Ahead of the release of his new album L’Aventura on Monday 14th July, French multi-instrumentalist, composer and performer Sebastien Tellier talks about Brazil, football, music, and a UK tour.
Hi Sebastien, how’s it going? Other than album what’s been going on at the moment?
I feel really good! I’m hanging out with Sly, Steven Stanley and Michel Esteban in Jamaica for the recording of my wife’s album. I’m doing return trips to Europe to promote L’Aventura. Yummy, I love my life at the moment!
Tell us about L’Aventura- what was the idea behind the album?
L’Aventura smells of Brazil, it’s a record in which I rewrite my childhood. I like the idea that art can rewrite the past, it’s the ultimate means of expression. I lived a common childhood in a regular Parisian suburb. I wanted to colour my past, to make it blazing, happy and splendid. As a musician, I have always been attached to the music of my childhood, I used a lot of my musical memories to compose L’Aventura. I also realised that most of these memories are linked to cartoons from that time.
In some ways it represents a subtle stylistic departure from your previous work- less European, and more exotic. Was there a particular reason for that decision?
I needed a thousand splendours scenery for this imaginary childhood. Brazil was the ideal place thanks to its landscapes and close relation to music. I needed to be far away from my reality to find inspiration. I also wanted to develop my bass and guitar playing in another way. Working in the Brazilian style was really pleasant.
Presumably the timing of the release has nothing to do with the recent World Cup, though?
Far from football, far from people. I decided to like football one year ago. I try to understand the rabble. I feel so far from it today that it has become a mystery again. Football is a violent sport, in which everything is about poor taste; the opposite of my record.
You’re well known as a multi-instrumentalist, do you have a favourite instrument, and if so why?
I like the bass. I learned music with a guitar then a piano. When I started playing the bass, I found it wonderfully simple. The bass has a great emotional power, it’s like the unconscious of music.
The Ruda Cabral directed video is fantastic, do you think video is becoming a more important medium for musicians to use?
The real important medium is the Internet. Today, an artist has to create his own little virtual theatre to exist. Music videos are part of this little theatre’s scenery. But to my mind, video is mostly a good way to travel and make nonsense stuff while trying to create charm.
Finally, what do you have lined up for the next few months? Will we be seeing you play more UK dates at all this year?
This summer I plan to rework a lot of my old tracks and bring them into my new Brazilian world in time for my next world tour, which will start in October, including the UK- an amazing country for music!
Sebastien Tellier will be playing alongside Little Dragon on Sunday 20th Julyas part of this year’s Somerset House Summer Series. The show is already sold-out.
He will also play an in-store at London’s Rough Trade East on Thursday, 17th July, and tickets for this appearance are free with the purchase of the album from the Rough Trade East store, or when customers buy the Sebastien Tellier bundle online.