Sounds: Q&A with Yelle

Jennifer Suh

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French pop trio Yelle visited Chicago during their U.S. tour after releasing their second studio album, Safari Disco Club. Since their MySpace single Je Veux Te Voir became a smash hit in 2005, the three-person band consisting of vocalist Julie Budet (known by her stage name, Yelle), drummer and producer Grand Marnier and DJ Tepr have been paving the road for a new subgenre in electro-pop.

Frontwoman Budet is known for her simple, chic French fashion sense and her infinite energy on stage. Backstage at the Bottom Lounge, Budet in her colorful scarf was completely different from her powerful, dazzling appearance on stage. Sitting on a couch with her Macbook on her lap, she was ready for a conversation, not an interview.

The Current: Do you remember going to your first concert?

Julie Budet: First concert was probably my father’s.

Current: What is your favorite song to perform?

JB: My favorite song to perform is Safari Disco Club because even [though] it’s a hard song to sing — it’s really high — I like to sing it. With the percussion part in the end, it [has] a lot of different things. I like that.

Current: What is the song “Safari Disco Club” about?

JB: When you are in the club [dancing] all night, you can feel something really animal between people. It’s [also] about the relation between people and how they connect.

Current: What is the difference between the French audience and the U.S. audience?

JB: Because the French audience understands everything, they really take the time to get into the show. Here in the U.S., people want to have fun. They want to dance, from the beginning to the end.

Current: How do you manage to be popular in the U.S. when most of the audience does not understand your lyrics?

JB: I have no explanation. I’m still surprised when I see people dancing and having fun. Even when they don’t understand, they try to sing; it’s really funny, actually. When we were little boys and girls, we were listening to lots of English and American bands. We didn’t understand anything, and we were like “Rape me, Rape me” [singing along to the Nirvana song].

Current: You have so much energy on stage. Is there anything special you do before you get on stage?

JB: I do some exercise because I like to dance on stage. I really like that I need it, but it’s really hard to do it everyday when you’re on tour. I try to do some exercise to get my body ready and my voice ready. We did that this morning. I “Okay, it’s 7 o’clock. Wake up! Let’s go work out!”

Current: What do you think about female pop singers in the U.S. like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Britney Spears?

JB: We don’t have French singers like that. So for French people, they are the diwva of the century. They are really into their stuff. They’re pushing everything, and I like that. Even if I’m not into the music all the time, I like the way they are extreme in all process.

Current: Are you willing to come to Northwestern’s Dillo Day to perform?

JB: Why not!