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- Posted on Oct 4th 2012 4:30PM by Melody Lau
"I just don't write very much," De Backer tells Spinner. "It takes a lot for me to go, 'This is an idea worth pursuing that nobody has either written about or written about in quite this way.'"
Influences are bound to seep into De Backer's multifaceted sound -- many say his #1 single bares resemblance to a number of Sting's songs -- but his rolodex of references is something that often holds him back from writing more songs than he'd like to.
"I'm aware of the references so I just find it harder and harder to kind of start on stuff," explains De Backer. "It's very easy to shut yourself down when you listen to a lot of music and you start to get a context of all the amazing things going on.
"There are people in very specific niches pushing forward in really specific ways and if you're aware of that stuff, it can be very stunting. You start going, 'Someone's done that, nope, nope, nope. That's not original, it's not unique.' Every so often, I'll give myself licence to write, say, a '60s Detroit Motown song unironically, very directly because I wanted to write a three-minute pop song in that style and it wouldn't take me more than a second to say that's not particularly original, but I guess it fulfills a certain function on the record."
Although he may be tuned in to various types of music, when asked what his thoughts were on the current state of the pop charts, a place he's been comfortably sitting on all summer, he almost rolls his eyes at it.
"I don't really care," admits De Backer. "There are some fantastic songs being written and some really clever things being done with production and some great performers, but similarly in the indie or experimental world, there is also a bunch of stuff that's really shitty, so you've got all sorts of stuff across the spectrum. I'm just looking for good music and something that speaks to me."
A rising pop star that does have De Backer's attention is his fellow collaborator Kimbra. Having split vocal duties on "Somebody That I Used to Know," the pair are hoping to strike success again. De Backer reveals that the singer has been sending him demos lately and he's not only impressed, but is now faced with the task of trying to think of ways to contribute to said tracks.
"I really like some of the demos she's got, they sound really exciting," says De Backer. "Some of it is really minimal and since some of the stuff on her record is really dense and complex stuff -- as far as pop music goes -- I just think sometimes I want to hear a really minimal thing with her singing on top.
"I was trying to write some things, but being on the road I can't really, so I haven't sent anything back to her yet, but I would love to do more stuff with her. It's just time and context. Contrary to what I was saying earlier, she's a very prolific writer."