Yelle is a French electro / pop band led by Julie Budet. The band became popular in 2005 with their song «Je Veux Te Voir», a provocative, feminist track that contains raw lyrics. After that, they released their first record, Pop Up, in 2007, and found great success thanks to the very personnal mix of different genres like hip hop, dance, pop, and French variety. They began to tour with Mika, played in the Coachella festival, and became particularly well-known in the United States. After two records - released in 2011 and 2014, a lot of tours, and several other projects later, Yelle released a new album this year titled «L’Ere Du Verseau» («The Age Of Aquarius») We met Julie to talk about her creative process, her influences, her views on France and society, and to know what it’s like foran artist to record an album in the coronavirus era.
1. It has been six years since you recorded «Complètement Fou». Compared to that album, how would you describe «L’Ere Du Verseau»? And, why did you take so long to record it?
We recorded four singles between these two records, and played shows all over the world with the « Yelle Party Club », a tour that was dedicated to clubbing. I have never forced things, and have always listened to my desires and inspirations. The time that I took was the time that came naturally to me. In regards to the record «Complètement Fou», I would say that « L’Ere du Verseau » is gloomier; it contains a certain melancholy that may be more obvious. We’ve always used double meanings, but this time it may be more identifiable.
2. Could you tell us more about the name «L’Ere Du Verseau»? What does the title mean?
First of all, it means «The Age of Aquarius», in French. It is the astral era that follows the Age of Pisces. We’ve been living in the Pisces era for 2000 years and it’s quite violent and pyramid shaped meaning: there’s always someone standing above the others. The Age of Aquarius presents a society that is softer and more respectful. There is a huge place for florescence in this society. We’ve been very inspired by this subject, and we think that it’s a beautiful path to follow. Our selfish and saturated society is collapsing nowadays, and we would like spirits to evolve. By choosing this title, the idea was to give a frame to the songs, and to prick people’s interest. We would like people to take an interest in this vision of society.
Photographer CLEMENT DEZELUS @clementdezelus // DOP THEO SANCHEZ @theosnz // Stylist PIERRE ALEXIS HERMET @pa.hermet // Creative Director AZADEH ZORAGHI @azadehzoraghi // Hair Director CHARLIE LE MINDU @charlieleminduHair // Assistant SIMON CHOSSIER @simon_chossier // Makeup Artist CYRIL LAINE @cyrillaine // Manicurist TYPHAINE KERSUAL @typhainekersual // PR @lebureaudesarah
3. The track «Je T’Aime Encore» is a complicated declaration of love for France. We’ve been deeply touched by this song for many reasons. In your opinion, why is it so hard for artists to succeed in France? And how would you explain your international success particularly in the US?
Our situation is actually quite uncommon. French artists that are more successful abroad are rare. Since our beginnings, we’ve been asked to play in Sweden, Australia, and the US, and we’ve built a big presence and reputation in these countries. Some people in France did not understand our profile, did not understand why we took the liberties we did, and why we chose to work with this or that artist. They did not know how to «classify» us, and classifying people is a big obsession here. So they decided to ignore us. But this song, «Je T’Aime Encore», is not a reproach! On the contrary, it is more like: «Our relationship is not simple but its OK — it’s interesting and we still love you»! We love our French listeners!
4. You’ve been mainly discovered thanks to Myspace. What are the roles of social medias in your career today?
Hmm, it is definately less fluent than it was in the era of Myspace. When you think about it, Myspace was a great thing. like Soundcloud, Facebook, Twiter, and Instagram; everything was united in the same place. There are a lot of different social medias today, and you can quickly dilute your energy by trying to use them all. That’s why I am mainly on Instagram. It is a place that is full of good vibes, but to be honest, I am not really tied to my phone. In these formats, communication is not my strong suit.
5. What are the main differences between Yelle and Julie?
There are some differences, but they tend to fade away, particularly with this record. I experience a different type of energy than they do when I am on stage. Let’s just say that I’m not the same person when I am in my living room.
6. What is your creative process? What is the basis of your songwriting?
It really depends. When I’m working with Jean-François (GrandMarnier, which composes and writes all the songs with Yelle), a song can come from a simple word, a short sentence, a short melody that’s been recorded with my phone, or a beat that he likes. There are no rules, except the one: to leave our ideas behind us for a few months, so that we can see if we’re still excited by them after awhile.
7. The year 2020 has been very difficult for artists. What does it mean for you to release a record in this context? How do you think about the next gigs?
The record was written long before this bloody virus. We decided to release it because we think that more than ever, people - including ourselves - need to overcome this social gloom and art is the best way to do it. At the beginning we didn’t want to tour in these conditions, in front of people that are seated and masked. But once again, we have to think about the common good, the fact that we all need to take our minds off it and that we all need to experience moments of sharing.
8. What is your dream collaboration?
I am a huge fan of Blur and Depeche Mode, so I think a lot about Dave Gahan and Damon Albarn. But I actually prefer to keep dreaming about it rather than doing it.