French tickler

By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  April 2, 2009

His 2005 follow-up to his debut was Politics, a bold record that fused African rhythms (courtesy of Tony Allen, drummer of Fela Kuti's Africa '70 band) with emotional balladeering. That produced the worldwide smash "La ritournelle." But even then, the seeds of his next project were being planted before his eyes, and the carnal lust that was to become his next obsession proved difficult to escape. "Around the time of that album, I did a gig in New York, and some couple in the audience made love during that song ['La ritournelle']. And you know, the goal of a gig is not just to listen to bum-bum-bum-bum, you know? If people make love to my music, perhaps that means that my music can help create babies — which is a wonderful effect, because with music, you can dance, you can cry, anything. When people have sex in front of me during a song, it's a pleasure — it's like living in a dream."

Tellier's shift from Politics to Sexuality suggests that he will now move on to another subject — or maybe not. "When I did the Sexuality album, I opened the door, in a way, to display my sexuality to the world and everybody. And now, I am a slave, in a way, to sex, to sexuality! Because sexuality is so many things: it is relationships, it's life, it's babies, it's pleasure, it's biology, it's everything! Really, nothing is more important in life, which makes it hard for me to find a better subject."

Of course, one wonders how seriously to take Tellier — is this all just standard French irony in the face of life's absurdity? And though tracks like Sexuality's "Sexual Sportswear" might at first glance seem to be a big joke, Tellier is serious and very open about his music, his life, and the nakedness behind the electronic sheen of his records.

"Since Sexuality, everybody wants to talk to me about sex. It's great! They don't talk to me about drama, or the bass lines in my music; they just want to talk about sex, and pleasure, and the philosophy of the body's pleasure. So for me, this album wasn't just a record, it has become a new way of life — and it's wonderful!"

SÉBASTIEN TELLIER + LEMONADE | Paradise, 967 Comm Ave, Boston | April 5 at 8 pm | $14 | 617.562.8800 or

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