Sebastien Tellier is a French electro pop multi-instrumentalist, recognized for his unique style and quirky eccentric personality. His notable works include the singles La Ritournelle, Divine, and Kilometer, his 2008 album Sexuality and his controversial Eurovision performance in 2008. He has worked with a variety of noteable artists including Guy-Manuel de Homen-Christo (one half of Daft Punk) and Mr Oizo. Just recently he has released My God is Blue, produced by Mr Flash, a brilliantly hypnotic and melodic album that has been receiving high regard and critical acclaim.
I was lucky enough to have a quick chat with him regarding his life, his work and himself, and as you will see he perfectly fits the profile of an artist, perceptive, magnetic and unconventional.
Music and art seem to be quite woven into your personality, was this career always an aspiration?
I wanted to be a musician all my life, even when I was a child. My father was always in love with music. I played a lot of guitar with my father when I was young, We used to listen to a lot of records like Pink Floyd, King Crimson, stuff like that and it started my relationship with music. I had my first electric guitar at 6 and my drum kit at 9 and I had a little studio that I used to play in. Usually a family wants you to become a doctor, a scientist, or a journalist but I wanted to be musician and for me it was very easy, it felt very natural. From the very beginning I always wanted to be a musician. But you know, what’s important to me is the soul of the artist, the soul of the musician. I can do theatre, I can do dance, I can do anything you want, but what is important, is to play what is in my soul. It’s important to explain through music what is going on in my head.
What were trying to convey through My God is Blue? It seems that there is a lot of spiritual and religious themes through the album.
The point of this album was to explain to everyone and to society, to not forget the spiritual side of life. Its very important you don’t forget. Don’t forget religion. In our current new society, we are afraid of a bad god, we are afraid of life and we are afraid of religion. Religion and spirituality is really important in making us happy. It’s easy to forget.
Can you explain what the Alliance Bleu is, and how this integrated into this album?
I am trying to create a following; to create a community, the Alliance Bleu. One of the goals of the Alliance is to build an amusement park for adults because we need to have fun as an adult. Now, we can spend money and shop, not have fun, you can go to the beach, not so fun, you can go swimming, not so fun… So I want to create a freedom place, something new, a little heaven on earth. To do this, I need people around me, a crew to help me create that. There is a sort of spiritual basis to it.
So is this sort of like a philosophy? Or a lifestyle?
It’s not really a philosophy… I see something, I see a kind of lifestyle, its not a religion… it’s just the feeling of life. It’s really hard to explain. This is why I do it through music, I am not really that good with words and I am better with music. One time I was asked to write a book about this and even in French It’s too hard for me to explain.
What influences did your producer Mr Flash have over this album?
Oh, Mr Flash had a really big influence. To me he is a genius. He can make something powerful, really sweet, and too me that was really important. Mr Flash doesn’t have powerful painful music, but powerful music in the sweet way. I would come to him, play my songs to him on guitar, um like Magical Hurricane for example, I would explain to him, that I am alone in the jungle, I am playing guitar, singing my song and he asked me ‘is it in the night, in the morning or in the day?‘ He (Mr Flash) would be able to control the light of the song, you know, He could put the song in the morning, for example. It is really hard to do that. He is really really fantastic to work with.
Where would Sebastien Tellier be if he was not making music?
Probably a scientist because I love science. What’s important in life, more important than music or love or theatre… is to the kill pain and the disease and to help life. I would have chosen science.
A scientist?! You come across as a very eccentric artistic character, I would have taken you to be a painter or something along those lines?!
Get your Tellier on, create your own version of ‘Cochon Ville’ with the Sebastien Tellier Soul Keys – www.mygodisblue.com