Arts, The Muse

Pop Up with Yelle!

With her plastic neon bracelets and flirty mod minidress, Yelle boasts a fashion sense just as bright and punchy as the beats to her songs.
‘We are influenced by ’80s and ’90s culture, you know, like Saved By The Bell, drummer/producer/songwriter GrandMarnier says, wearing a ‘Dance or Die’ T-shirt while lounging on the backstage floor of The Roxy. To his left sits Tepr, the group’s co-producer and keyboard player, while Yelle, singer, co-writer and postergirl pop-tart of the trio leans against the wall to his right.
‘It’s a natural mix of tastes,’ he continues, referring to the group’s sound and matching style. ‘It’s somewhere between new and old, like vintage with American Apparel. It’s catchy and modern and fun.’
‘ Having fun is key for these electro-pop French hipsters whose name, Yelle, represents a feminized acronym for ‘you enjoy life.’ And that they definitely do, as proved by their droopy eyelids and lazy postures ‘-‘- a product of late-night partying after the previous night’s sold-out show in New York City. But packing venues on their first U.S. tour and receiving international recognition after just three years of collaboration did not come without hard work ‘-‘- well, actually, it kind of did.
In 2005, Yelle posted a song on her MySpace page titled ‘Short Dick Cuizi’ intended, as she explains, ‘just for family and friends.’ The song, built on simple beats and catchy lyrics, dishes out disses to Cuizinier, a member of the French hip-hop group TTC, notorious for his womanizing lyrics. The unexpected success of the song has unofficially marked Yelle the first-ever French star to emerge from MySpace.
‘Our crowd is the type to spend a lot of time online blogging and downloading songs,’ GrandMarnier says. ‘It’s good for communicating with fans, but not a way to earn money.’
‘Short Dick Cuizi’ was redubbed ‘Je Veux Te Voir’ and quickly became the signature hit single and standout track on Yelle’s 2006 debut album Pop Up. Quickly following the album, the band came out with a cover of the French ’80s pop tune ‘A Cause des Garcons,’ putting it on the map for European tecktonik dancers and clubgoers worldwide.’
The lyrics to their songs are all in French, but the group explains that it hasn’t really mattered to non-francophone fans, whose mumbled renditions provide a bit of entertainment for the band.
‘It’s global music with a catchy sound and energy,’ Tepr says, pumping his fist to an imaginary beat. ‘You don’t need to know the words to feel it.’
Now, nearing the end of their C’est l’Amerique tour, the group is setting its sights on a new album to be recorded this winter, with a new sound and maybe even a cameo or two with some American catch phrases in the mix. Though no plans have been made to collaborate with other singers, the band does have some producers in mind.
‘But shh, we won’t talk about that,’ GrandMarnier says, raising his index finger to his lips. ‘We’re trying to keep that a secret. We want to surprise our fans.’

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