All due respect to Carly Rae Jepsen, but Gotye is the left-field success story of 2012. The smoky-voiced Aussie's inescapable breakout single, "Somebody That I Used to Know," from his Making Mirrors album, shot into ubiquity this past winter thanks to an exceptional synergy of hooky ingenuity and video virality. (Over a quarter billion views and counting.) The numbers are proof that the man born Wouter De Backer knows his way around an earworm. But what songs have wriggled inside Gotye's brain? The 32-year-old singer spoke with us about his favorite inescapable songs. You'll forgive him for including two of his own, which he's hoping to bring to audiences when he undertakes a U.S. tour in August.
Major Lazer, "Get Free"
"That gets stuck in my head a bunch. All the vocal aspects, ya know? [Sings hook.] All those hooks, and the chorus just cycling around and around in that way that's like, "That track's fucking awesome! I wanna put that on again!"
Depeche Mode, tracks from Songs of Faith and Devotion
"I listened to that particular record so much as a teenager, just deconstructing it and getting into all the layers of the production. 'Condemnation' was one of the favorites. 'I Feel You' would probably be another one. I used to read that, apparently, most of the guys in Depeche Mode themselves felt like that album was least representative of the band. I've always wondered, 'Is that what often happens? When the artist is most out of their comfort zone, is that often the most interesting material?'"
The Corries, "Ettrick Lady"
"As a kid, I used to hear a lot of a Scottish folk duo called the Corries, who are kind of like a national living treasure in Scotland. Young people in Scotland, when I mention the Corries to them, they're like [adopts Scottish accent], 'You know the Corries? What the fuck?' But I'm a really big fan, cause I grew up listening to them with my parents. In a way, I blocked them out as a teenager, but in my early 20s, I started to go, 'This music is amazing!' There's a great one called 'Ettrick Lady' which I love the mandolin work on and the kind of looping melodic refrain."
Kings of Convenience, "24-25"
"I have a really soft spot for the opening track on Declaration of Dependence. I don't know, it's just an amazing track. When I listen to a band like Kings of Convenience, it sometimes makes me think I really want to do something that just strips back, ya know? Really get my hands around a nylon-string guitar with my girlfriend or just another guy I really connect with vocally, with one other instrument, and just play some small holes where it's all about the acoustic experience. Sometimes it feels very appealing, more true — just a voice and an instrument."
Gotye, "Dig Your Own Hole" and "Giving Me a Chance"
"[These songs] wander off in different directions of what I was working on in the recording process, and I finally found the time to arrange [them] with the band. One is a B-side from Making Mirrors, which is kind of an '80s Italo disco-inspired production called 'Dig Your Own Hole.' The other one is a small attempt to step toward what I was talking about before, being so inspired by bands like Kings of Convenience, the one other song on Making Mirrors — that I haven't played [live] before — which is called 'Giving Me a Chance,' is one of the most personal songs on the record and one that I'm trying to strip back as much as possible. I hope that'd be the most personal moment in the show. And who knows? It might be the most poignant."