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Why You Don't Hear From Gotye Anymore

Stewart Perrie

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Why You Don't Hear From Gotye Anymore

The year is 2011 and every single person on the planet is seemingly listening to 'Somebody That I Used To Know' by Belgian-born Australian singer-songwriter Gotye, featuring Kimbra.

The song catapulted Gotye, real name Wouter 'Wally' De Backer, into music stardom, with talks hows and radio hosts all around the world wanting to chat to the man who created the epic hit.

He copped seven ARIA Awards nominations for 'STIUTK', including Highest Selling Single, Single of the Year, Best Pop Release, Best Male Artist and three awards in the ARIA Artisan category. He also won three Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Alternative Music Album for Making Mirrors; as well as a slew of other gongs and nominations.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The following year Gotye embarked on a world tour, performing for fans in Korea, Japan, North America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia. Then, he disappeared.

Many artists would normally ride that wave of infamy and pump out hit after hit to keep the good times going.

Interestingly, Gotye pulled advertising from the 'STIUTK' music video on YouTube, which currently has nearly 1.4 billion views. That means he's not been raking in millions of dollars from ad revenue.

The 39-year-old then dropped the bomb in a blog post to fans that he wouldn't be releasing any more music under his stage name.

He then followed it up with: "Wait, maybe there will be. I'm not entirely sure right now. There are many contingencies."

Credit: Universal Music
Credit: Universal Music

The singer-songwriter launched a music label; became a drummer and singer of The Basics, who released albums in 2014 and 2015; and leant his voice to a few other projects.

Then, he disappeared even further.

This is where it gets interesting.

About five years ago, Gotye became friends with Jean-Jacques Perrey, a pioneer of the electronic music genre.

Perrey was a member of the early electronic music duo Perrey and Kingsley, whose influence has been felt by the likes of The Beastie Boys, Disney, a Japanese video game, and shows like The Simpsons, South Park and Spongebob Squarepants.

Gotye made it his mission to preserve Perrey's musical legacy.

Credit: bthrewww (Flickr)
Credit: bthrewww (Flickr)

He bought two vintage electronic keyboards called ondiolines (which are associated with Perrey) and formed the Ondioline Orchestra in New York.

Speaking to Broadsheet two years ago, Gotye praised the electronic keyboards for their ability to create sounds that aren't really around in modern music.

"You can dial in an incredibly wide range of sounds on the ondioline," he said, "and the unique mechanics for playing it allows you to create sounds very sensitively and with a musical deftness I just feel isn't present on most other electronic instruments from the '40s - or decades since."

Gotye organised two shows for the Ondioline Orchestra and dedicated them to Perrey. The French artist planned to travel from Switzerland to Brooklyn for one of the performances, however, he sadly died.

Gotye launched another record label and the first production was titled Jean-Jacques Perrey et son Ondioline, which became a compilation of Perrey's previously unreleased recordings.

So, if you've been wondering why you haven't heard from the Triple J Hottest 100 artist in a while, that's why. He's been pouring his blood, sweat and tears into a project to remember a French electronic music producer.

Will we hear from him in the future? Who knows.

Featured Image Credit: Universal

Topics: News, Music, Interesting, Australia

Stewart Perrie
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