Lætitia Sadier on Having “No expectations”

I must admit I was quite honored last October to get to speak with Lætitia Sadier, best known for her work in Stereolab.  She had just released her third...

I must admit I was quite honored last October to get to speak with Lætitia Sadier, best known for her work in Stereolab.  She had just released her third solo LP, Something Shines, an album largely inspired by the work of Guy Debord, dealing with notions of what being a human actually entails.  The album is reminiscent of the work that she’s best known for, but would seem to push her sonic boundaries to both their most whimsical and biting.  During our chat we talked about the racial politics of Philadelphia, cultural theorists, and the possibility of a US tour… Well, that US tour is finally being realized.  Lætitia Sadier has been on the road, playing both coasts and quite a few places in-between in the US since September 11th, and the run nearly wraps with an October 3rd show at Johnny Brenda’s.  She very recently also released music videos for album singles “Then, I Will Love You Again” and “Dry Fruit,” which is available as a cassette single, or “cassingle.”  Earlier this month I got a chance to once again chat with Lætitia Sadier, who told me all about what she’s been up to over the past year.

Izzy Cihak: So the last time we spoke was about a year ago, shortly after the release of Something Shines.  What have been some of the highlights of the past year for you, whether musical or otherwise?

Lætitia Sadier: Hello. The highlights of this year… musically there have been a few, such as recently we had the joy of playing with a group called Batsch, whom I’ve met, as they were Chris Cummings’ backing band. Chris Cummings plays as Marker Starling, previously named Mantler. He is also a big important discovery. He is from Toronto. Batsh are from Coventry, UK, a mix of Typically British sophisticated pop, with a hint of African Rhythm… I also got to see and get Moodoid`s album. They are from France and absolutely exquisite. Look out for an album from Superbravo also -looking for a label right now, that is very refined and most subtle music of a rare kind. The Jane Weaver Sliver Globe album has given its fair share of thrills down my spine too! Voila to name but a few highlights, some of which are coming up! – like the delights of Iko Cherie, and Astrobal!

Izzy: And you’ve been on the road in the states for a little while now.  Have there been any particular highlights of the tour?  Any audiences that were especially inspiring, or just cities that were especially fun to visit?

Lætitia: Ha! Indeed, there have been many highlights on this tour. Personally, I loved playing Phoenix a couple of nights back. Our show was grouped up with Destroyer’s for technical reasons, so we played in a bigger hall which was full of attentive, open-hearted people. We used Destroyer’s very good sounding equipment, and established a lovely connection with the audience. It felt simple and intense and fun! In LA we had the joy of having a full house, which makes traveling all these miles across country feel worth its while. In general I must say that it has been auspicious thus far in terms of connection to people who come out. We are so lucky to have such attentive, supportive, adorable audiences! Which I take this opportunity to thank.

Izzy: What can be expected of the live experience, when you’re here in Philly next week?  What does it draw inspiration from?  Do you have any particular favorite live performers?

Lætitia: I would say that it is always best to turn up to a gig, or anything in life for that matter, with an open mind and no expectations. I like how Bradford Cox talks to his audience, as if they were his friends. So I like to connect in this way to the public, so to establish energetic trust to enable a way to relax and enjoy the evening. But saying that may induce some expectation, which again I`d rather people didn’t have…!

Izzy: I really love your recent music videos for “Oscuridad” and “Then, I Will Love You Again,” which obviously have a very cinematic feel to them (with “Oscuridad” explicitly referencing particular films), so I’m curious what it is that inspires the visual elements of your work?  Are there any visual artists you’re particularly fond of, in addition to those you directly reference?

Lætitia: I like Werner Herzog`s work very much. I remember seeing Mouse On Mars in London perform live to one of his desert movies and how the music was enhancing the striking images… I find music videos to seldom accomplish that. It seems to be a very hard thing to do, for the video to really serve the music in any relevant way.

Thank you for complementing my videos! And please let me announce the new one that has just been released, one that I am particularly fond and proud of, which is the one of the tour single “Dry Fruit”. Look out! But again, expect nothing! It is a simple video…

 Izzy: I think it’s so cool that you released the single version of “Dry Fruit” on cassette, which is my favorite way to listen to music and which I’m so happy is making a comeback.  What is it that led to that formatting decision?  Do cassettes also play a particularly fond role in your life and history? (I honestly want a perfume that smells like the translucent cassette tapes that came out in the mid-late ‘80s, haha.)

Lætitia: Ahaha, you make me laugh with your cassette perfume! Well, to be honest, we made a cassette because making a vinyl single would have taken too long and not been ready on time for the tour. The idea of the tour single was quite a last-minute thing and indeed we were happy with this cassette solution.

I remember fondly the days when we used to make each other tapes; I`ve made and received quite a few in my day, and what fantastic way it was to share and discover music, or say, “I love you” to someone!

Izzy: I’m also a big fan of your particular politics and your particular interests within the “humanities,” so I’m curious if there are any theorists, philosophers, semiologists, “thinkers,” etc. that you’ve gotten into or re-visited in a meaningful way over the past year?

Lætitia: I am currently reading the biography of a very important philosopher/thinker in my life of ideas, Cornelius Castoriadis. He was Greek, and was persecuted by both the Nazis and the communists back during the second WW, which led him to flee his country and take refuge in France, where he settled well. He was one of the first lefties to warn against the bureaucratic dictatorship that was the USSR, saying that this wasn’t communism in any shape or form. I would like to discover Thoreau. We were discussing him with Emma, my drummer, in the van recently. He sounds a person of integrity who has denounced the absurdity of our system and refused it in concrete ways. We all more or less suffer from the capitalist system, but still don’t directly confront it. Though I see more forms of gentle resistance now emerging, which may amount to a real dissident power at some point.

Izzy: And, finally, what’s next for you?  What are you most focused on for after this tour wraps and the first part of 2016?

Lætitia: Sorry to be so predictable but… looks like I am going to be focusing on writing new songs and working on recording them here and there and then… to come back to America for another tour! Thank you for your questions.

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.