Inadvertently, through the art of viral video in some ways, Gotye has reached a global success thanks to the cover-version or remix “tips of the hat” to him on Youtube.
[pullquote quote="It's been curious...It's like it makes the internet more interesting for me, to come on and see someone just completely take the song out of context and try to put it into a really euro-disco realm or something like that. "]Even though Gotye doesn’t like to sample contemporary stuff in his work, he finds all the covers interesting like a “cover version by a Canadian band” where “five of them” are “around one guitar playing a song, each with their hands on different parts of the strings and different parts of the guitar. Three of them doing the different vocal parts.”
“Very clever and really well-realized,” admitted Gotye. “So I can see why people have sort of shared it avidly.”
Even the parodies “tread a line between being fun and mildly offensive,” although “there are a couple covers that are complete debacles” that Gotye finds hilarious.
“It’s been curious,” continued Gotye. “It’s like it makes the internet more interesting for me, to come on and see someone just completely take the song out of context and try to put it into a really euro-disco realm or something like that.”
[pullquote quote="It's the first dance remix of a tune that I've genuinely been 'Wow, this is amazing, this is a really exciting mix.'"]One such example of a “Somebody That I Used To Love” reworking that “made the internet more interesting” for Gotye is a “brilliant” remix by a Los Angeles production team called [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]4FRNT[/lastfm] that’s immensely popular on Hype Machine and that Gotye was excited to announce that he was going to première on KROQ that day.
“It’s the first dance remix of a tune,” said Gotye, “that I’ve genuinely been ‘Wow, this is amazing, this is a really exciting mix.”
In terms of his own songwriting, for Gotye the “music ideas” come first, he said.
[pullquote quote="I play with sounds. I throw a lot of ideas at a wall...See what sticks and see what then inspires the possibility of a song."]“I play with sounds. I throw a lot of ideas at a wall,” elaborated Gotye. “See what sticks and see what then inspires the possibility of a song…Some aspects of what became the final track there [on "Bronte"], some of the chord ideas, some of the loops, they were already floating around but I had no concept and no melody idea to sort of attach to them.“
“And then,” continued the musician, “When that sort of experience came along in my life, it made an instant connection and an idea for a song–a very clear idea and intention came about then.”
“Bronte,” the lo-fi lullaby closer to Making Mirrors was inspired by an “experience” Gotye had watching some friends of his, people he loves “dearly,” deal with the death of their family dog–a dog in its early twenties named Bronte.
[pullquote quote="Right at that moment, I sort of matched it up to a bit of music that had been sitting around for a while and everything just kind of flowed from there in a matter of hours...Yeah, it's melancholic, but I see it as more hopeful than the sad aspect of it."]“It was on its last legs. It had been for a while,” said Gotye introspectively. “They were kind of lovingly still taking care of it. Feeding it, help it sort of just get by and they finally made the very difficult decision that it wasn’t a good existence anymore for the dog to be alive so they decided as a family to get the vet down to their place and let the dog go together.”
“And I was really struck by that plan, I guess,” continued Gotye. “I kind of knew that was happening at that time and I felt a very…arresting sort of feeling. Right at that moment, I sort of matched it up to a bit of music that had been sitting around for a while and everything just kind of flowed from there in a matter of hours…Yeah, it’s melancholic, but I see it as more hopeful than the sad aspect of it.”
Part of the reason that the song “Bronte” was brought up was because I wanted to know if “Bronte” was Gotye’s homage to one of his musical idols, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Kate Bush[/lastfm], who wrote a very popular song called “Wuthering Heights” based on a novel by Emily Brontë.
While Gotye said that he is “generally inspired by Kate Bush,” the song wasn’t connected to her.
But, prompted by Lisa Worden, KROQ’s Music Director, Gotye did relay a personal story about another one of his favorite bands, a story that brought everything full circle.
[pullquote quote="I was hugely obsessed with most of their early '90s/late '80s records, which for me directly inspired me to want to produce albums and write songs." credit="Gotye on Depeche Mode"]“[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Depeche Mode [/lastfm]just were the band for me when I was a teenager,” admitted Gotye. “I was hugely obsessed with most of their early ’90s/late ’80s records, which for me directly inspired me to want to produce albums and write songs.”
“Watching their documentary 101 about their huge tour in the late ’80s was the first place I heard about KROQ,” continued Gotye. “Certainly at age twelve or whatever it was, I never would have known about any other American radio stations, but I watched this documentary going, ‘Yeah. Right. So there’s this radio station KROQ that kind of gave Depeche Mode their platform in the States.”
“Yeah, so it’s weird,” concluded Gotye. “It’s like KROQ has been weirdly on my radar. So now I’m sitting here. It’s interesting.”
Are you a huge [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Gotye[/lastfm] fan? Check out more posts on the Australian musician!
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