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Sébastien Tellier

The transformation from artist to Blue God

By Sergio Pulido Photo: Mathieu Tonetti 28.10.12

There is a somewhat strange creature on the current French pop scene, a sort of bearded guru who chameleon like changes from album to album, an eccentric with an unusual talent for catchy melodies. He presented his latest work “My God is Blue” produced by the Ed Banger label Mr. Flash, a conceptual project about an innovative way of seeing spirituality dressed up in disco sounds, vintage synthesizers combined with memorable tunes. We talked over the phone about the new album;

Hello Sebastien, first of all, congratulations on the new album, we found it pretty interesting, can you describe the creative process behind it?
Well the creative process is very simple: when I was twenty I wrote a book about everything I wanted to do with my music life, and I wrote that I wanted to do an album about politics, another album about sexuality, and another album about God, so to find inspiration I went to Los Angeles to find a shaman, this shaman gave me a little potion, and when I drank it I had like an awakening dream, like an hallucination where everything was blue, and this blue made me feel like I was close to God, and I could talk to God. When I woke up I sat at the piano thinking about God and thinking about the colour blue, and the songs started to come.

So the title “My God is Blue” is autobiographical?
It is but what I want to say is that everyone can choose their own God, and do not forget to stay in contact with the spiritual side of life. It’s every important to believe in something. It’s a source of happiness.

You explored sexuality in your previous album and now you are talking about spirituality, are these two opposite concepts?
No, I want to integrate spirituality and sexuality. And it’s all part of a previous plan as I explained before.

What is the concept behind “L’ Alliance bleue”, this sort of cult/community you are developing with this new work?
It’s a blue community I created because I need people around me to build something new. I want to create a new place of fun, of entertainment, like a coffee shop: a place of freedom and enjoyment.

And talking about the musical part of your album, I found the sound is sometimes very 70’s. Am I right about that?
Yes it’s on purpose, sounds like the 70s, 80s and maybe 90s sometimes. I wanted to create a window of sound between grandiose and intimate, like a huge god creator of the universe in front of a tiny human. Humans are the intimate part of the record and the God is the grandiose part.

If the record concept is spirituality, why you chose to present it with a video which is so carnal, like the orgy on “Cochon ville”?
That song is about freedom and sex. It says that every kind of sexuality is welcome in our community, and that’s why what happens happens at the end of the video: It’s the way I am saying welcome to everyone. I am saying “I like you” to everybody.

Why did you choose musicians from the electronic scene for producing your two latest albums? (Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo of Daft Punk for “Sexuality” and Mr. Flash on “My God is Blue).
Well on this record I wanted to recreate the flavour of my past, the songs of my childhood, but then I thought that is would be too boring to look backwards at the past, so I decided instead that now I wanted to create the future, and I chose these two producers because I think they are how the future will sound like.

I would like to know what does the international success of a song like “La ritournelle” mean to an artist like you. Is it a positive thing, or will people expect more of the same from you?
I’m sure people expect more songs in the same way, and someday I will do it for sure, but now for me it’s too soon, I am walking along another path now, and taking other artistic risks at this moment.

And what is “My god is Blue” like when played live?
In this show I am the God, and many things start to happen, we have a new light show, and we also focus on music, on poetry. I want to be deep and fun at the same time with this show, like a spiritual experience that is not boring at all.