Who said that great gigs are not happening in our neighborhood? The recent Skopje OFFest should kick that thought out of your mind, at least for a while.
It is true that we can’t bring back Woodstock, the Beatles’ “Roof concert” or any of the Velvet Underground surreal performances, but we can still relish in the captivating atmosphere of current underground artists performing in our very neighborhood. Things are moving.
Auspiciously, one of the four nights of OFFest included the truly amazing vocalist known for her mesmerizing hypnotic “hot and cool” vocals and her work in Stereolab, Laetitia Sadier.
The concert began under the reflection of red light beams, cozy atmosphere and Sadier strumming her red Gibson SG guitar, what truly enhanced the image of the “Infinity Girl” she was reflecting. She stood there, in the middle of the big stage, set with the instruments of the next band, The Tortoise, and with her lyrics and harmonies, she took us high. She sang to love and life as opposed to fear and death — she confessed to us just before she started singing the song of her new upcoming album “Silencio” which is slated for release in July. That song was called “Invitation au Silence.” She invited us all to sample silence and discover the resonant truth within this silence, her music. Her music was doing just that.
She took us through “The Trip” which was her first solo album since Stereolab’s hiatus in 2009. It was a melodic expression of life’s journey, a music that gives you the space of inventing yourself while listening. The song harmonies gave an impression of flying. No wonder fans call it time traveling music.
Kosovo 2.0: What influences you when you write your songs?
Sadier: I don’t really know, I just channel. I am not cerebral about it, I just start writing and things come. I feel it doesn’t belong to me, I just start receiving. I feel like it is already there and I am only revealing it.
Kosovo 2.0: Is there any band or artist that directly influences you?
Sadier: Yes, I have been inspired by someone called Damien Jerado. In terms of performing alone, he showed me that it is possible to fill the whole space as just one person with a guitar on stage. I would really suggest that you look him up.
Kosovo 2.0: If you would have to sing some other genre of music, other than what you do, what would it be?
Sadier: I would definitely say, folk music, traditional – although I am not quite familiar with it, but I know that there are some really nice English and Irish traditional music.
Kosovo 2.0: Your songs often convey deep and strong messages about different aspects. If you could give any message for us on your own words, what would that be?
Sadier: Well, there they are, in my songs! But if I had to name one now, I think it is important to say that one should create identity. A strong way of resisting the system is to create one’s identity, individual and collective – it is circular, you give it and it gives you.
Kosovo 2.0: Since when have you been on stage?
Sadier: Since I was 5. In school, I did ballet. We did a show for parents and my mom told me that you were very comfortable in stage, so from then I knew where I want to be.
Kosovo 2.0: Going back to Stereolab, how did you as a band create such a unique style, such specific tone and harmony in your music?
Sadier: Well, Stereolab are cosmic. They come from another planet. Now I am starting to think all kinds of crazy things. I think like Tim (Gane) has come from another musical planet before coming to earth, and I was told that I did to. So we come from the universe. We are travelers.
Kosovo 2.0: Is there a chance that Stereolab would get back together?
Sadier: I really sincerely don’t know, it is not just down to me really, it is down to Tim. Sometimes I think no, we will never do that, sometimes I think like I did today, yeah maybe we will. If we did though I don’t want to be in the same band and the same people. That would be depressing. We would have to be new version, maybe less than six people. That was the past and I am recovering from the past. We will see.
Kosovo 2.0: Which is your favorite Stereolab song and album?
Sadier: I think “Dot’s and Loop” is really nice. I really liked the very last album called “Not Music.” I didn’t really like “Chemical Chords” album.
Kosovo 2.0: Recovering from transition, our music scene in Kosovo is growing. We are too fighting certain “diseases” if I may say so, that are infecting our art scene. Can you give an advice to our new musicians? How can we be more original, like your music for example?
Sadier: Well my new album that is coming out is called “Silencio,” and it is exactly for that reason that is called that. There is so much visual, auditive bombardment and it cuts you from everything that is happening inside. To channel the music that is yours so to speak, a music that it chooses you, you have to have a bit of quietness. So I would advise to cut out certain aspects of mediatic apparatus, that is really numbing people, it is numbing me. I am fighting it and it is hard because it is a strong system.