It seems that Gotye has been everywhere this year — headlining music festivals, topping the iTunes charts, dominating the radio dial — and now, Gotye has expanded his empire to the Lower Haight.
Yesterday, the Australian musician (whose real name is Wally De Backer, FYI), dropped by Robotspeak at 589 1/2 Haight Street and did a little shopping.
“He just looked like a guy on Haight Street. He totally fit in with the Haight Street look,” says Robotspeak owner Steve Taormina, admitting that he initially didn’t recognize the singer.
“He was here with his girlfriend and a tech guy,” Taormina tells Haighteration. “Totally down to earth, nice, normal guy. His girlfriend was nice too.”
Taormina says musicians often visit Robotspeak in the downtime before or between performances (Gotye had a show on Sunday at the Fox Theater in Oakland). They seek out his synth shop for rare or special equipment to add to their collections.
Gotye ended up purchasing the Pocket Piano MIDI by Critter & Guitari, which Robotspeak sells for $275 (pictured at top, center).
“[It's] this unique, almost homemade-looking synthesizer that has a really unique sound,” Taormina says. “The guy had never seen the thing. I pointed it out — it sounds awesome, it’s cheap, it’s just a really different kind of keyboard. It has really cool arpeggiators, wooden keys, and is just a really musical, fun synth.”
After hooking the synth up to a MIDI, and then connecting to a Moog Minitaur, Gotye started playing the Pocket Piano — and Taormina was impressed.
“He was playing some really cool stuff. I told him it sounded great.”
But it wasn’t until checkout time that Taormina learned the shopper’s identity.
“I didn’t know who he was until he gave me his email address.”
After Gotye left, Taormina began chatting with another customer in the shop, who Taormina believes was Australian. “Do you know who that was?” Taormina asked. When told that the previous shopper was Gotye, and that he had purchased a Pocket Piano, the customer immediately bought one for himself.
If you’re still concerned that you might not recognize Gotye when he inevitably comes to your block, or if you somehow haven’t heard this song in a while, we leave you with Gotye’s smash, “Somebody That I Used To Know”: