Article | Yelle | Queen of the Jungle


Queen of the Jungle

Yelle returns to the spotlight as a more mature

 tour de force.

by Joshua P. Ferguson

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 05.04.11


Ever since French chanteuse Julie Budet partnered with Jean-François Perrier as Yelle and created the sexed-up viral hit “Je Veux Te Voir” (“I Want to See You”), their lives have been a kaleidoscopic whirlwind of throbbing electro beats, costume changes and tour dates. The song, released in 2005, broke the top ten on France’s pop charts; garnered them an album deal, for 2007’s Pop Up; hooked them up with a third member, keyboardist Tanguy Destable; and sent them out into the world for three years of non-stop performance.

With the release of Yelle’s sophomore effort, Safari Disco Club, in March, the trio is back on the road, first as Katy Perry’s opening act in the U.K. and then headlining a tour in the U.S. before heading back to Europe. This is the life Budet and the boys crave, even when it brings them to unknown lands, like New Mexico.


“I’m a big fan of the TV show Breaking Bad, so it’s really cool to be in Albuquerque,” Budet says over Skype from backstage, where she’s taking a break before sound check. “I really like to sing and to meet people every night. To be on tour, I think it’s the thing I prefer to do, even if I’m far from home.”

The constant traveling has had a major influence on Yelle. “Being onstage every night, it’s like a drug,” the 28-year-old says. “When you’re back at home, you are happy because you can see your family and your friends, but it’s hard because you don’t feel the energy you had on tour.” Waifishly thin—but in that Kate Moss, supermodel sort of way—and with a heavy accent that turns words like home and happy into ’ome and ’appy, Budet explains that it was the band’s experiences in new places that led to the idea of a disco safari.


Though Yelle has lost none of its playfulness or electro bounce on Safari Disco Club, Budet has replaced much of her rapping with more lyrical singing, and visually she’s ditched her Technicolor street garb for highly stylized costuming. The album’s press photos feature the frontwoman in an array of animal costumes provided by Belgian designer Jean-Paul Lespagnard. Her bandmates are outfitted in safari gear borrowed from a French film called Subway, one of Perrier’s favorites.

Clearly Yelle has evolved as a group. “I don’t really like the word maturity, but it’s like… It’s sad, you know, because we grow up,” she says. “When we did Pop Up, we were teenagers, enjoying everything every moment. We still want to have fun and enjoy life, but it’s a little bit different because we are older and have a different view on life.” Charming and eager to chat—even if it takes some work to get her point across in English—Budet prefers deeper as the word to describe the new LP.

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Head here to download a track from Yelle's Safari Disco Club: Dialogue Inc | Shuffle


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