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Old 07-19-2012, 02:55 PM
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Default TMC Interviews - Yelle: On pop, Perry and bad posture

Julie Budet is wearing a dress made of CDs. Only a certain kind of beauty can pull off a dress made of CDs.

Tripping onto stage in her own inimitable workout-video swagger, said dress lights up the faces of the front-row like a bouncing mirror ball. Behind her, eyes fixed on the decks, is Jean-François Perrier, aka GrandMarnier – Julie’s other half (who also, coincidentally, happens to be the other half of Yelle). They haven’t been playing 5 minutes and already they’ve taken the roof clean off.

This tour was originally intended to be fully live and was scheduled later in the year, but Budet, like Adele, developed nodes on her vocal chords and began having issues with her voice. Sadly, they had to cancel, but despite the fact that tonight, Julie is singing over backing tracks, the energy is tangible. The crowd is sweaty, the bass is loud and even though I’m poking out from KOKO’s cavernous backstage, I’m having a hard time keeping my fist out of the air.

It’s been about a year since Yelle’s last record was released into the eager hands of their fanbase. Safari Disco Club felt more carefully crafted than debut Pop Up, but singles like Que Veux Tu still spill over with the same brand of infectious, noisy electropop, making the relatively grand surroundings of London’s most popular indie disco venue feel like the front room of someone’s house party. The amount of painted queers throwing shapes on the balcony helps. Fans make a show of mouthing the words; certainly a feat when you consider that the French duo have never released a song in English (despite a considerable amount of pressure from their less open-minded international following).

Had I not met the impossibly good-looking twosome backstage an hour before, I would have been a bit intimidated. But if this were an actual house party I suspect Julie and Jean-François would be the sort of people you’d meet in the kitchen, talking about interesting stuff and hijacking the stereo to play music you wish you’d heard of. Earlier, after Lemon Tart and I had climbed the implausibly huge staircase to Yelle’s dressing room, Julie had made us a drink, which as I’m sure you probably know should really have happened the other way around. During our chat, she was self-effacing, sweet and incredibly easy to be around, happy to get changed in the same room as us when she found out we were pushed for time (I of course averted my eyes.. I can’t vouch for LT). Slightly tipsy on vodka and cranberry juice, we talked Katy Perry, damp basement clubs and the French countryside.

So, you have a massive gay following… what is about electropop that gets the gays excited?

I don’t know! *laughs*

It does seem to be somewhat ‘our genre’…

Well, I think the gay community is really into having fun and partying and I think we connect in this way… we like to have fun on stage, in our lives, and we are doing happy music. It’s a connection with cool people!

Have you ever been tempted to ‘get serious’ with your music and make a really ‘deep’ record?

I think it’s possible to to happy music with melancholic lyrics, and to talk about something really happy over really sad music. We are deeply happy people, but of course we have bad days and bad stories and we want to talk about that too. Maybe in the second album we tried to be a little bit more honest. But it’s okay, because it’s always danceable…

I guess your second album is a lot darker and heavier than the first album – was that a conscious decision?

Absolutely not. In fact the only prior decision was that we wanted to produce more… we wanted to take more time on the record. We spent probably more time than ever on each song to get them to be the best they could be. It was of course the case for the first album, but we were in a rush…

‘Cause you didn’t have a deadline for Safari Disco Club right?

No we didn’t. For the first we were working during the day, and making music in the night or duirng the weekend. It was not the same energy at all. For the second album we were much more focused.

I know some people quite like that work/music balance ’cause it helps them grounded. When you become a star, is it more difficult to get the inspiration than when you’re living in a shitty one bedroom flat scribbling lyrics on old receipts?

I don’t know.. we still live in Brittany in the countryside so… We don’t live in Paris. Y’know.. I like Paris for two days and then I’m sick of it! *laughs*

That’s like London for a lot of people.

It’s too much for me. But I think I really found a balance between my life on tour, y’know, something crazy and fun where you meet new people every day, and something more quiet at home with my friends and family doing normal things. It really helps us to find inspiration because we have both parts.. it’s sometimes a bit schizophrenic…

I wanted to ask you specifically about your lyrics. You’ve had massive success in English speaking countries, but you’ve refused to sing in English. Quite a lot of your US fans have been a bit antsy about this. Do you find that attitude frustrating? And does it annoy you when you realise that a lot of your fanbase don’t necessarily know what you’re singing about?

It’s really important to keep the French, because it’s easier for us to write in French, to sing in French, to express ourselves in French. So it’s not something we’ll change at the moment. But it’s a really funny exercise. We did a Frenglish song with the Crookers. As you can hear my accent is pretty bad and my English is awful, so singing in English probably isn’t a great idea…

Your English is great… maybe it would be harder to get the emotion across though?

Yeah, I think it’s harder to write in English. It’s something that’s really weird for me and I’m not ready for it. But I totally understand that people can be frustrated when they come to the show because they don’t understand what we’re singing…

I mean it the other way ’round! I meant, would you find it frustrating? Especially since your lyrics are pretty bad-ass?

Sometimes it’s… for example, when I sing the song Mon Pays. It’s a little bit frustrating because the song talks about how I love my country, but I’d love to live anywhere else, and I would love for people to understand it at that moment, on stage, with the music, with everything. But sometimes I’m like ‘urgh’ *laughs* Most of the time, it’s okay because I play a lot with my body and I try to express myself in another way, other than words…

So what’s happening with your voice? You mentioned you’ve been having problems?

Yes.. but I’m okay. My singing teacher, she told me “Okay, you really really have to do this tour, but if you have to do this you need backing vocals, it could get worse and worse if you continue to sing”, so there are voices in the mix supporting me. I’ve had a singing teacher for two years – I didn’t have one for the first album, but I realised for the second I needed one!

It’s one of those things where I think you don’t notice the difference unless you do it. You must have been worried about loosing your voice?

It was scary when I was at the doctor’s. I went to see a vocal specialist and they put a camera in my throat, and I saw my vocal chords and he was saying ‘Hey, you see those little bumps? You’re not supposed to have them’. They were getting bigger and bigger, and he said I could loose my voice for real. Because I’m dancing a lot, I had really bad posture when singing, so having a teacher has helped a lot! But it’s a good thing because I realised I could really sing. And I worked nearly every day, and realised my voice could be … how do say…


Yes, my range was a lot bigger than a realised. If you work on it, it’s like a muscle, you can get so much better.

So, how many times have you played in London?

Not many times. We toured with Katy Perry for one month one year ago, and did three shows on our own here. We came two or three times in 2008 – 2009. And we were suposed to do a tour in May and June, but because of my voice we decided to cancel.

The music you make is very ‘electropop’, and the genre isn’t crazy big over here, aside from with the queers… do you find that the crowds differ from country to country?

The last time we played it was an 800 capacity venue, and it was packed. There were no backstage, it was really underground. People were throwing their instruments into the crowd and it was so so crazy! It was the same in Brighton and Manchester. But I think it’s more difficult with the French language here than in the US. Here in the UK you have a big pop music culture, you have many really good bands, and you don’t need to have a little French band coming over and singing in French!… in the US maybe it’s a bit different because it’s a crazy big country, there is space for everything – pop, country, electronica. Having said that, we’ve had such a great reception here.

London crowds are notoriously difficult to move! Your carefree nature is very infectious.

Yes – French people are definitely more focused. It’s quite hard to put them in a dancey mood, because they are more focused on the lyrics.

Here, the only thing people have to go on is the sound, but if you know the lyrics it totally changes things…

Yes, absolutely.

Let’s talk Katy Perry. How did that all happen?

In fact, she’d been following us for a long time. I remember on our first tour in the US, it was the beginning for her, and she was always talking about us. And we were like, it’s crazy, and it’s funny because the PR that we had on the first record was a really good friend of her stylist, and she told me ‘oh, she’s really inspired by you and she really loves your style’. And then two years ago we met her at Coachella, just like that. She was eating a hamburger. And…erm, she was telling me, I’m finishing my album and I’m going to be on tour and I’d love to have you open for me. But of course, because it was a festival and I though ‘maybe she’s a little bit high’ *laughs* but then we received a message on twitter and she actually confirmed it. We were suposed to do the whole European tour, but we needed to do our own tour too, so we just did the UK leg. It was a great experince for us because KP fans are really obsessed with her, they are waiting for her, they are totally into it, so we had thirty minutes every night to try and get their attention. It was a challenge. Her fan base became really friendly with us. I know she’s really involved in making these decisions. When she wants something she gets it – she wanted Robyn and Marina and the Diamonds and she got them…

The job of supporting someone is very different I guess.

Of course… and it was. I think it was in Manchester, I made a stop in a Mac store because I needed some make-up, and I was talking to the girl there and I told her that I was opening for Katy Perry. And she said ‘oh, I would love to come!’. So I guested her and her boyfriend. But she didn’t know who I was, and after the gig she texted me and said she loved it. What’s great is when you’re supporting, you’re able to have that personal connection with fans. Although it was tricker to have a real relationship with Katy, because she’s always surrounded by 5 or 6 people. You can’t really have a real conversation and build something stronger. Y’know, we opened up for Mika, in France, for one month, and we had a real connection with him, we started a really friendship. Katy’s an American girl, and there’s definitely something different there.

That must suck from her perspective too, not having a minute to yourself...

And she is so nice, because she spends two hours every day with her fans. She really takes care of them. At each show there’s a meet and greet. It’s funny because her sister takes cake of some of it, it’s a really family thing. But Katy’s really devoted to her fans, and she’s really young actually.

23, 24… my age actually... depressing.

Yes! And you know, she wanted a party every night, she just wanted to have fun. And she was married as well..

Did Russell come along?

I think two or three times, but it’s not a life. I mean, I’m lucky, I have the chance to tour with my boyfriend… it’s really cool to have the same experience, to live these things together.

And tricky sometimes too?

Yep. It’s weird sometimes *laughs* … we need some air every now and then! But it works!

The fact that you’ve got a boyfriend could potentially disappoint the massive queue of lesbians we saw hanging around outside… we should probably text them…

No! Don’t text them…. *laughs* I’m totally single. And totally bisexual.

And finally, your favourite cake?

I think it’s banana cake, covered with cream.
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:52 AM
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JeT'aimeToujours JeT'aimeToujours is offline
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Super awesome interview!!! And oh là là, she's "totally bisexual"? Listen, if Julie ever has a good time with some girls, be sure to post those pictures for the male straight Yelle-rs
"Si tu continues comme ca j'appelle mes hommes pour qu'ils t'assomment."
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Old 07-30-2012, 12:14 PM
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Peje Peje is offline
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:d:d:d:d = o

Originally Posted by jet'aimetoujours View Post
super awesome interview!!! And oh là là, she's "totally bisexual"? Listen, if julie ever has a good time with some girls, be sure to post those pictures for the male straight yelle-rs
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interview, the bad cake, yelle

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