Styling by Suzanne von Aichinger, with Maison Martin Margiela.
Concept by Antoine Asseraf.
Transcribed by Amandine Flament. Translated by Edward Siddons.
Assisted by Amandine Flament & Ed Siddons.
EXCLUSIVE MIXTAPE BY TEPR BELOW.
Tanguy Destable aka TEPR in “frost bite” Wool parka and pants by Maison Martin Marigiela
worn over white cotton djellaba; stylist’s own.
Paris does not always welcome you with open arms, as longtime Yelle member TEPR realized. Having more or less bypassed Paris on the Yelle path to global acclaim didn’t mean TEPR, aka Tanguy Destable, could just arrive and make the city his own.
That’s not how Paris works. You have to find – and fight for – your place in the city; you have to enter and make your mark. TEPR had knowledge to gain, or innocence to lose, before becoming Parisian.
Underneath the Fontaine des Innocents laid a network of cemeteries so overflowing with Paris’ dead that the walls of surrounding buildings were under structural threat. The water cascading down is suffused with the city’s past, its history, its lost innocents and innocence.
Where better for his immersion in the flow of the city? Where better for his rebirth? Take a leap of faith, close your eyes,
and immerse yourself. Welcome to your Paris baptism.
Fontaine des Innocents, details.
Tanguy Destable aka TEPR in white choir boy shirt – vintage Jean Paul Gaultier.
Did you choose Paris or did Paris choose you ?
Tanguy Destable aka TEPR: I hesitated about coming to Paris for a long time, because I took pride in being able to pursue my musical projects and do a world tour while still being based in Brittany, especially when I was with Yelle and we all lived in Saint-Brieuc five years ago. They’ve stayed there, in fact. It was cool to have played Coachella and done four world tours, and yet still reside in Saint-Brieuc.
Then I got called to Paris, like a lot of people.
After six months, the whole thing was decided. Straight away, you meet so many more people for work, and you get more chances to play, and so I stayed here.
Left: Tanguy Destable aka TEPR in Maison Martin Margiela “frost bite” Wool parka. Right: Fontaine des Innocents detail.
Do you feel as creatively free in Paris as you did when you were back in Brittany ?
In Brittany, there wasn’t the same pressure. I had my large studio where I worked, and I was the only person doing what I was doing for miles around. I wasn’t permanently hooked on to Facebook. I think my time in Brittany was honest work, but maybe less productive.
I had a hard time when I first came to Paris. That lasted three years, then all of a sudden, my music moved towards something really different. I could feel new trends, and they had too much of an impact on what I was doing; I just wanted to make people happy. Fortunately, I had people around me, managers and friends, who said no, don’t release that, it’s not you.
I had to go through that whole “big city, bright lights” stage
when I was just like, “Wow, I’ve gotta do something offbeat! Wow, I’ve gotta get more hardcore! Wow, I’ve gotta do some tropical beats, they’re fun!” Now I’m over that, but I had to go through it.
Tanguy Destable aka TEPR in the Fontaine des Innocents, in white choir boy shirt: vintage Jean Paul Gaultier.
Finish the sentence : ‘A Parisian is…’
For me, a Parisian is ideally somebody who knows the geography of Paris really well, someone born here, someone who has schlepped through all the different areas. That’s the ideal. I don’t feel Parisian, I’m a Breton. If you were to speak to me about my area in Brittany, I’d know every little village. On a more clichéd level, a Parisian is someone with an idle streak, who knows to stop at the right bistro and makes the most of the sunshine. It’s someone who’s in search of a cool proposition in general: parties, bars, restaurants, and more.
How do you become a Parisian ?
I think you become Parisian from the time that you’ve had a few sleepless nights, and at five or six in the morning, you know exactly where to go and get a steak, and which bits of Paris to go to for the best café au lait, croissant, or baguette.
You become Parisian when you’ve sped up your way of doing things, whether that be walking or eating. People here do everything a bit more quickly, I think. You become Parisian when you can put up with the metro without it irritating you, when you manage to forget the traffic, when you manage to forget the constant scowl people have here, essentially when you can ignore all that kind of stuff.
Left: Paris insignia. Right: Insignia of Morlaix, Tanguy's native city, with a creative motto - "S'ils te mordent, Mords-les."
Parisians are always characterised as cold;
they aren’t going to stop in the street to help out a tourist struggling with a map. I try to fight against that all the time.
Do you imagine dying a Parisian ?
Yes and no. Often, I think I won’t. I can’t imagine getting old in a city. I think your whole being hardens, and you become kind of nasty. I always imagine myself back ending up in the countryside in my native Brittany.
At the same time, I think to myself, when you’re seventy and in Britanny all alone and doing everything—your garden and all of that—yourself, and you need to take the car if you want to go anywhere… It’s then that I think about Paris. The other day I saw this old grandma having the best time. She was out, taking the metro, seeing all the exhibitions, going to all the stores… In fact, I think growing old or dying in Paris wouldn’t be so bad.
Tanguy Destable aka TEPR in the Fontaine des Innocents.
Where do you see Paris in five years ?
I hope Anne Hidalgo [the mayor of Paris] is going to succeed in making Paris a bit greener. I think it’s insane [that Paris is the way it is] when I look at somewhere like New York, with the High Line, and Chelsea… I don’t dream of living in New York, though. Paris will always be the most beautiful city in the world for me. I’d like more parks, and bigger parks, and less crap like the café they’ve built in Place de la République, because it’s going to age so badly.
Paris in five years? No idea. But Paris in ten or twenty years… I think we will all still be packed into the streets, with too many cars, but there we go: that’s also what means Paris is always buzzing.
Where is the center of Paris ?
I believe the suburbs are the future of Paris.
The rough areas within Paris have all been gentrified, and now that’s starting with the suburbs: Pantin, La Villette, Montreuil, they’re all becoming beautiful. Everyone’s buying their own little place…
Tanguy Destable aka TEPR in the Fontaine des Innocents.
Is Paris dead ?
No, Paris is not dead. Though there are things that do Paris no favours, especially the price of clubs here. Not just the entry either, the service in the club kills the night. It’s 2 or 3 euros too much for what it is. For almost a year now that I’ve really slowed down on clubbing, because after a while it just started to piss me off. You go to the bar, order four things so you don’t have to go back, then you get home that night, and realise you’ve spent 150 euros just to be with your mates. As a rule, culture isn’t expensive in Paris, going to the Pompidou is free.
Educating yourself isn’t expensive, but going out really is.
Latest projects ?
I’m releasing an EP in April 2015 under my “TEPR” moniker, then an album will follow. I’m working on my live act, which will have real scenography. I’m still navigating between electronica, dance and pop music, with a “technoïde” base. This foundation allows me to ad on many references from one track to the next, whether it’s tribal, ghetto or R&B. Club music is about quoting, in permanent movement.
Tanguy Destable aka TEPR in the Fontaine des Innocents, getting his Paris baptism.
Epic music, grandiose effects, Agyness Deyn and other supermodels in battlegear — Woodkid’s IRON music video seems at once surprising and classic in the way it mixes imagery and music. That’s probably because Woodkid is none other than Yoann Lemoine, a twentysomething, multi-awarded illustrator-turned-director.
He’s already worked with the likes of Richie Havens, Yelle, Katy Perry, Moby and Taylor Swift, done short films for kids, and been rewarded for a film about a dick graffiti… And now he’s releasing his first EP, IRON.
IRON EP cover, illustration by Stephan Balleux.
ANTOINE ASSERAF: The music video for IRON – is it strange to make a music video for yourself ?
YOANN LEMOINE aka WOODKID: Not that strange, because as soon as I started the WOODKID project, I knew I wanted to make images, so it made sense with the video, and it was the first time I could make a movie and control all the parameters, with a budget and without at the same time being told what I could and couldn’t do. Being both the client and the director was a crazy opportunity, so I’m super happy with the result.
To direct and to make music is a bit similar, emotionally you are touching the same sensible points, it’s just a different medium of expression.
You have a material theme going on – you are the WOOD kid, the single is IRON, the tentative album name wood and CRYSTAL…
The project is always evolving, but I really like attention to textures, I made a film once on the texture of rocks, in IRON there is a lot of marble, black smoke. I love looking at textures and the emotions they create. The color, the complexity, what they evoke, mystical and dark things.
So did the song or the visual come first ?
I’ve had an image in my head for this project for a long time, I wanted to make a statement about heroic fantasy, not in a kitschy, elf and trolls way, but to explore what Tolkien, Final Fantasy, and Matthew Barney did. How you create a world with social codes, in a documentary sort of way, with specific imagery, dogmas, political parties, currency, dresscodes, ethnic groups, races, geography… How you recreate these codes in a parallel world. And how to do this in a way that is less cheesy than we are used to seeing in heroic fantasy, more intellectual…
IRON music video, directed and sung by Yoann Lemoine.
You once said on Facebook (laughs) that you were afraid that one day you would have to make a choice between music and directing, do you still believe in that ?
If I have to choose, it will be a matter of scheduling.
So a temporary choice ?
Temporary but… you never know how things evolve.
I come from illustration, and a series of circumstances led me to move to directing without ever deciding “I’m quitting illustration”, but I never came back to it… I just never had the occasion to do it again, a road built itself in another direction.
How did you make the transition between illustration and film direction ?
First it was animation films for kids, because I come from 3D, then I felt the need to make live films, with actor direction, a quality of photography, so I bought myself a camera and started making my own films. Then it turned into commissions, and I transmitted into real shooting my desire to compose images and artistically direct scenes….
At first jobs were appealing to your 3D and special fx know-how, but now on the Taylor Swift video you had no post-production special effects…
It’s all experimenting. What I’m trying to do in my career and in my artistic development is to reconcile a beautiful image, detailed and in good taste, with fashion references, in the air of the times, that people want to see, with a type of narration usually seen in Hollywood films. Postproduction effects, a bit WOW, symbolic narratives with visual trips… It’s part of my identity.
But I’m no Gondry either.
Yoann Lemoine in Erotokritos FW 2011. Photo by René Habermacher.
Our discussion with Julie, Jean-François and Tanguy, moves to touring — an essential element to the success of YELLE — and the need for a record label in 2011…
Yelle in Marios Schwab FW 2011. By René Habermacher, styling Ines Fendri, make-up by Akiko Sakamoto.
When you play live, do you try to add other things visually, like with the Katy Perry tour for which you’re opening ?
JEAN-FRANÇOIS: Well as opening act we have actually less means on the Katy Perry tour!
JULIE: Normally we’re 6 on tour, with the sounds, the lights, the stage, but on Katy Perry we’re just 4.
Also we don’t give our whole show away, it’s more of a teaser — anyway we know Katy Perry is following up with 4 trucks so there’s no use trying!
JEAN-FRANÇOIS:: We want to make our show stronger, so we have these suspended drums which are very visual, the logo, which is new – an inverted Peace sign. We like bringing in new elements, whether they cost 20 euros or 2000, but we’re not in a fantasy of something crazy. However from the beginning we’ve wanted to make one-off shows, like with a choir, big ensembles…
You were also mentioning new lights for your tour ?
JEAN-FRANÇOIS: We found this guy for lights, we were looking for a long time for someone who would bring something to our live performances,
someone who’s creative on his own but open to our ideas…
TANGUY: We need that extra, because we’re coming a second time around but without huge means, we want to make a show with songs we’re proud of — lighting is really the little ‘plus’ that we can bring.
So would you want to make a “live” music video to show people who don’t know how you perform ?
TANGUY: We thought about it at the end of the last tour, with all that footage [shot by "Ce Jeu" director Yoann Lemoine],
JEAN-FRANÇOIS: We just haven’t been able to edit it yet… we could have done as a single, but not for the first single of the album — but we’ll do it eventually.
"Ce Jeu" music video by Yoann Lemoine. Photo by Antoine Asseraf.
I still have a hard drive somewhere saying YELLE with all your tour footage, I was asked to help edit it “when I had time”, I was really into it but documentary editing takes so. much. time.
JULIE: And you can’t do just one hour per day, you need to really get into it…
JEAN-FRANÇOIS: Even us, we don’t even feel like going back in there right away, you kind of need to put those images aside and let them rest, but we would like them to show them at some point.
It looked like an amazing experience.
JEAN-FRANÇOIS: There were some beautiful images…
Trailer for the 2008 Yelle world tour, by Yoann Lemoine.
What’s your idea of the role of the record label, since you started without one and were without one for this album, you also released things without a label in between albums…
JULIE: We learned a lot from the time we had at Source, good things, bad things, some things we didn’t want to do the same way again, it was evident for us that we had to make our own structure, to get even more freedom.
JEAN-FRANÇOIS: To sum things up, on the first album we had ideas but not the means, now we have both!
For the first album you worked with Pierre LeNy, acting as an artistic director of sorts…
JEAN-FRANÇOIS: Yes Pierre brought a lot of ideas, a lot of contacts, a network, in fashion, which made it a lot of easier, now we’re the art directors, it’s the next level.
Second music video for "Je Veux Te Voir".
How was that experience of remaking the video for JE VEUX TE VOIR – doesn’t it feel strange ?
JEAN-FRANÇOIS: That was a flashback [a lot of time had passed since the original release of JE VEUX TE VOIR]. First of all we hate the first music video for JE VEUX TE VOIR, we hated it as soon as we made it.
But you’re not always in a position to say no to a label who’s invested, we still hate the fact that it has so many million views!!
The new video was made with Nicolas Benamou following the experience with Michael Youn, it’s the work of a label, who feels there’s a second life to give to a single,
it was so strange for YELLE, when they first brought the single to radios, they didn’t know what to make of it, but once they had gotten used to it it was ok… it’s really the work of the record label.
So are you at ease with that freedom ? Talking to Roísín Murphy who has done many things herself over the years in terms of styling and ideas for music videos, she was still happy to have worked with an art director on OVERPOWERED, to sharpen the image.
JEFF: We’ve never felt forced, we’ve never had the record label pressuring us, at first we were a bit naive, everyone’s nice, we were just happy to do things, and except for that first video we enjoyed everything we did.
We’ve always been masters of our image, but of course somethings get out of hand, get bigger than you expect them, doing things by ourselves is exciting, it makes us feel more responsible. the DIY style is very stimulating, you want to defend your project even more because all the choices are yours.
Of course it becomes 100% of your life! So when you say “I’m going to relax, i’m going to the beach” you’re not really relaxing because you’re thinking about what you could do. But that’s the case with everyone who’s a freelance or has their own company, it’s an obsession!
YELLE — Julie, Jean-François and Tanguy — burst onto the music scene in 2006 with their UFO bubble-gum-techno-rap “Je Veux Te Voir”. Since then they’ve collaborated with the likes of Katy Perry, Crookers and Robyn, and seduced audiences all over the world. They’re basically the first French-singing band to achieve international success since the Rita Mitsoukos. Now they return with their second album, SAFARI DISCO CLUB.
For this 3 part interview, René Habermacher shot Julie exclusively for THE STIMULEYE wearing the new MARIOS SCHWAB Fall/Winter 2011 collection. Styled by Ines Fendri, Make-Up by Akiko Sakamoto.
Yelle in Marios Schwab FW 2011. By René Habermacher, styling Ines Fendri, make-up by Akiko Sakamoto.
ANTOINE ASSERAF: Let’s talk about your new album first, SAFARI DISCO CLUB, there’s an immediate visual concept from the name to the album and on to the double music video…
JEAN-FRANÇOIS aka “GrandMarnier”: Actually it’s something that was not there to start with but added at the end. We found the name SAFARI DISCO CLUB very late into the process, at the last minute almost. We thought we should keep things simple, find 2 tracks from the album to start with.
The most inspiring track in terms of visual adaptation was SAFARI DISCO CLUB. This double-theme made us naturally think of Jean-Paul Lespagnard [whose styles had inspired the CE JEU video] and his penchant for double-themes, for juxtapositions. So we discussed it with him, with some references such as the final scene of Luc Besson’s SUBWAY, in explorer mode.
The only thing I remember about this film is Isabelle Adjani’s punk “fuck you” dinner scene…
JEAN-FRANÇOIS: It turns out that Julie’s hair in the video is not far from Isabelle Adjani’s, but that’s pure coincidence…
But the explorer look, that was something stuck in my head — it’s a bit why I started to get into music: I was such a big fan of Jean Reno playing the drums in the subway as a kid, it left an impression on me. So this final scene where they play music dressed like explorers was the starting points for Jean-Paul to work from…
So, do you feel that this SAFARI DISCO name applies to the album as a whole ?
JEAN-FRANÇOIS: It definitely gives a tinge — from the moment we had the title, we listened to the tracks differently, you hear the percussions more. The word “safari” also brings the meaning of “discovery,” which works because we had applied ourselves to making all the songs very distinct. We feel very much part of the compilation generation!
It all works out in the end, but once again it wasn’t thought out that way, we made the songs really one by one.
There are some African vibes in the title track and on LA MUSIQUE…
JEAN-FRANÇOIS: There is a percussion side, coming from the live… Julie has a Tom Bass, we have these suspended drums, we really base ourselves on the percussions for the live show, constructed a bit like a DJ set, with transitions — that really rubbed off on the way we composed for this album.
TANGUY “TEPR”: We didn’t want to copy anything, it’s just a slight tinge, nothing too ‘in your face’…
JEAN-FRANÇOIS: On SDC itself, the most obvious thing in terms of inspiration is the guitar gimmick which is almost Zouk.
Both LA MUSIQUE and SAFARI DISCO CLUB are very instrumental tracks, very percussion-driven, you’re in a sonic trip with words just guiding you on your way…
JEAN-FRANÇOIS: It’s less constructed.
JULIE: Less of a traditional song format.
JEAN-FRANÇOIS: The voice is used more like an instrument, on POP-UP it was more spoken.
TANGUY: Julie’s way of singing changed, not in a calculated way but gradually while writing — it was very spoken and broken on POP UP, on SAFARI DISCO you find this style only on one track really: COMME UN ENFANT. We wanted to try new things. Read the rest of this entry »