Gotye to perform in Dubai
We meet 'Somebody That I Used To Know' singer Discuss this article
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The xylophone-plinking opening, the you-did-me-wrong cry of a chorus and the he said/she said views of a break-up: we’re certain the song is on auto-repeat in your brain right now. ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ is the inescapable earworm of the year. As the man behind the tune – Goyte, aka 32-year-old Wouter ‘Wally’ De Backer – prepares to bring that song, and his three albums, to Dubai for the first time, Time Out’s Novid Parsi grabbed him at his home in Melbourne.
Thanks for the song – we can’t get it out of our heads.
[Laughs] Is that a good or bad thing?
A good thing, we think.
You’ve said ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ appeals to people who have very confused, broken relationship experiences. Were you speaking from personal experience?
Partly, yeah. The song is so much about musing on the different feelings that can bubble up when reflecting on many years of different relationships.
The lines about the ex-girlfriend who has her friends collect her records and then changes her number are so specific…
Actually, you picked the two lines in the song that are the most fictionalised or pure fiction. Other ones for me relate to specific memories.
Along with the euphoria of having a global hit, is there also a sense of, ‘Wait, I have all these other songs as well?’
I’m resigned to the fact that this song has worked its own way into the pop world, which isn’t a world I ever expected to operate in. The pop audience are happy to be fed stuff by the music media; it’s unlikely that the more interesting, left-of-centre and experimental things I do will actually find their way through. There are previous albums that have some stuff that’s worth listening to, possibly stuff that’s better than ‘Somebody That I Used to Know.’ But that song is maybe the one that will have the broadest appeal, and I’m okay with that. The people for whom the phrase ‘one-hit wonder’ means anything and consider it a slightly condescending phrase, they’re not the people I’m making music for.
So it’s okay if they want to call you a one-hit wonder?
I guess I don’t really care, yeah. Commercial success in that ultra-scrutinised public pop sphere is often antithetical to actually making interesting and good music.
Gotye performs on Friday November 23, doors open 7pm, show starts 9pm. Tickets Dhs250-750. Dubai World Trade Centre, www.timeouttickets.com.
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