Sebastian Tellier: “Even if your pleasure is a firework in the arse, you’re welcome in my community”
Mon 20th Aug, 2012 Featuresin
After reinventing himself for his albums Politics and Sexuality, raunchy Frenchman Sebastian Tellier has done it again with My God Is Blue. And having whet Australian appetites at Parklife 2011, there are plenty of eager disciples waiting to feast on this latest offering. Continuing in the theme of the video for teaser track Pépito Bleu, My God Is Blue creates a sumptuous, provocative visual and musical world. The package that Tellier has put together for this album is loaded with retro symbolism and includes one of the more risqué videos – for Cochon Ville – you’re likely to clap eyes on. From Alex Courtès (responsible for The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army and Wolfmother’s Woman ), the euphoric romp seemed like a good place to start our conversation.
There’s a lot going on in the video for Cochon Ville. I read into it a commentary on cultism, on the dangers of following people like rock stars or idols. Are people doing that with you?
For me, the message is of freedom. I’ve created a community named Alliance Blue, and in this community we feel welcome to every kind of sexual way of life. You know, it’s just to say, “Hey, even if your pleasure is to have a firework in your arse, you are welcome in this community.” That’s the message of this video. It’s just to say, don’t forget that life can be a source of pleasure.
Would you say My God Is Blue is your comment on religion?
For me, My God is Blue is an album about faith. I try to say to our newspapers, to my community: don’t forget about religion, because religion is a base to be happy. And by religion I mean the spiritual side of life. Because now in the U.S. or Europe or Australia, you know, we are afraid about religion. We are afraid about spiritual side of life. And I say, don’t be afraid. Don’t forget to be spiritual.
That would explain things. How did the music come together?
That took me maybe one year to compose all the songs. I’d written it to have a subject to compose [around], because in front of the piano everything is possible. So I needed to create a subject. After that I play the piano and I close my eyes. I play, I play, play, play, and sometimes I find notes completely explain what I want to explain, you know? So I open my eyes, I check where are my fingers, and that’s the beginning of the song. And after that I work around a few notes, and I work on it to create a real song.
Can you talk about the influence of Ed Banger’s Mr Flash on this album?
It’s huge, because for me Mr Flash is a wonderful producer, he’s full of ideas. He’s very into the science of music. And I learned a lot of things with Mr Flash. What’s important with Mr Flash is that we can create good light in the song. It’s really important. On the album we have a song called Magical Hurricane, and for me it was a sad song. I sing alone with my guitar. But Mr Flash says: ‘Okay, you sing your song on the guitar, but [do it] in the morning, during the night, during the afternoon.” It’s possible to choose the time of day of the song. You can control the light of the song. It’s hard to explain. But with Mr Flash, you have a wonderful poet.
So, how much do you love life at the moment?
I did a really good tour in Europe. It was fantastic. With the band and everything, it was really great. So I’m feeling very, very good. I feel strong, confident. I feel really happy.
people have said you’ve created a David Koresh-like character for yourself on this album. Obviously it is multi-faceted, but at times it seems deliberately overstated?
For me I try to live a few lives in one life. Just one life is too short to do everything. I’m a musician, and I compose my own music and it gives the chance to be something different between each album. And for me it’s really important. So that’s why between each album I change my apartment, I change my car, I change all my clothes, I change my computer…
I change everything because it is impossible to change yourself. But it is possible to change everything around you. And so I change everything around me to be a different person, because for me I can live many lives in one life. So before I was like a sexual French guy, now I’m the master of a community, and I will be something different next, of course. It’s a kind of game in the end.
My God Is Blue is out 7 September in Australia through Warner Music. In the meantime, unleash your inner Tellier and create your own version of Cochon Ville with the Sebastien Tellier Soul Keys.