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Interview: Yelle

Interview: Yelle French dance-pop trio Yelle are still riding high following the tremendous global success of their sophomore album, Safari Disco Club (V2/Cooperative Music), as well as numerous sold out shows around the world. Yelle, (Julie Budet), comes from France and originally were going to be called YEL, ‘You Enjoy Life’, but in an ironic twist, a Belgian band already had the name so they feminized it, which rather suits Yelle’s music and attitude. Yelle has some serious girl power and Badet is unafraid to speak her mind. Yelle says she’s obsessed with love and sexuality. She talks about sex toys, her small breasts, girl on girl action, and how she wants to be honest in her music. Fresh from her set, Julie dropped by to talk to us.

Electronic Beats: How did you like your gig? It was the second time you’ve played here, right? I saw you two years ago in the old 103 club…

Julie Badet: Yes, is this club closed now?

I think so; it got a new name for sure.
Or was it Rio?

You know the Rio club – are you frequently in Berlin?
It is like being at home, because during the last months I was in Germany a minimum of once per month…

Really, is that true? Is that because you have a huge fanbase here?
Yes, absolutely and I do like the city very much. I feel really free here to do what I want to do.

But normally you live where, in Paris?
No, in Brittany.

Tell me a little bit about Brittany. Why do you live there? You never fancied going to Paris?
No, I don’t like being in Paris, it is like a little village, because there always seems to be the same people, who hang out in the same areas and people are stressed. I don’t know, but here in Berlin you have a lot of gardens and green areas, you can breathe normally, and in Paris, that’s not the case. I prefer to live in Brittany. It is more relaxed, I have my family and my friends there.

You grew up there and you stayed there. But in autumn and winter it is pretty rough isn’t it?
It’s okay, it can be really rainy, for sure, but I like it a lot and it is not really cold, so it is okay, and spring and summer can be really nice, if you have sun. But this summer was really awful…

Whereabouts do you live there?
In Saint-Brieuc, it is in the north of Brittany and it is not very far from Lyon and is as big as Lyon.


What is going on in Brittany these days? Are there young people or do the youngsters tend to head to the big cities, as is the case in Germany?
It is easier now to go to university in a bigger city, but people come back every weekend, because it is cheaper, you can share a car and stuff. I think people are staying in the small cities, because they like the fact that life is cheaper and it is easier to have the culture, to have music, to have exhibitions. Maybe ten years ago it was important to be in Paris, for example a band, to be closer to the label, to be at the parties, to go to the shows and now we have it in the countryside. And especially in Brittany, because we have a lot of festivals and we have lots of more structures for a music band and for art, too. So people like to stay.

Can you recommend some interesting bands from Brittany?
Yes, for example, we have friends in Saint-Brieuc and they have a project called Rafalle, they make electronic music and we have another friend’s band in Rennes called Juveniles, totally new and they’ll be on the new Kitsuné Maison compilation. There is a real mix in Brittany, people want to do things and they can do, because of the big festivals like the Transmusique in Rennes or in Saint-Brieuc we have Art Rock, which are both big.

Is there a special sound from Brittany?
No, not really. It is probably more about rock’n’roll and folk and electronic music. There is no real main style.

Your latest album was released earlier this year, and received positive feedback. Are you touring now?
Yes, we are just touring, for us the album is still really new, because it was back in March when it got published. And now we’re touring. We’ll be in Germany in few days for a real tour, and then in France, and then in Scandinavia, we are still promoting this new album, because for us it is still new and we still want to talk about it.

Am I right that your lyrics now are less provocative? Not this cheeky “A cause des garcons”?
It was not something we were really thinking about, it mainly just happened, we grew up and we got older, and maybe we still talk about the same things in a different way.

And how did France react to Yelle? Is it different to other countries?
Yes, it is different. In France with the first album we did some different things, we did a collaboration with Kitsuné, we did a song with a really huge, French, male artist. So the perception in France is really weird. Because sometimes people are looking at us and saying “ah, you are doing commercial music and it’s evil” and sometimes it is “you are too underground for us” So we are in the middle of something. And in France, even if we have really good critics and stuff with this new album, we are not played on radio, because we are still too weird for the radio, you know? We are always in the middle of something. And for the other countries it is totally different. It is easy and evident. For example, we will be in Scandinavia in a few days and we were supposed to play in Copenhagen in a 400 people venue and it was sold out so quickly, so they decided to book us in a bigger venue. And wow, it is really cool, something is happening here. And it was the same in Stockholm and we will be in South America in November, and it is almost sold out in a large venue.

Check out ongoing tour details in this amusing video :

Published October 14, 2011.