Saturday, September 8, 2012
Gotye on Retromania
The creator of 2012's biggest selling single speaks about Retromania:
Now Gotye is in a new phase of his career, musing about the way he got here, and taking time to reflect on the way he creates music. He said he had recently read Simon Reynolds’ book Retromania, which takes the view that the current music industry isn’t offering anything new or original, but rather constantly rehashing recent pop history, albeit in new forms.
Gotye said that reading Reynolds’ diatribe had made him think about the way he wrote songs, cobbling together bits and pieces of never-heard music that he discovers in vintage record stores. “Somebody That I Used To Know,” in fact, samples a guitar part from Brazilian guitarist Luiz Bonfá’s song “Seville,” from Bonfa’s 1967 album Luiz Bonfa Plays Great Songs. Gotye was intrigued with the album title and found a little musical bit that he twisted and turned into something brand new. And that, he has come to realize, is maybe his unique musical gift.
“I think maybe the stuff that I do that’s the most successful or the most interesting is the stuff that somehow finds the balance between those competing tensions [sampling the past versus creating something brand new] and something unique does come out of it. And maybe the stuff that I do that’s more of a stylistic homage or pastiche, recently I’ve decided I shouldn’t allow myself the license to do that as much because it’s not as interesting and I should challenge myself to try to distill something more unique out of those directions.”
Well, if the book helps him come up with another song as fresh and original as "Somebody I Used To Know", and with as much staying power (okay, there was a moment back in June or thenabouts when having heard it approximately 1076 times on the radio I started feeling a tad tired of it, but I'm on my second wind of "SIUTK" love now) , I shall consider it a Job Well Done.
Did they ever even release a second single off Making Mirrors? I suppose they are waiting for the first one to fade off the airwaves. Might still have a bit of a wait ahead.