ALEATORY #2: Gotye

If you live outside of Australia, chances are pretty good you haven't gotten to hear Gotye—yet. At home, Gotye (the one-man act of Wally DeBacker) is an award-winning indie pop star, pulling down an ARIA (the Aussie Grammy) for best male artist in 2007 and a Most Outstanding New Independent Artist award in 2006 for his album Like Drawing Blood, which went gold.

Now Like Drawing Blood is hitting Europe and Japan later this year, behind lead single "Hearts A Mess," a track Davecat has been putting on pretty much every mixtape he's made since it came out. Everyone needs to hear this song (no, really), and now, soon, you'll be able to get the album without the hefty import fees (assuming you don't live on the left side of the map). Wally was kind enough to take some time from rocking the rest of the world to be our second Aleatory interviewee, and we couldn't be happier.


9. Favorite song to start (or end) a mixtape with?

"In My Pants" by The Reddings. Defies description. Everyone should find outwhat this song is about.

10. Favorite lyric?

Well, I might as well elaborate a little on that Reddings track.

"There's a girl name [insert garbled name that rhymes with, um, something like "blurl" here], who took me round the world- every place she thought I should be. I said "hey- wait a minute. My rank as a lieutenant- in the army of the freaks". No sense. Absolute gold.

22. Favorite vice?

Nutella. With a side of nutella.

23. Favorite natural oddity?


27. Favorite chord/chord progression?

The one from the chorus of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb". And also Urban Cookie Collective's "The Key, The Secret". And 65.37% of other pop songs ever written. It's something like C, G, Bb, F.

31. Other than musician, what career would you most enjoy?

Highway toll collector. Every day's different.

32. Best thing you learned this week/month?

CATERPILLARS TURN INTO BUTTERFLIES PEOPLE! Wait... I found that out last month. Hmmm... I learned about Iran's history (from a graphic novel called Persepolis). It's bloody terrible. And I felt both intensely thankful and guilty for the luxurious, safe and wasteful existence we enjoy/exploit in Australia and other parts of the western world.

34. What's the best joke you heard recently?

Apparently the shortest joke ever. Very American. Not very funny. But here it is: "Pretentious? Moi?"

35. What's the best place you've randomly discovered while on tour?

Having a roll of toilet paper on you at all times is incredibly helpful. Particularly when preparing to go on stage and beset by a last minute toilet call in a venue whose toilet you haven't checked out beforehand.

38. What is your family like?

Brilliant. Loving and inspiring and supportive. I'm incredibly lucky.

46. Where do you keep things hidden? What do you keep hidden there?

On my hard drive in a folder called "BoringSoftwareDriversYouWouldn'tEverNeedToLookAt". In it, there are LOLcats.

47. Biggest fear?

Someone discovering my LOLcats collection.

51. What are you currently obsessed with?

The newest record player I bought. It's a tiny model of a Volkswagon "combivan" (I dunno what folks outside Australia call this particular model of van) with a stylus attached to the bottom. It drives around vinyl you place on the floor, and has a little built in speaker to play the music. I bought it in New York and although it warbles, skates and has a terribly tinny sound, it's still the best record player ever.

54. So far in your career, what's been your proudest accomplishment?

Getting the first copies of the "Hearts A Mess" 7" single on vinyl. It's not really like I manufactured them, but it felt great to see my first vinyl release. The artwork looked brilliant, the vinyl master and cut was pretty good, I'm proud of the song, and I felt proud all over.

57. Most rock star thing you've ever done?

Admonishing the audience for yabbering loudly in the front row during a show. As it turns out, they were yabbering about how they wanted to bonk me. But all I heard was distracting chatter. Wait... the most rock star thing I've done is brag in an e-interview about fans discussing wanting to bonk me in the front row of one of my shows.

64. Weirdest promotion you've been a part of?

Promoting myself. It gets stranger every time I speak. Did you know I was born in an airoplane that crash-landed on the tip of K2? I crawled down the peak (at age 0, yes) and was raised by villagers until I left my adopted parents to become a world-famous pastry chef. Where did I go to begin my brilliant career? Antarctica of course. Great weather there.

68. Favorite interview you've ever been a part of (aside from this one, obviously)?

One in Japan where the fellow tried speaking English for an hour. He couldn't speak English. I just replied in Japlish-isms. Things like "YOU OUGHT TO GET DO SOME A LITTLE EXERCISE .EVERYDAY" and "ERIC CRAPTON".

71. How well do you feel your music lends itself to remixing or being covered?

It's fine I guess. Depends on who's doing the reworking.

86. With Radiohead's In Rainbows release and Nine Inch Nails doing boffo
business with his online releases, do you see yourself ever doing some alternative kind of release for any of your future projects?

It's something I've been thinking about for the next record. Not that I've got the massive profile and existing fan base to be able to support such adventurous and progressive release strategies. But you gotta think big, and original, to get places.

88. What's your deepest source for musical inspiration?

The deep, deep boom of an 808 deep kick drum on the bottom of the deepest deep house track you've ever deeped. I mean heard. It's so deep I almost experience brown note response.


Visit Gotye's website.
Photo by James Bryans.