Laetitia Sadier on finding her Source Ensemble and her latest album

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Laetitia Sadier on finding her Source Ensemble and her latest album


Laetitia Sadier, the co-founder and crystalline voice of avant-pop outfit Stereolab, is a musical mainstay. Her career spans three decades, and she’s got more albums overall than you’ve got fingers. What’s striking about Sadier though, is that this longevity hasn’t quenched her thirst to create.

She talks about the approach to the studio lucidly. “It’s a process of relinquishing control, letting other forces take over, and trusting those to do a better job than my controlling desire would ever do.”

They’re the words of someone wholly at ease in their craft. What you might fancy as wisdom, garnered through toiling, and weathered by experience. Someone with a knack for the rhythm of creativity’s ebb and flow. Yet still, even in this comfort, her voice betrays a kind of awe and enthusiasm for the flow of the moment, the magic of it all during those sparks of creation.

“When you’re not forcing things, and things come to you. You just follow them through, and you’re in service of this force. Whatever it is. It’s a lot of hard work, and you have to follow it, and trust it. It’s a question of trust. And for this album certainly, it’s where it happened the most”.

Find Me Finding You, her latest LP, is coming via a new name, the Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble. It’s a special type of collaboration – allowing her the support of a group, but also the freedom of a solo artist.The break, she says, is as much about honouring the group as it is taking a political stand.

“In an era where the ideology has become so overly individualistic and at a time where it makes the least sense ever to have this kind of optic. I thought well you know; the source ensemble will rectify a bit of this individualism.”

It’s natural for Sadier to linger on philosophy, her curiosity sees her deftly navigate such large questions as it does guide her through more intimate ones. ‘Love Captive’, a duet with Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor, is one such exploration.

“It was about my boyfriend at the time, wanting an open relationship. And I had problems with that initially, but sort of came to terms with it like ‘Let’s give it a go.’ And I realised, I’m not really cut out for this open relationship thing,” Sadier says.

“The issue really arises in most couples at some point. They have desires to explore elsewhere. Relationships with other people, without leaving the one they’re in currently, or to revitalise what they currently have. And it sounds very paradoxical. But I know many people come across it, being frustrated, or tired of always exploring the same body, again and again.”

And though Sadier poses the problem, she’s quick to confess she doesn’t necessarily have the solutions.

“It’s a very tricky sombre thing. In the sense that I sort of tried it, but it meant the end of the relationship with my boyfriend. It didn’t sustain that. So I don’t really see it as an answer either personally.”

For Sadier though, it’s important to outline what means most to you. Some principles, even if they’re shifting, will guide you through such ambiguity.

“I do value commitment actually; I think it gives freedom to the other. And this trust is very liberating, but without this binding ‘you belong to me’ attitude. That exclusive undertone is alienating I think, and drives people away.”

When asked what framed the aesthetic of her new album, Sadier says she reached into the abstract. “The idea that prompted this last album was based around geometric shapes. I wanted the songs that I would write and record for the new album to reflect those shapes that I had seen in my imagination.”

For Sadier though, having done so much touring recently, it’s the love from fans at a show that she relishes most. “The feedback is always very joyful. Even though a lot of people say, ‘Oh you made me cry,’” Sadier laughs. “I hope it was of joy, or awakening some emotion. That to me is the most beautiful achievement, to indeed make people cry, to stir the heart.”