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Interview with Sebastien Tellier

22 AUG 2012 | Posted By: timoshea_120159

Interview with Sebastien Tellier

Sebastien Tellier
Sebastien Tellier
Sebastien Tellier
Sebastien Tellier
Sebastien Tellier
Sebastien Tellier
Sebastien Tellier
Sebastien Tellier
Sebastien Tellier
Sebastien Tellier
Sebastien Tellier has a lovely beard, wrote a whole album about sex and is French. Sebastien Tellier was a contestant in the Eurovision Song Contest and he has a new album. This was the extent of my knowledge on the subject of Sebastien Tellier when Lifelounge’s editor asked me to speak to Sebastien Tellier.

Lovely guy that he is, my editor also sent me a link to Sebastien Tellier’s new album My God Is Blue. Are you familiar with the term eargasm? It was invented to describe this album. Mr Flash and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo (one half of Daft Punk) helped Sebastien Tellier achieve this level of aural delight. They are also French. I’m not sure if they have lovely beards. Do robots have beards? What is it like having a robot produce a song on your album? There were so many questions I had for Sebastien Tellier. Thankfully he was a stand up guy and was more than happy to answer them. Below is an interview with Sebastien Tellier. It’s best read with a French accent.

Tim O’Shea: Hello
Sebastian Tellier: Hello, I am Sebastian.

TO: Hello Sebastian, my name is Tim.
ST: Yes, hello.

TO: How are you?
ST: …Fine, very well, I’m on my sofa at home, smoking a joint of weed. It’s very good…. I drink Perrier. Life is wonderful.

TO: Sorry, did you say you’re at home smoking weed and drinking Perrier?
ST: Yes

TO: Wow, that’s wonderful
ST: Yes, it’s a good way of life. I like to smoke weed because the reality of my personality. Weed helps me be quiet and cool. I’ve never tried cocaine. But I think if I don’t have weed I would become depressed. The reality of my life is really sad, but it’s okay God gave me weed so I smoke it.

TO: Your last album was about sex. The new album seems to be about religion and spirituality. Can we expect the subject of your next album to be about marijuana?
ST: Well one day, why not? But not the next album, because when I was twenty I wrote down what I wanted to do in my career, so I knew after Sexuality it would be a spiritual album. The next one will not be about marijuana.

TO: So you planned out all your albums quite a long time ago, even down to the order?
ST: Yes, well at this time when I was twenty it’s not like I needed a goal or a path. When I was twenty, one night I just wrote down every kind of album I would like to do in my life, like about God, about family. That would be fantastic to do, it was just a dream, but I wrote it and now I have a little book, it’s full. When I try to do something different it doesn’t work, its crazy but each time the book recalls me, I go back to my book, I respect my book.

TO: That’s a very interesting process. I pictured you writing an album about what you felt at the time, not something you had predetermined so long ago.
ST: For me my process is nothing special, it’s very natural to me because for me I understand what is important in music. It’s the human soul; it’s trying to find the answer to the human mind. In my music I don’t try to find new notes, I try to describe my mind, my point of view of the world, when I’m dead and you listen to all my albums, it will be like a painting of the human mind.

TO: That’s quite a legacy. How do you then write melodies and rhythms to suit the subject?
ST: Well it’s very important to have the subject before the music, because when you are in front of your piano, or with your guitar you are so free, you are too free. You are lost, because me for example, and a lot of other musicians, when you sit down at the piano you can play rock or a ballad, everything is possible you and can play anything you want. This freedom, it’s a good thing, but at the same time it’s a bad thing because you are too free, too lost. For me to not be lost I need a subject. With that I just play the piano with my eyes closed, I play nothing special, I play like a child and sometimes I find a few notes or a few chords to explain my subject. So the subject is very important, I play to find something. Without that process I’m lost and I could take 10 years to make an album. But with a subject I just take one year.

TO: So the subject keeps you in line?
ST: Yes the subject is more important, it’s the soul of a musician.

TO: You’ve talked about the creative side to your music, but I’d like to ask you about to performance side of your music. One performance in particular, which may be your most famous, was Eurovision. You might not be aware but Eurovision has quite a following in Australia despite us not actually competing. Could you please talk about your time at Eurovision?
ST: Yes, of course, of course, well firstly it was fantastic. For me this night, the night of the Eurovision Song Contest, it was better than a nightclub, it was better than a discothèque, it was crazy, it was so fun. I got to drive the little car, you know, the golf cart? We were backstage and I was completely drunk. It was so funny to do that. Also, all the people backstage were completely crazy because Eurovision Contest is a contest of freaks. So in the backstage was like Olympic Games but individuals…. and not at all stylish. The pleasure for me to do Eurovision was to sing my song to millions and millions of people because it’s a huge chance in Europe. It was a real pleasure because my music is not completely pop, and it was a pleasure to call my family and friends and say “Hey you know what? I’m doing Eurovision Song Contest”. It was a kind of wonderful joke. But after that, it was something really wonderful in my career. In northern Europe, Eurovision is very important, in like Sweden and Norway. So when I toured there it was completely different, no more just an intellectual scene, it was full of young girls screaming, jumping and singing with me you know? So Eurovision Song Contest gave me a new audience, a fresh audience, it was a great pleasure because it put my music in the mainstream. It was a pleasure to discover that and do well with that and have success.

TO: It must have been nice to fill such a mainstream event with alternative music?
ST: It’s hard to do now because the music world is completely crazy now, it’s crashing down, it’s hard to do anything with feeling. For example it’s hard to play with real strings, with real brass. It’s hard to play for a long time in a studio, in an expensive studio. Everything in music is hard. So it was like a victory for me. For me as an artist it’s a war to do my music, it takes a lot of money, my studio was really expensive and it’s hard to find the money, even for the video clip it’s hard to find the money. Everything is hard. But sometimes there’s a victory.

TO: Before you go, I wanted to ask you about the collaborators you worked with on this album – Mr. Flash from the Ed Banger label and Guy-Manuel from Daft Punk. Have you returned the favour and collaborated on their respective albums, or can you tell us anything about their future releases?
ST: I have heard a few tracks from Mr. Flash for his new album that will be really, really, really fantastic. Guy-Man from Daft Punk, we talked about his new album with Daft Punk of course but I can’t tell you about that, it’s a secret, it’s completely a secret. For me I would like to say but I can’t. Guy-Man, for me, he’s a genius. He recreated the production of music with Daft Punk. It was a new point of view with music, a new feeling. So for me it was really important to work with this kind of guy because I need his power, I need his intelligence, I need his brain. It was very important for me to work with this kind of guy to discover something better than me, to produce something stronger than me that helps me to grow. So I got to work with Mr. Flash, with Guy-Man to grow up in my own artistic life.

TO: Yes, of course a lot of people are aware of Guy-man’s production prowess, but Mr. Flash’s production on your album was incredible too. I feel a little embarrassed but I’m not too aware of him.
ST: Almost no one knows Mr. Flash, but he’s a huge musician, a huge producer. I think because Mr. Flash has a very bad relationship with life, so he doesn’t try to have the success. He works alone in a very small room, and always alone, completely crazy in front of a computer you know? I think Mr. Flash didn’t search for success.

TO: Yeah, it seems a shame, because I found his production amazing, I don’t know why he isn’t huge.
ST: That’s exactly my point of view. But I’m sure after this album Mr. Flash will have more success, it will be good for him. But I will say that to him, it will be a pleasure for him to hear that from you.

TO: So, can we look forward to seeing you on our shores anytime soon?
ST: Yes yes, I don’t have the exactly the dates, but for sure in six months or something like that. For me it’s really important, because last time I went to Australia I went to a wonderful festival, ah Parklife? It was wonderful and I really like Australia. It was swell in Australia. I ate Japanese food, it was fantastic. I miss the Australian beach and the Australian sun and the Australian sky. It’s really great. So yes I’m looking forward to it, yes.

TO: Okay, well we look forward to seeing you here. Thanks for talking to me.
ST: Thank you very much, bye. Thank you, Thank you.

My God Is Blue out September 7

WORDS: Tim O'Shea
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