The best record of the year was born on a Breton farm. An imposing 17th century building which was that of a shipowner, owner of a three-master, “Le Saint-Michel” under Colbert, which over time has become a customs house, a residence occupied by the Germans, renovated , enhanced. This is where Yelle lives and works, namely Julie Budet and Jean-François Perrier, alias GrandMarnier, couple in the city and on the stage, hidden behind the acronym of You Enjoy Life. It is here also that they imagined “The Era of Aquarius”, 4th disc, formidable electro-pop success, carried out in the studio arranged upstairs. You don’t need much: a computer, keyboards, a battery, a microphone. Craftsman’s work, cut off from the world, at the tip of the bay of Saint-Brieuc.
“For a long time, it was the only house in the area. There is a 14m deep well in the garden where you can draw water which is very good. We rent the cottage next door to our best friend. We went into debt to buy this place, we were totally out of budget. But we work as we want, at our own pace, we are our own producers, our own managers. We have our roots here, our friends, our parents who live in the area. And since we move a lot abroad, it’s a base camp for us. “
A real American audience
Leave for better return. Normally, without this pandemic that has locked him up at home this year, Yelle travels. Europe, Asia, America, opening acts for Mika or on Katy Perry’s tour, the biggest American festivals like the prestigious Coachella in California, on three occasions. “The penultimate time was at 7 pm, just before Prince”. And the list of their American stopovers, the subject of the very touching “My beautiful grief” on “The Age of Aquarius”, makes you dizzy. Almost 25 dates on their last tour. “We filled four times in a row in Los Angeles, played in front of 1300 people in New York, San Francisco, 800 in Seattle, 600 in Salt Lake City. A real American audience. “They like the energy released by the music of Yelle and Julie in particular,” explains Jean-François. In Seattle, it will be a more rock audience, in San Francisco very LGBT. In Albuquerque, we play in front of Mexican teenagers, in Baltimore young dancing girls. “
And it’s been like that since the beginning of the tandem, 15 years ago and the meeting between Jean-François, drummer originally in a fusion rock group, Sitronapoo, passionate about electronic music, and Julie, actress of first, a little singer in the “Fées Carabines”, daughter of the mythical François Budet. A figure of Breton music, who died in 2018, mentioned between the lines in “Peine de mort”, on the new album. “I would never have started singing on my own. I necessarily had the paternal aura. I was above all François Budet’s daughter at the start, ”she recalls. “And François became Yelle’s father,” adds his companion. Especially when the duo quickly began to travel around the world. “We started by posting our first track“ I want to see you ”on Myspace and, thanks to this essential social network at the time, we immediately had contacts abroad. Yelle’s first concert was in Paris, the second in Morlaix, the third in Stockholm and the fourth in Sydney, with Justice and MIA
France, a country of origin that sometimes shuns the duo
And France in all of this? It is discussed in “I love you still”, the first single taken from “the Age of Aquarius”, a subtle declaration to a country of origin which sometimes shuns the duo. “I’ve been making love to you for 15 years, you still don’t look at me. I turn around, turn around but you don’t see me. However, I speak the same language, I defend it with all my strength. From Tokyo to Portland via Barcelona. “
“These are not criticisms. It is an observation. We have always sung in French, we hold on to it, we have refused offers to record albums in English in the United States. And sometimes, we felt misunderstood here, ”Julie analyzes. “It’s as if we had not chosen our camp, we are a nightclub, but also song, we did a duet with Michaël Youn (Editor’s note: for the hit “Parle à ma main” in 2007) and we are considered connected. Our openness has failed us, ”adds Jean-François.
Yet it is all the strength of Yelle and particularly of the “Age of Aquarius” this year: daring to intertwine electro punch, pop melodies, melancholic texts, and even Breton influences, as in “Karate” , an incredible song in the form of a techno trance on the excesses of social networks, with a few hypnotic words chanted in a loop. ” VSow are you on the tatami mat, when you are not hidden when you have no friends. Your kimono is pajamas. “. “It’s built like a kan ha diskan (Editor’s note: traditional song very present in the fest-noz). It sweats Brittany without it being embarrassing. We shot part of the clip in a river not far from here. The power of the decorations inspires us. It impacts our sounds like a wave you catch yourself. So, dive into “The Age of Aquarius”, the soundtrack that saved the year 2020.
Source: Yelle’s “The Age of Aquarius”: it’s our album of the year | France24 News English