Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Sebastian Tellier Interview

This one was for the viceland.com blog

Sebastian Tellier Wants To Make You Moan

You know Sebastian Tellier. French guy? Beard? Shades? Loads of hair? La Ritournelle? Yep that’s the one. While Tellier remains most well-remembered for La Ritournelle’s perfect marriage of glacial production and jabbing, longing strings that yelped like yearning broken hearts crying into wells of despair there are far more strings to the hirsute Parisian’s bow than you may realise. Not least of all an appetite for fucking that makes Russell Brand look like a sexually repressed seven year old Catholic convent kid with penis hatred. This prominent preoccupation of young Sebastian’s formed the central influence and subject for his third LP which he worked on with Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo entitled erm… “Sexuality”. We caught up with Tellier in a plush Bloomsbury hotel where he was sipping vodka and orange with his shirt splayed alarmingly. I was scared.

Hey Sebastian how’s things?
Very good. I feel filled with life. But I must apologise as my English- it is very bad. I might use a bad word. I am sorry.

That’s ok. I don’t know how to say anything in French other than: “where is the hairdressers?”. Why do each of your records have a titular theme? Surely that just narrows down what you can write about. Like only singing songs about green socks or something.
I try to take inspiration from a single thing. For example on “Sexuality” I took inspiration from my own sexual fantasies and my own sexual experiences. I think that is the challenge for the artist. To translate these everyday things into something universal. Something with music that is in the state of perfection.

Have you reached the state of perfection yet?
La Ritournelle is an exampl. I have not reached that again. That song was written when I was in love with a girl who did not love me. That was a powerful state of emotions. That mix of happiness and sadness. In general I prefer to make special things out of the mundane.

Like making a song about fried breakfasts?
That is very English. No, more just normal life. For example in Paris I do not live in the chi chi area where everyone pretends to be a bohemian and does nothing all day except maybe drink coffee and smoke cigarettes. I live in the business district where it is all very clean. Many straight lines.

As well as straight lines you seem to be big into sex. What is about sex that gets you going?
Sexuality is a natural no? I want to make music that excites women. For me sex is very involved with love. Sexual love is the greatest feeling. The album is my musical representation of perfect sex. I try to explain to the world the Latin concept of sex.

Do you have a girlfriend?
Yes. She is my muse. On the record there are many samples of female moaning. That was my girlfriend. I took her into the recording booth and fingered her sensually. Those moans are moans of sexual pleasure.

Right. The record was produced by Guy-Man from Daft Punk, how was that?
It was the first time I had worked with him and for me to work with the man who has achieved such great things with Daft Punk was a dream. In the studio he gave me confidence and allowed me to achieve my dream.

Did he wear his helmet in the studio?
No. It would be very hot.

You have also done stuff with Tony Allen and Mr. Oizo. Do you just like getting other people to do the work for you?
I have a great imagination and image of my songs. These other musicians allow me to realize these imaginings. They allow me to live my dream life. I am lucky to have these people making my dreams with me who are geniuses and masters

Is there anyone you have not worked with who you would like to in the future?
Prince would be the ultimate but he said no to Michael Jackson so this may be impossible. Working with Guy-Man was like working with a god though. Not a king, a god.

Do you feel any affinity with the Paris Ed Banger scene?
I am not part of that scene but I am a very big fan of Sebastian. In his music you here the night. The dance and the sweat. I like Oizo obviously and Air and Phoenix.

You recently posed for Playboy. I missed that. Did you get stuff out?
No it was just a fashion shoot. And Playboy is for the guys. They do not want to see guy’s stuff. They want to see a beautiful woman. I am always happy to be in magazines though. It makes me happy.

James Ford from Simian Mobile Disco once told me that he gets musical inspiration from space through his afro. Do you get yours through your beard?
No, my face is just in need of covering.

You look a little like ‘The Dude’ from the Big Lebowski.
That is better than saying I look like a fat Vincent Gallo. A girl once said that to me. I was not happy.

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