The universe is making music all the time

Chosen One: Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble

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I always loved music even as a very young child I was very fascinated by it. I always thought it was miraculous somehow, it was divine and otherworldly.”

Laetitia Sadier

Words: Mark Carry


French artist Laetitia Sadier has continually evolved along her rich musical path, from the early 90’s inception of legendary indie outfit Stereolab – who released several vital musical documents, encompassing French new wave, krautrock rhythms, film music with an irresistible punk DIY ethos – and later, her own mesmerising solo works (under the moniker of Monade and under her own name) while this year presented yet another of the French chanteuse’s artistic reinventions: Ladier Sadier Source Ensemble.

Source Ensemble represents several of Sadier’s close collaborators, including Brazilian bassist Xavi Munoz and French drummer Emanuel Mario as the trusted rhythm section. The scintillating new record, ‘Find Me Finding You’ sees an ever-evolving spectrum of life-affirming music shine brightly across the sun-lit horizon. The radiant light of Sadier’s artistic vision burns brightly as a deeply empowering energy permeates this new musical space.

The lead single ‘Undying Love For Humanity’ contains infectious melodies and warm polyrhythms amidst Sadier’s undying hope for humanity. The vivid light and colours of ‘Galactic Emergence’ is beautifully embedded in psychedelic flourishes where instrumentation of organ and flute dance a majestic, slow dance. ‘Love Captive’ is a gorgeous duet with Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor. Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble represents the latest chapter in the renowned French artist’s canon of work, crafting an otherworldly, divine sound-world, portraying new extended versions of an intriguing artist.

‘Find Me Finding You’ is out now on Drag City.

For forthcoming UK & European tour dates (kicking off in Dublin THIS Thursday), visit HERE



Interview with Laetitia Sadier.


Congratulations on your new album ‘Find Me Finding You’. Even though it’s a new solo album, I love even how there is a new band name of Source Ensemble for this record. Please discuss this new chapter?

Laetitia Sadier: Yeah, I mean it’s always a new chapter in the continuity of a journey I guess, of a self-exploration in a complex world and in a world of relationships to others.

I’d love for you to take me back to the making of the new album in the sense of your approach to writing the songs?

LS: Well, the songs are written according to my usual formula of just collecting ideas as they arrive and as they are magically delivered by the universe. And then, when it comes to actually writing songs I refer to these ideas and develop on certain things and knock them into songs. It’s always a process of just being guided by what the songs need or require and asking certain friends to contribute like Emanuel Mario or have Rob Mazurek play a part on such a song or asking Alexis Taylor to do a duet with me. I mean these things just fall into place as the songs develop and you know there is a place for everything. It’s an organic process really.

The idea with the Source Ensemble was to have an insistence on the collective aspect of doing things and of making sense of the world and that always inscribes itself in a wider political world of human existence. I like the parallel between doing something – in this case artistic – but making it a collective process as well, we’re not alone in this and we need to establish connections with others, to make sense of the world.

I loved the first single – and first taste of the new album – ‘Undying Love For Humanity’ because like you said, this song really touches on the themes and the message of the album, in terms of the lyrics.

LS: I came up with this title after watching a documentary on the Black Panthers and how they organized their struggle to be properly respected and accepted as full members of American society and to what extent they had to go. It wasn’t just about fighting off the opression, it was also about them organizing themselves in a revolutionary organization; they organized schools and they organized breakfasts in the morning for children who didn’t have breakfasts in the morning. And how revolutionary it all was; of how people gathered to organize a society that was viable for them and taking their destiny into their own hands, which they actually achieved but then of course it was all destroyed by outside forces who didn’t want the people organizing themselves autonomously and successfully and so it was a rather tragic end for that movement but still they did do it.

It also reminds me of the French Communes, the Communards at the end of the nineteenth century and how they organized also their schools and how everything was distributed and they even had an army because they needed to defend themselves. It was really democratically organized for the best of anyone and how that was truly revolutionary, it was a revolutionary struggle to self-organize. It also ended up tragically because there are forces out there that don’t want us to organize – to organize for our best needs – but it is still possible to organize in that way. And I find that very inspiring and I see how it’s feasible and how we can achieve that as a human society.

I love how your music is almost like a platform where there is a powerful commentary carefully placed inside the music. Your music always belongs to this very unique sound world where there’s always new directions which you explore.

LS: In every album I want to be new [laughs] and in the end it’s still always me, always the same person making this music and so it’s kind of recognizable. But indeed I see life as an evolutionary process whereby I want to venture into new versions of myself, new extended versions of myself and of course that should reflect in the music and I hope it does and sometimes I feel it doesn’t do it enough, you know [laughs]. Of course I want a more mature expression of myself through my songs and thank you for saying that this is a new direction because this is how I wished it to be.

I love ‘Galactic Emergence’ and the beautiful video that accompanied it. The visuals match the music so well, I suppose it shows your love of nature and the universe as a whole.

LS: Yeah, of course, whenever I can I will honour nature and art as much as I can. When it comes to videos, I mean to me video is a very tricky art form whereby it has to serve the music and enhance the music through image. I find it’s a difficult thing to really achieve and again thank you for saying that it matches the image. I see us as natural beings living in a natural environment that more and more perceivedly, it’s being spoilt or exploited and tragically because we are cutting the branch on which we are all dwelling and it’s the tragedy of our time.

We are faced now with a choice of carrying on the way we’re going or breaking away from our ways and maybe calling ourselves into question and reorganizing life on earth in different ways so that we can sustain ourselves and sustain what sustains us, living more harmoniously with the forces of nature. At the moment we are not doing that – well some people are – some people are realizing that. We’re currently staying with friends here [in LA] and they work on an organic farm and they host schools to teach young people to pass on a certain knowledge of how best to harmoniously cultivate the land and the products that come out of this land are really beautiful, tasty and nutritious. So, some people are quite active or proactive. We just need to have a shift in human consciousness, to shift our ways of living towards something more harmonious with nature. I quite intimately know this now and I guess more and more people are and lets see if the shift is important enough that it can prevail or not.

You mentioned the Black Panthers documentary, was there other sources of inspiration that you drew from on the rest of the album?

LS: For instance, in ‘Psychology Active’ I usually observe myself [laughs] and I see how for instance, I will tend to not want to do the hard things or the unpleasant things. Like how we as a species want to eliminate any effort, any hardship and in fact in the end it’s quite punishing. In fact, we should always face our hardships and try to also live with them and develop our own strength. I feel we are weakening ourselves. I feel that the system by creating all of these desires and thekind of sit down in front of the telly and forget about it is aggravating our situation and the narcissistic thing of how to please ourselves all the time and have everything on demand now and the idea of instant gratification and all that. And how in fact it is disservicing us quite profoundly and how there is value in patience and  facing up to hardship. So, I explore this theme in ‘Psychology Active’ for instance.

Also, in ‘Undying Love For Humanity’ it is a song about replacing the power onto us, onto the people who really have the power by just voting every four or five years, going here you have the political power and displacing the power onto other bodies. The professional politicians are also doing us a disservice because we know that this displaced type of power only leads to corruption, 99% of the time. It’s also about learning from that; historically we’ve seen it happen time and time again and how it doesn’t work like that like we have to dig deeper into the structures of power and how to really empower ourselves. And already that’s difficult enough but it leads to more successful ways of interacting and organizing. To remember that we’re impactful as a societal body, as individuals we impact society and society impacts us in return. We’re not powerless but we are in fact quite responsible in our ways of being, we’re very powerful.

There’s of course ‘Love Captive’, the song about free love and how we could look at reinventing love and our rapport to love and ownership of the partner in wanting to belong. And how it’s not completely realistic to how we’re built as a human being that inevitably it leads to conflict and deflation of desire. What’s the way around that also like do we need to seal the deal through marriageand through the idea of living together for eternity. I mean they are all subjects that we are being faced with and either we really embrace them – and seriously and honestly look at them – or do we sweep it under the carpet and then have to learn to deal with these things in more brutal ways.

Of course I am thinking of the political situation like Brexit and over here it’s Donald Trump, how the refusal of a system that is not working and that is not bringing about satisfaction and how there is a vote of revolt of saying ‘no’, which I think is healthy but how it’s also misplaced because these things will send us to a collapse, I mean quicker because we’re heading anyway towards a collapse. How we’re organized now is not sustainable; the capitalist forces or the neoliberalists are not sustainable of course. It’s like do we want a soft collapse or a hard one? It looks like we’re heading towards the hard one and I guess that’s how people learn when there’s something really hard happening. Do they go ‘So what do we do now? Where do we turn to next?’ in terms of reorganizing. I don’t know if it’s desirable but that’s what people chose, you know, the hard collapse.

And it’s repeating itself across the world in different countries.

LS: Yes, it’s a general thing. I think we are becoming more and more aware of our unitedness here; that planet Earth is rather small and we’re all interconnected. I mean that’s a good thing to realize, I think to best organize in the future. It sounds paradoxical but we have to organize more locally. I think that’s what Buckminster Fuller was saying,  ‘Act locally, think globally’; be aware and be conscious of the global aspect and this goes even beyond the realm of our planet, the earth and our cosmic connections. If we could organize ourselves around this principle, I think we would be more successful at living harmoniously and happily. And of course there will still be conflict but we could accomodate human life much better.

I particularly love towards the end of the album ‘The Woman With The Invisible Necklace’, there’s something very intriguing about the song-title.

LS: Yeah I mean I followed the footsteps of the Stereolab legacy of having strange titles that don’t neccessarily immediately match the song. Here we have a text about tyranny and how tyrants only exist in as far as we confer certain power to them. If we don’t feed them energetically, the tyrants and through our beliefs they are nothing, they’re just like thin air. To a large degree, we also as a collective also create our own tyrants – again people voted for Brexit and people voted for Donald Trump – and also the whole mediatic realm fed these feelings and fed these votes. Trump, even in the Guardian every day they talk about him, sometimes in two or three articles, it’s like there’s a fascination for him, which confers him power. So we have to be careful also what we feed with our intentions and our energies and that we could be looking at feeding other things, more positive things but we’re morbidly fascinated by these people.

Growing up in France, there must have been a wealth of music surrounding you and great records that made a really big impression on you?

LS: I always loved music even as a very young child I was very fascinated by music. I always thought it was miraculous somehow, it was divine and otherworldly. I mean I think music really saved my life and was like my best companion; it just transported me, it gave me the confidence I needed, it gave me ideas, it motivated me. I used to go to concerts alone as a teenager and it was my raison d’être. I was really into all the after punk era of do it yourself, you don’t need to go to school, you don’t need to have a degree in music, if you want to do it get some amps, get some guitars and get a band together, do it and be in the act of it.

And there was a really vibrant scene in the mid-80’s and late 80’s that I was totally into. In France too there were some really good bands going on and they were unapologetic or uncomprimising like there was a vision and they were serving that vision. And often that vision was a political one in the sense of transforming society; transforming oneself and to lead a more exciting and full life; a life that you create and not be a victim but be an active participating member of this world, of expressing and manifesting your visions and your ideas. And I loved that, it made sense to me – it made so much sense – it was complete, you know because it was about the self and it was about society and about the self within that society. I was very elated by the music of the mid to late 80’s and I wanted to serve that. I really wanted to be part of that.

I met Tim [Gane] and we started Stereolab together and that was where I wanted to be. And there were no expectations of becoming big stars or anything, that was not the goal but doing it and we were very lucky. We grew very organically – there was no big hype or nothing – and somehow the people responded to the music. We had a great run of making albums, touring and having a very thriving band life all this time. And I carried on, after Stereolab stopped I thought ‘maybe I’ll get a job’ but no, I signed up to facebook and I had invitations to go and play in Greece, in Belgium, in Portugal, in Brazil and I was like ‘Oh right, I’m taking on board for another run here’ [laughs] and I went along with it because it was there, like the path was opening and I’m going, I’m going [laughs] and so it was really exciting.

That’s the great thing, like you said about the DIY ethos that has been – and continues to be – so inspiring where there was something so organic and fresh about all your albums, with Stereolab and after.And there is always a natural connection and development with them all.

LS: To me that’s how it should be; that’s what I want in a band, I want a true expression and not some kind of formula where they think they should be projecting so that they are better liked. But just the real thing, the real singularity of an artist is what I’m after; of an artist and of people I meet and I want to sense that; the deeper insights can resonate with me.

Are there certain albums or books you have been inspired by lately?

LS: As I grow more mature, it’s true I feel there is a more spiritual connection being established with my environment and coincidentally I was offered a book at Christmas called ‘To Believe In The Forces of Spirit’ (a French book) and it’s about a woman, she’s a psychologist and she started in the 80’s and she was appointed in the role of end-of-life care, it’s when people are about to die and maybe have one month or a few weeks to live and how to better make them live those last few moments, to accompany them towards their death but within a life affirming situation and environment. It’s a really nice book, it’s very unassuming – it’s not hippie or anything – it’s very down-to-earth experience of this woman how to better bring people to that moment. Also, she had a spiritual relationship with François Mitterrand in the last twelve years of his life and so he was the President at the time and very erudite and it’s relating their conversations around the subject of spirituality and how it manifests through the body, how it manifests through land, how it manifests through trees and through certain stones. It’s a very nice book and I’m happy to be reading it at this moment.

In terms of albums, there’s an album that I love at the moment, the Aquaserge album, which is on Crammed Discs, it’s called ‘Laisse ca etre’ (to translate the French version to ‘Let It Be’). It’s a fantastic album, both moving and invigorating, it’s really a perfect album. And listen to it fully because what you first hear is not necessarily where you end up, it’s a journey.

‘Find Me Finding You’ is out now on Drag City.

For forthcoming UK & European tour dates (kicking off in Dublin THIS Thursday), visit HERE

Written by admin

April 5, 2017 at 11:07 pm

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