Gotye: ‘Somebody that I Used to Know’ artist talks about new album

Gotye’s live show includes an elaborate video component that he says he does on a song-by-song basis. “I just sort of ask people whose style I think is going to bring an interesting aspect to the visual side of that particular song and work through the ideas with them.”

Gotye isn’t terribly worried about being upstaged by a viral YouTube cover of his international hit, “Somebody That I Used To Know.” Even though the video, in which five people pluck out his song on one shared guitar, was at one time more famous than his own.

“On some level it makes me feel like maybe the song doesn’t really belong to me anymore,” says the singer born Wouter De Backer. “I’ve just written this song that has an energy all of its own and it’s almost unconnected from me as an artist, producer or singer even, which is kind of cool. I think it’s a really interesting energy to be related to.”

Whether or not the song still “belongs” to Gotye (it’s pronounced gaut-tee-yay, by the way), he has earned heaps of praise for his latest album, “Making Mirrors,” which features a diverse range of sounds — everything from that acousticky folk of “Somebody” to feel-good pop to Motown to hints of dubstep.

It’s all over the place, but the Belgian-Australian singer assures that there is a method to his schizophrenic madness.

“I really like diverse records and I’m a big fan of bands like Ween who bring a lot of different strands together and just explode outwards in lots of different directions in one album, but I think there’s a thread there that holds it together,” De Backer says.

He goes on to muse that his hypereclectic style might be a reflection of the iPod era, which has led to a culture of impatience.

“On the one hand, I think people might be much more eclectic in their listening because of that access, but then on the other hand, maybe it also gives people very strong control over not exploring different types of music that they’re not that familiar with or not yet moved by,” he offers. “I don’t know if coming from Australia is part of it, but I think I sometimes just have a whimsical, idiosyncratic range of tastes in music and I try to find a way to make sense of them all and find a way to make them all live together. I may or may not have succeeded with that on some instances on the record.”

Q&A

So who is that “somebody” that you used to know?
   
I’ve talked to a few different ex-girlfriends in the last year since the song came out, but it’s not written about one particular relationship.

That’s what everyone says.
   
But it’s true! I look at different lines in the lyrics and I can see specific moments or people in certain lines and then there are other lines in the lyrics that I kind of go, ‘well, that’s just fiction.’


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