Laetitia returns to the Lab

Laetitia Sadier
Laetitia Sadier
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The first Tuff Life Boogie show at The Mad Ferret takes place on Sunday, with cult heroine Laetitia Sadier headlining with supports from Alfa 9, who are warming up for their appearance at Liverpool Psych Fest at the end of September, and pastoral electronic from Lancaster act Quakers Stang, named after a local beauty spot.

The show is also an awareness-raiser for LadyFest Preston, October 11-13. More information about LadyFest Preston on the Facebook page, here : Tickets cost £7.50

Silencio, the second solo release by former Stereolab front woman Laetitia Sadier releases its charms slowly. This subtlety is counterbalanced by the direct political nature of the lyrics, harking back to the approach she took in Stereolab’s early days.

Did a pressure in Stereolab to avoid repetition lead to ever more intricate records?

LS: I see each album as a new adventure, a new journey. The past is there of course but works more as a foundation than something to avoid in terms of repetition. And yes each album will have a general idea, that will differentiate it from the last.

“The Rule of the Game” on Silencio holds up the film La Règle du Jeu as a mirror to today’s society and class system, showing how little has changed since 1939.

LS: La Règle du Jeu the movie held a mirror to my own bourgeois life and my lack of response to the problems that are facing us human beings. I feel that we live in a grinding system that seeks to lower our consciousness and are led by an irresponsible elite that does the contrary to what it’s supposed to do to correct, for instance, the financial crisis we are going through. So the picture is dark indeed. The film is deceptively light. It contains the worst darkness I’ve ever seen in cinema. It magnifies the insensitive arrogant human monster that we have become, as we are all bourgeois now!

The up-tempo instrumental coda of the song suggests action in response to the earlier despair:

LS: Of course I know that there is a brighter side. I believe that we can find solutions to whatever problems we are facing, and I do believe in people taking their destiny into their own hands.

Given the current social crises, do you find it surprising how little political commentary and protest there is in today’s music?

LS: The point of Silencio is exactly to fill the lack of political voice in pop music, and even to inspire people to open their mouths and shout! The very idea of politics in terms of having conflicting ideas and being able to defend your ideals through a political discourse has totally gone out the window. Now you have to NOT have a clear idea and discourse to go with it.

Your records seem instrumentally very meticulously arranged, with great attention to detail. In contrast, you have been performing live recently on your own, with just an electric guitar – something that I think surprised a lot of people. Was this something you really wanted to do, or was it more down to financial and logistical considerations?

LS: When Stereolab went on hiatus, I didn’t think I would carry on making music particularly. However, through Facebook I got invited to play many exotic places, like Greece, Brazil, Chile, Belgium, Portugal amongst others… I had to make a quick decision to go out on my own. This was very exciting because I couldn’t quite play the guitar and had to learn en route!

Might you ever consider recording a record in such a stripped down way?

LS: Each time I set out to be as stripped down as can be and still have come with rather intricate parts and layers… Perhaps the next album will bring out more depth, reveal deeper truths…?

Silencio is more expansive with varied moods and broad subject matter. Did you feel greater confidence this time around, having already proved you could come up with the goods on your own?

LS: As I said, making these albums marks life’s passages, they are representations of my journey, one leads to the other, which leads to the next, and one could hope that confidence and experience build along on the journey.

You have talked about your sister’s death in 2010 as affecting your solo records. Are writing songs an important part of the process of coming to terms with loss?

LS: Yes very much so. Grieving is a process and formulating the process, making it apparent, giving it an artistic form really helps getting it out there, rather than boxing the emotions in. When I got the record The Trip in my hand, when it had been manufactured, I became very aware of the process, that all my sadness had been poured into the work, which was incarnated in a way into the record. So I burst into tears!

One old song you still sing live is “International Colouring Contest”. Do you identify with the artist Lucia Pamela as a woman staying true to her own personal vision?

LS: I like the cosmic aspect of her work, how connected she was to the Universe and how she integrated her self and her life as part of a bigger thing. To me it is a sign of evolution! And of course her proposition to do an international colouring contest is very poetic, in the true sense of humans doing something together, and always up for a bit of a contest! So instead of war, or petty fights we can channel our energies into being creative, imaginative and having fun with it.

Have you been to Preston:

LS: “ I have never even set foot in your glorious city, so it’s a clean slate for me and Preston. This is very exciting for me as I love to discover new places. I’m sure Preston is a gem!”