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Inspiration Bomb – Gotye and Tash Parker (Part 1)

“It’s more inspiring in the end to say
‘Well, this is what I have: what can I do with this?’”.

Wally de Backer, (Gotye)

This special Inspiration Bomb is an absolute corker, and here’s where it starts;

A couple of years ago, a funny thing happened to my friend Wally from Melbourne.

Wally is a smart guy: he could have been a scientist, or an entrepreneur, or a comedian (as you will soon hear), but in the end, he chose to be a musician.

One day, after a long and extended period of self-doubt, he wrote a great song called “Somebody that I used to know”. The clip, you may remember, features Wally (and his “duet-est” Kimbra) in the nudie with paint all over them?

Now, for some reason, and none of us will ever be able to say exactly why, the world decided to watch Wally’s film-clip hundreds of millions of times, to send his song to number one in America and all over the world, and to eventually award him this big American thingie called “A Grammy”.

As fancy as all that sounds, what’s even fancier, rarer, possibly even more interesting is the way Wally has managed this burgeoning global reputation while remaining utterly “big-hearted”, devoutly community-minded, and obsessed with sounds that others disregard.

Wally has an enormous amount to teach you about how to do what you want, and make a success of it.

What’s especially special about this particular Bomb (which is part One of Two) is that we’ve set Wally’s insights to the art-work of exceptionally talented musician/artist Tash Parker, who just happens to be the love of Wally’s life. We filmed this Bomb over at their place beside the beach on the Mornington Peninsula.

This is the first of two Inspriation Bombs featuring Wally and Tash, and it’s here to give you an absolutely unguarded peek into one of the greatest minds in Australian musical history, and one of the greatest success stories in the history of music.

Here, Wally talks about the myriad ways he collects and develops his unique sound, the drivers behind his creative process, the roles that success and money and technology have in his career, and a really incredible peek behind the scenes; music management, touring and running your music business – Wally style.

This is the second time I’ve said it: this Bomb is a CORKER and I want you to share it with everyone you know, and everyone you love.

I am also rather excited to hear your thoughts, what is your favourite quote from this Bomb? I’d like you to tell me what you think in the comments below.

And lastly, remember something for me: you are important, and regardless of how you sometimes doubt yourself, you’re always in with a chance.


CB and the B.H.B. Crew. xxoox

Today’s Credits

Inspiration Bomb #35 with Gotye and Tash Parker
Interview by Clare Bowditch
Production by Georgia Madden
Audio editing by Anthony Ackerman with assistance from Defah Dattner
Chalk Lettering by Carla Hacket

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Wally De Backer (Gotye)

Wally De Backer, better known as Gotye, is a Belgian-Australian multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter. Gotye has released multiple solo albums and is a member of the Melbourne indie-pop trio The Basics, who have independently released three studio albums and numerous other titles since 2002. Gotye’s 2011 single “Somebody That I Used to Know” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, making him the fifth Australian artist to do so. He has won five ARIA Awards and received a nomination for an MTV EMA for Best Asia and Pacific Act. On 10 February 2013, he won three Grammy Awards at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards Show.

Tash Parker

Tash is a multi-talented singer-songwriter and artist. Her songwriting is inspired by her early childhood days, growing up on the banks of the Ord River in Kununurra. Having released a debut album she is also furthering her study in fine arts and as you will see here, is producing such stunningly beautiful and unique work . Keep an eye out for more creations from the wonderful Tash Parker.

  • You can make so much with so little. Thank you a great inspiration bomb.

    • Defah Dattner

      Yes I agree Julie, thought the ‘little’ sometimes is made up of lots of littles. If you know what I mean 🙂

  • Tim Heymerdinger

    Hey. Pretty lovely and inspiring piece – thanks for sharing it 🙂 Similarly inspired by Wally’s philosophies. I too don’t worry too much about an imagined carrot dangling somewhere in front of me; just get on and use what you have 🙂
    One thing he mentions about making collab music in Melbourne, being limited in terms of not being able to go to “LA, NYC or London”. Obvs I get the point we wisely makes; but – the gene pool isn’t actually as some Aussie’s imagine.
    Being Brit with a collab thing of my own, I found making music as healthy and wonderful in Melbourne as it could be anywhere.
    Here’s to no borders anyway! And thanks Wally and BHB for this most excellent post 🙂 (And my gorge Aussie cousin Amanda for the heads up on BHB) x

    • Defah Dattner

      Hi Tim, welcome to the site it seems. I hope you check out our other bombs?! They’re all super amazing. Enjoy xx

      • Tim Heymerdinger

        Hey Defah, nice to meet you on here 🙂 Will def check out the bombs! Cool and fresh sources of inspiration always welcome here! Greetings from rainy old England xx

  • Steph

    I just want to be immersed in that kind of creative space where music is the driving force and not distracted by the business.
    It’s inspiring to see someone set their world up with intelligent priorities and such artistic integrity. Wally seems to have such a strong sense of his needs and his vision. The resistance to some of the more commercial or flashy opportunities because they aren’t his preferred ways to work is interesting. Leads to many more questions for me.
    Loved watching Tash’s artwork evolve. Beautiful.

    • Defah Dattner

      It’s pretty impressive to work on such a grand scale and maintain that level of integrity don’t you think? I can’t think of many people who’ve managed to do this. Tom Waits comes to mind…

  • Susan Nethercote

    You know, as huge as Wally has become, it is just so refreshing to hear how organic his creative process is and also so perfect to listen to that while watching that beautiful visual of Tash’s painting. Loved hearing CB’s voice in there too 🙂 xx

    • Defah Dattner

      Hey Sus, thanks for the comments xx

  • Ann

    I just love Wally as an artist and his music. It’s my dream to make my own album, with my own music, but for a long time I thought it’s not possible ’cause of many reasons and deficiencies… Recently I decided to catch my dreams, it will be hard and time-consuming, but I belive I can do it, at least try, then I will not regret I didn’t. Wally as Gotye is my strong inspiration, just next to Artur Rojek (polish artist), Damon Albarn and Pink Floyd.
    Wally is one of the most important artist for me and I don’t just talk about “Somebady that I used to know” (I do like this song, but he has many more great songs!). I hope, you can send Gotye my huge gratitude just for the fact, that HE IS. That’s simply enough 🙂 Thanks!

    ps: sorry for my english, it’s not my native language.

    • Defah Dattner

      Hey Ann – we will let Wally know. You can be sure of that. What a guy hey?! – we look forward to hearing that album some day. xx

  • Betsy

    Finally got to settle in with a cuppa and my headphones and be Gotye bombed. So much goodness here! What I really loved was the reminder that creativity is fluid and that part of creating something tangible means for me A LOT of time doing seemingly unrelated stuff (like listening to music, looking at art, reading books, watching game of thrones in my PJ’s ha!) It is easy to forget that making space for creativity and developing your art is an essential aspect, even if it looks like “wasting time” or “not doing the work”
    THANK YOU FOR THAT! Also loved the DIY aspect and the reminder that when you are doing it all (admin etc) it can take time away from doing the thing you really love. This is for me such a great thing with the work I do – I am recognising (thanks BHB Retreat and CB) that there are people who LOVE doing the s*#t I don’t like doing and together we can exchange gifts and talents to support each other (Defah Dattner comes to mind!). OH YEAH!!!! And Tash’s art work is gorgeous too – I love how watercolour does it’s own thing and the artist seems to just be guiding and nudging it into being! A loving collaboration! Cant wait for part 2 THANK YOU BHB

    • Nikola Martino

      Hi Betsy! I also finally made time to watch this and what a delight to bump into you here! This is the first time I’ve really read the comments on these things and I’m kicking myself – the comments are just as inspirational as the bombs! I love reading how everyone has connected and been inspired by this. Think I might spend a couple of hours reading the comments on other bombs. Totally comes under making space for creativity and developing my art.

      • Betsy

        Beautiful Nik – always nice to cyber connect with you!!!! and yes by all means develop your beautiful art 🙂

      • Defah Dattner

        Hey Nik – you rock! You are welcome to our comments any day of the week xxxx

    • Defah Dattner

      Hey Bets! Oh I do love more than anything in the world spending a day on my own listening to the entire Beatles collection and sorting out my odd cut offs in the sewing cupboard. This luxurious ‘nothing’ time often leads to the kind of peace of mind that we all imagine takes a guru one whole lifetime to achieve. I do agree with you that coupling our skills allows us to flourish. I would love that we all get a bit of time away from the S#!T – big love to you Bets xx

      • Betsy

        Deef – This made me go aaaaahhhhh and smile deep inside 🙂 I feel like we need to remind each other so often to do pretty much the opposite of what our westernised, capitalistic culture pushes.DO DO DO DO DO SPEND SPEND SPEND etc…. I am a fan of Not Do so much and hey lets pat a dog, or grown some beans. Love you xx

  • Rose Brown

    I remember hearing Wally’s music on JJJ well over a decade ago now and finding his music style so exciting and fresh. I love his enthusiasm and reverence of sounds overlooked by the mainstream. Picking up samples and instruments from obscure places he just has this ability to hear things most everyone else looks over. I got super excited when he said he has been picking up unnamed tapes and reels from op shops, it gave me goosebumps because I have a collection of old tapes from my childhood of recordings, songs and talking I used to do with my parents and siblings and of course I run an op-shop and I too love this past-time. I dig his views on finances and well, this whole inspiration bomb just makes my Wally-meter rise even more, he is just such a swell guy 🙂 Thanks CB 🙂 PS: Tash’s artwork was a lovely compliment to watch, I didn’t know she also painted 🙂

    • Defah Dattner

      Hey Rose, thank you for your comments. I agree with you especially about the tapes. Sometimes I look at my kids with their smartphones and wonder how they will keep anything permanently. Even thought they have 1,000,000 million photos it seems as if most of what we record now is transient. We were lucky to have tapes, even though they wear out, there is a certain quality about holding this little memory in your hand. And yes, I was so pleasantly impressed by the coupling of the two artists. What a couple hey!