“I want to give something more to people, being on stage must not be a casual thing, it’s something special.”
(C) GREGOIRE ALEXANDRE
Yelle isn’t a stranger to international touring and relentless interview requests. In 2007 Yelle’s debut album Pop Up was released and hit the airwaves, the French airwaves. You see, the album peaked at number sixty-one on the French Albums Chart, but it took until early 2008 for America to get their hands on it. Many heard Yelle’s powerfully catchy, pointed pop via internet resources. But, like many French delicacies, you can’t listen to Yelle just once. You immerse yourself in the music, dance to it, look up the lyrics and translations, watch the hilariously campy music videos.
Yelle recently released her sophomore album, Safari Disco Club and somehow one-upped herself. The trio that forms the collective group Yelle (GrandMarnier on drums, Tepr with the keyboard melodies and Yelle, a.k.a. Julie Budet) set out to prove that Yelle is more than your typical, disposable and nonsensical French electro-pop on Safari Disco Club. With a more refined and complex sound, the three tirelessly continue to tour internationally in support of the album. While there aren’t any plans to hit St. Louis yet, you can check out Yelle as she dances in to your heart this weekend in Chicago (Friday, May 6), Minneapolis (Saturday, May 7) or Madison (Sunday, May 8). If you can’t make it in to the great Midwest this weekend your next best bet would be to read this interview while bumping Safari Disco Club at inexplicably loud volumes.
As someone who comes from somewhere Americans view as exotic and fashionable, you get asked a lot about your wardrobe. Do you put any thought in to what you’ll be wearing on stage? Does it change from venue to venue or from city to city?
Well, being dressed specifically for the shows is a really important thing to me. I want to give something more to people, being on stage must not be a casual thing, it’s something special. I try to get a maximum of possibilities but it’s hard to change that much, unless you have an additional truck for your wardrobe, ahah!
When you write lyrics for songs that are already sequenced or recorded, do you set the lyrics to fit exactly to the music of is there a lot of editing or lyric changing?
GrandMarnier writes a main part of the lyrics, and we finish them together when we record. Everything can fit everything, sometimes the music is changed for the lyrics, and sometimes it’s the opposite. No rules but it has to be the most musical for sure!
What creates the delay between national and international releases? What would you change about that delay if you could?
It’s only about press matching. If you release your album in a country which is not ready to put some highlights on your release it’s useless, people don’t even know you are releasing something. In an ideal world, like the big pop stars have, it’s a worldwide interest at the same time, with the same date. But then another problem is coming: you have to be available for everybody at the same time…so yeah it’s kind of nightmare to organise!
Pop Up had more of a “rap” feel as you sung lyrics with a quick pace, Safari Disco Club doesn’t have the same rap feel, instead it’s more of a vocal spotlight and more carefully presented singing. Was that a conscious change or difference?
It’s a natural change. I love singing, more and more, having harmonies, etc. And we often have ides while whistling…so it’s melodies. Regarding the composition, it’s also a great way to build something more rich, using those harmonies, and it doesn’t affect rhythms at all. I would actually say the opposite, if you listen to the Safari Disco Club rhythms, the rhythms are more “risky” than on Pop-Up, for example “Mon Pays” is based on a songo rhythm.
Do you think there will be as long of a gap between this new album and a potential third album? What would play in to the gap or the time off?
I don’t know. It will depend on the length of the tour, which might be a little shorter because the release is worldwide almost at the same time. But it depends on inspiration! First thing! You never know, and that’s what is magical, and also scary!
Do you enjoy seeing Americans singing along with your songs? Is it easy for you spot people who are just kind of faking the French?
Ahaha, yeah I love it, it’s so funny. It reminds me of when I fake English! It shows something so strong actually, so untouchable, just energy!
What are some of the things that you can not travel without while on tour?
It’s easy, and it is the same answer for all of us: our computer. I wish I could tell you we have special funny objects ahah! But the main thing to not become too crazy is to keep in touch with your family and friends! On the road we like to buy funny things and keep them with us like really cliché things.
Do you have any favorite cities that you play? Are there any cities you haven’t played yet that you’d like to play in the future (like, St. Louis perhaps)?
We have something special with Austin, Texas. We do love that city. But we are actually loving a lot of American cities…they are so close and so different at the same time, it’s fascinating. And yes, St. Louis! Why not?! We are curious, always. | Jenn Metzler
Originally posted at Playback:STL, May 5, 2011.