|Laetitia Sadier. (Supplied)
The Stereolab singer is calling for quiet with the title of her politically themed sophomore album — not to quash debate, but so we can finally hear what’s important.
“It’s not about silence in the face of the truth,” explains Sadier, nursing a cold in her London flat. “It’s about silencing all the bulls---, basically, to access the truth and access what matters. It’s about finding a more natural state of things instead of the fabricated lie that we’re all living. Silence makes you access your true self, your deeper self — not just the self that wants, wants, wants all the time and is disconnected from the bigger picture.”
No one can accuse the 44-year-old socialist singer-songwriter of not being plugged in. Equally opinionated and just as topical, Silencio speaks volumes about current economic and political crises in songs like Auscultation to the Nation and There Is a Price to Pay for Freedom (and It Isn’t Security) — while playfully subverting their messages with dreamy synth-pop that will be instantly familiar to fans of her other band, which has been on hiatus since 2009.
While sipping echinacea tea, Sadier chatted about bringing Silencio to Canada, being her own boss and getting back to the Lab.
It almost seems ironic that an album titled Silencio has so much to say.
Yes. But the state of things is just more and more difficult to ignore. And to me it’s just obvious. I’m surprised there are not more voices rising — voices of dissent or alarm. I’m surprised there’s not a movement. There are some popular movements like Occupy, but they’re not very big. At this stage, we still have food on our plates and football on television, so things will not change. How far into the s--- do we have to go to come up with solutions?
Are you ever concerned about voicing some of these sentiments in such a politically charged climate?
I think that’s exactly the right time to open a debate and vocalize things. So I couldn’t be doing this in a better time. In terms of security and such, well, I don’t know. I’m probably already on some kind of list somewhere. But it’s not hard to get on a list these days, with the policing of every individual in America and anyone who walks into America. There’s a lot of people who don’t agree and who state it. And I think it’s important to state it. When someone is trying to dissuade you from talking, that’s exactly when you should be talking.
It also doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of political music being made. Why do you think that is?
Maybe we’re just getting more and more bourgeois and sedated. There is some, like Pussy Riot in Russia. I heard their latest single and it’s so angry; it’s directly plugged into that place where anger comes from. But I don’t hear a lot of that type of anger today. It’s like the system has reached a very central part of our brain and keeps it under control and sedated.
You’ll be touring with a band for the first time in years. Do you enjoy being in charge?
It’s a double-edged sword. I’ve been travelling on my own for the past three years, and there’s a lightness to being just one. There’s a lot more work to make all the decisions on my own. But having my own trio is something I always fantasized about doing. And we’ll be touring around in a kind of big car, which is something I’ve never done before because with Stereolab, we always had the luxury of a tour bus, so it’s going to be radically different. For once I’m going to really be seeing the land. It’s going to be right at ground level.
Will you be playing Stereolab material? I assume people request it.
Surprisingly, they don’t. The last time someone requested anything was in Brazil over two years ago. I did work out the song International Colouring Contest and I’ve been playing that one, and people seem satisfied with that. But mostly it seems people are coming to see me as Laetitia Sadier and not just a piece of Stereolab. Of course, I don’t have a huge audience compared to Stereolab. But the people that I have are invested in me and what I do. Of course, I could safely bet that most of them are Stereolab fans. So am I, you know.
Which raises the question: Is there any chance you’ll be reuniting soon?
No, there’s been no movement, I’m sorry to say. I did ask Tim (Gane, band co-founder). I saw him recently and I asked, ‘So, when are we writing a new album? He said, ‘Oh, no, no no.’
So it’s his call?
Well, it is at the moment. But it could be me the next time. He could say, ‘I’ve got some songs ready,’ and I’ll be saying, ‘Oh, no, no, no.’ So he should be careful. Because I may not always be waiting. To be honest, I’m really happy doing what I do now. I’m touring, I’m active, I’m in control. It’s great.
Laetitia Sadier’s Canadian shows:
Sept. 18 | Toronto | Drake Hotel
Sept. 19 | Montreal | Pop Montreal