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Stereolab vocalist Laetitia Sadier talks to Tommy Gunnarsson about the inspirations for her debut solo album, 'The Trip'
For almost twenty years, Laetitia Sadier sang and wrote most of the songs that Stereolab released, often together with co-founder Tim Gane.
While in that band, she also found the time to record three albums with side project Monade. When Stereolab went on hiatus last year, she decided to go solo, and recently, her first album with her own name on it was released, 'The Trip'.
Pennyblackmusic asked her some questions about her "real" solo debut, and about some of the inspirations for it .
PB: Tell me a little about 'The Trip'. How did it come to life?
LS: When I composed 'The Trip' I really questioned the raison d'etre of my music. It is a most personal record dedicated to honour the dear ones that I have lost.
PB: There was some more political material which apparently didn't make it on the album for lack of space.
LS: 'The Trip' is dedicated to the journey that life and death are. But it also looks into "le temps d'une chanson" and the desire to go to war, the desire for blood and the realisation that this desire is a trap.
This trap however can be avoided by looking more deeply into the real nature of life and death in all its complex aspects. And that's where I think the cultural trend fails people by implicitly deluding us into believing that happiness can be had by simply buying gadgets, or signing up to Facebook, looking like a princess, watching porn, crushing sensitivity, being shallow...
PB: What is, for you, the main difference between your solo recordings and Monade?
LS: The difference is all about timing, rather than creative endeavour. It seems that Monade existed in rapport to Stereolab. Now that the Lab has subsided and that I have moved back to London, it seems completely natural to become Laetitia Sadier. And the original endeavour by the way is still about becoming.
PB: What are your plans for touring with 'The Trip'? Do you have a live band to go on tour with?
LS: I do plan to tour 'The Trip' extensively. I have already played in most parts of Europe on tour for the last three weeks with Mice Parade. I have also played some of my own shows.
If the right people come my way it will be with a band that I continue playing. If not, I will go it alone for a while, until they do present themselves. I like it alone though, which is how I have been playing. It is a great experience to have to fill the space and be responsible all on my own. It works most of the time...
PB: What are your main influences, both lyrically and musically?
LS: I love Brazilian music, and this french band Holden, whom also lyrically are very interesting, I feel close to them.
I do still like Brigitte Fontaine very much. She is so fresh. In fact her latest album, 'Prohibition', is very political and it got banned by Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, because he doesn't like the truth so much being so well put.
PB: How do you write your songs. Does music or lyrics come first?
LS: I used to write the lyrics first and I don't know what kind of bad habit -too strong a desire to control things actually- has made me more recently write the music first. Really the lyrics should come first, most of the time. ..Still there is time to run back up that route...
PB: Going back in time, you first band was 1980's indie band McCarthy and for which you became a member for their third and final album, 'Banking, Violence and the Inner Life Today'. How did you go from the sound of McCarthy to the sound of Stereolab? Even though there are some songs on 'Banking, Violence and the Inner Life Today' that gives us a hint of the future, the two bands doesn’t really sound the same.
LS: Well, the big link of course between McCarthy and Stereolab being Tim Gane, we can safely assume that there will of course exist correspondences between the two. Tim was main composer in McCarthy, as well as in Stereolab.
In terms of sound I think he always followed his taste and attractions for certain instruments over other ones. But they were two distinctive projects with different musical approaches in the end.
PB: Were you in any bands before you joined McCarthy? When did you start writing songs on your own?
LS: No, I never made it into any musical formation in France before moving to the UK! Not by lack of trying.
I started writing songs in my dreams in my teens and they started to tangibly but sporadically manifest throughout my twenties.
PB: If you have to choose one highlight of your musical career so far, what would it be?
LS: Starting Monade was a big highlight for me. It was exciting because it meant independance. It meant doing things in a different way with new people and friends. It gave me the joy of being responsible in the studio, and experimenting with the fun and freedom of making music.
PB: Finally, the question everybody’s asking, I suppose. Has Stereolab split up or are you just on a break?
LS: The answer I give to everyone who asks is that I don't know any more than you do.
PB: Thank you.
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