel any ideas that he's enjoying the sort of record sales other more mainstream acts take for granted.

"I don't think a song like 'Learnalilgivinanlovin' tapped into any genre resurgence and it wasn't the huge hit you might think it was. It certainly didn't get played on any commercial stations and probably only shifted 50 or so units around the country. It's got a really up vibe and a sixties feel, but it was only really Triple J who gave it a platform."

So what is it that has captured the imagination of Australia's live music aficionados-

"I think my music's been a grower. I've dropped one or two tracks with Triple J and there are a lot of people who have told me they've heard a song and like it, but didn't know who I was. Then they've bought the album and found that they know maybe two other songs on there that they didn't know was me. But it's taken a while for people to understand what it is and say 'Oh right, it's all the same guy playing multi genre music.'"

When asked about the difficulty in promoting such a mixed bag of delights, De backer compares himself to US college rockers, Ween, who have built up a huge following of intelligent fans and a portfolio of eclectic tunes. It's an interesting example to use, but one that makes sense entirely.

"Ween have a loyal fanbase of people who recognize that their music is genius and that they can master any genre they put their minds to, but it's still too much for a lot of them to take. Sounding like 12 different bands on one record doesn't make sense, but surely that's more exciting than going through the motions. I mean, get it through your head!"
Don't panic, Wally. It looks like the world is starting to get it.

Like Drawing Blood is available now.

Gotye plays Hot BBQ on January 1, click here for details.