I remember the first time I ever heard Somebody That I Used To Know. An eleven-year-old me sat drawing in my room when my dad knocked on the door impatiently. “You have to come watch this,” he said. Mesmerised by the incredible sound and left breathless by the stunning visuals of its accompanying video clip, we sat dumbfounded. Before we knew it, we had fallen deep down the Gotye rabbit hole, where we desperately consumed every piece of his work we could find within a single afternoon.
We soon discovered Gotye’s expansive career, just as it was about to skyrocket into new territories of worldwide fame and international recognition.
Over the years, Gotye has built an incredible body of work that oozes experimentation and introspection. It’s enough to stop anyone in their tracks.
Nowadays, it’s a pleasure looking back at Wouter “Wally” De Backer’s three independent albums as Gotye; Boardface (2003), Like Drawing Blood (2006), and Making Mirrors (2011). Through an exploration of this phenomenal body of work, it is clear that this artist is so much more than somebody that we used to know, he is one of Australia’s most significant indie stories and a picture of genuine viral success.
Like many artists first springing into their musical journey, Gotye’s initial releases carried a profoundly authentic and homemade feel. He was recording his first tracks primarily using samples, stitching bits and pieces together like a sonic patchwork. After putting together his first release he made about 50 copies on CD, handwriting the tracklist and colouring each cover sleeve individually.
Channelling what it truly means to be indie, he worked tirelessly, sending the CDs to every radio and recording contact he could find until positive feedback soon came bouncing back his way from various radio stations and the press. After two more homemade collections were released, and with the continued support from the Australian indie scene, record label Creative Vibes distributed his debut album in 2003. It was titled Boardface, an accumulation of the material from his three previous releases.
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