“The French outsider has taken his songwriting to astonishing levels.” - Clash
“Sébastien Tellier is so sensual on the synths, he can turn a chore like dishes into a boudoir brooder.” -Billboard
“A hallucinatory take on domesticity.” - Creative ReviewParisian pop genius Sébastien Tellier took one of his famous leaps into the unknown with the release of his recent single ‘A Ballet’. Sonically it was full of the character you’d hope for him to deliver - dreamy French electronica, classic pop songwriting and yacht rock-style sax. Thematically, however, it played with the unlikely parallels between music and the never-ending routine of domestic life. As he questions, “Maybe the key to happiness is there, hidden under a dirty laundry basket?”
It’s a topic that Tellier delves further into with his sixth studio album ‘Domesticated’, which will be released on 5th June. He’d once been carefree and single, but then came love, marriage and children. And then one day he found himself alone at home, entranced by a toaster. A machine designed to make bread hot suddenly became Tellier’s unexpected muse for an airy adventure full of eclecticism and eccentricism.
“Domestication is a universal subject, an experience we all go through,” he explains. “It’s about transforming the everyday into something extraordinary. I wanted to talk about how we are prisoners to domestic chores because, for humans, life doesn’t exist if we don’t endeavour. Life is a permanent struggle, and domestic chores are at the centre of that battle.”
But how best to elevate domesticity to an art form? Setting himself apart from an ocean of beat-makers, Tellier wrote the vocal melodies first and then arranged the instrumentation around them. His surge of inspiration was such that he wrote 200 songs for the project, yet he also possessed the discipline to keep the final album to a taut and concise eight tracks. The result is an electronica album that buzzes with humanity, his most melodically refined work to date and a joyous Franco-pop fantasia.
Tellier picks ‘Stuck In Summer Love’ as a personal favourite (“It was always my wish to make a song like it, but I never found a way”). ‘Venezia’ is another immediate standout, as it demands attention for its boisterous ‘80s beats, swirling vocal harmonies and muscular funk. The luminous ‘Atomic Smile’ is radically different. “It talks about destruction and revolution but in a soft way,” says Tellier, “which is key to my personality. I want destruction and revolution but without anyone to be hurt.”
The album reaches its denouement with ‘Won’, produced by Jam City and nit, which finds Tellier embracing the domesticity that would’ve been an alien concept to him as a teeanger. “I know the names of household products at the supermarket, and I asked for a Dyson hoover for Christmas. In the end, there’s something comforting in all of this, because all the endeavour makes you happy too, it’s not all tough. I have never been as happy as I am now that I’m domesticated. That primitive being who lived inside me as a teenager has fled and it’s better that way.”
On the brink of the album’s release, Tellier is struck by a strange irony: this record about the mundane tropes of day-to-day life is about to pull him away from that existence and into the strange realm of touring. ‘Domesticated’ is now available to pre-order from HERE, with ‘A Ballet’ provided as an instant download.
Throughout an influential career that spans two decades,Sébastien Tellier has forged his own unique journey. It has resulted in his track ‘La Ritournelle’ being named in NME’s list of the Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years, being sampled by The Weeknd, and collaborating with everyone to Jean-Michel Jarre to Daft Punk, Sofia Coppola and Karl Lagerfield. And who else has gatecrashed the Eurovision Song Contest in a golf cart? ‘Domesticated’ tracklist: ‘A Ballet’ ‘Stuck In A Summer Love’ ‘Venezia’ ‘Domestic Tasks’ ‘Oui’ ‘Atomic Smile’ ‘Hazy Feelings’ ‘Won’