Sunday, November 20, 2011


With every stage and every set of eyes Yelle has performed in front of this year, she has connected with her audience and made a new fan each and every time. Just ask anyone that saw her at the Gobi tent at Coachella this year, they will confirm these opening remarks. Interesting enough, for the French artist known as Yelle, she has managed to make a name for herself and her band without even singing a lick of anything in English. This is an interesting feat in it itself simply because, many foreign acts are forced to sing or chose to sing in English to gain much more attention, for Yelle it is all about their homeland pride. In an exclusive interview (not conducted in French) we spoke to Yelle as she and her band embarked on a headlining tour of the US clubs in support of their latest album, the dance-tacular Safari Disco Club. Take a look at our interview with Yelle below.

Your latest album, “Safari Disco Club,” where does the title come from?

It basically comes from the song Safari Disco Club. When the album was done and we were looking for a title, we just picked up the song title that was the most inspiring , including visually… Safari + Disco gives a lot of ideas!!!

How was the experience making “Safari Disco Club?”

We had actually all the time we wanted to focus on it as we only do music now, and no deadlines because we also now have our own label (Recreation Center). We first rented a house in the countryside of Brittany, in France (our far west!) to start writing the album. Then we spent a lot of time in our home studio… with sometimes a lot of inspiration, creating 3 songs in a week, and sometimes nothing for 2 months! Ideas always come from nowhere, while driving, whistling, or just having a word or two in mind, a punchline, a beat in the laptop, a weird sound that we absolutely want to use (for example that can sound in Safari Disco Club) and then we build things around, like a snow ball, finishing in the studio! We basically wanted to release single songs, as soon as the song would have been done, not so much thinking of an album format. But we are finally very happy and proud of the result: our album is made of singles yet is totally cohesive as a whole! It has to be strong!

The album cover is very playful and fun, who came up with the idea for Yelle’s outfit?

Jean-Fran├žois Perrier (GrandMarnier) had this in mind for a long time. He is the mastermind. He shared it with Jean-Paul Lespagnard, our Belgian designer friend, and the magic happened! Jean-Paul is really good with double-taste things, and the album is made of this all way long… so the safari/disco thing was perfect for him!

How did the band originate?

GrandMarnier was making loops on his laptop 6 years ago and he guested me to sing on it. When we decided to play live, we guested Tanguy Destable (Tepr) to play the keys and at the same time we finished the first album. After 3 years of touring "Pop Up", then a year in the studio making Safari Disco Club, we are a real trio now!

Being an electronic based French pop band coming to the US, how has it been playing shows here?

AND with French lyrics too!

Playing here is always a blast. We love the US so much. People, spirit, landscapes, energy, everything fit us really well (ok, maybe not the size of the food ahah!). And the crowd is so into it! It's impressive how much we can share love and energy with you guys, so direct! Boom!

Is there a language barrier or is music truly the universal language?

Not at all! And it's very funny because it reminds us when we were teenagers, yelling English lyrics that we didn't understand at all, we call it "singing yoghurt" in France! It's all about energy, and people can feel what the lyrics are about anyway, they match the music. Magical!

France has had such an impact on music the past few years with yourselves, Phoenix, Justice, Busy P’s Ed Banger Records, Tahiti 80 and of course Daft Punk. Is France where music’s biggest scene is now?

It's hard to say. I don't really feel comfortable with the idea of a "French scene". You know, we come from Brittany, in a small city called Saint-Brieuc, it's like being from anywhere else in the world, there is no "touch", no "network" there. Everybody has the same network now, internet! There is no barrier anymore, so many cool bands from everywhere… The biggest scene is the world! Ok, I sound a bit hippie right now but I believe it!

Who are some of your biggest inspirations?

I would say Kate Bush and Dave Gahan. So WOW. But i wouldn't say they are inspirations, because actually everything can inspire me. They are icons for me, icons of modern pop.

Is France and the town you come from an inspiration to your music?

Well, my friends, my family, what i live is inspiration. So France and my town too. But I can't explain it that much, it's just about moods. We don't have any song about "galette saucisse" (sausage crepe, typical food from Saint-Brieuc!). ahah!

Do you ever plan to record in English?

We don't know how to write in English in a clever/creative way yet… It's easy to play with French words, but I don't want to sing "basic English" just because I am not fluent. But I don't say no, we'll see… I am thinking about covering classic American Country songs actually :)

You have been touring the world for years now, what has been your favorite place?

Wow, choosing a place is very complicated. We love so many countries… if I had to pick up a "crush", I would say Chile maybe.

You recently played Coachella and the crowd seemed to respond in such positive ways. What was that experience like for you?

That was the second time for us at Coachella (we played there in 2008), so we were even more excited! We had some technical problems that frustrated us a bit but the crowd was SO crazy! That was insane!!! We loved it so much, incredible experience.