How do you like being in LA?
For a short time it’s fun. A lot of fun. I’ve been here for long periods of time when I wasn’t working and it became depressing. I think it’s best when you have a project, when you're working on something and busy. I think it's a great place to be. It’s quite inspiring. Maybe it’s the isolation. But it’s sort of — I don’t mean to be rude — beautiful in the ugliness. There is a lot of decay, withering around the corners. Yeah, it’s quite dark, a lot of sides of it.
Tell me about the book. When did you decide to make it?
Oh, I didn't know that I would release a book. I would have found it pretentious to think about it from the start.
Because I’m not a photographer. I’m not an artist. You know? Not a painter. But it was fun, realizing that once the album was done, I had a lot of things that had accompanied me during the making of the album. A lot of it was visiting this cemetery where my sister is in Paris. And in relation to that, it was my new life in New York. The isolation in the cemetery in this very busy city. And a lot of auto portraits during that time. My friend Natalie, who was with me all of the time, she saw me draw, she saw le matériel. She saw the amount of stuff that I had. And she said it would be fun to make a book. So she was the one who persuaded me and who sort of put it together. I wanted it to be very random; there wasn't a story to tell behind the book, apart from what was going on in my head during the making of the album. That's it.
It’s the visual representation.
It's like a scrapbook, really, of me trying a bit of everything — photography, drawing, the beginning to the lyrics, which was a real process for me because I hadn’t done it in the past. I didn't feel I was confident enough to write them. I think the fact that I was in New York, there was a freedom. So it came together there. It's very obvious now why.
Like an anonymity.
Yeah. And it's a city that I didn't know and that I discovered little by little, but it wasn't an inspiration for the album. I never thought of New York as an inspiration. It was just the fact that I was on my own, discovering and escaping my old life with my children, with Yvan. Everything was new.
You didn't have that baggage.
Heavy baggage. It was a completely new sky, which was very exciting. And also the fact that in New York, or LA, I guess, everybody does everything. It's not that big a deal to write lyrics, or to take a few pictures, or to draw. Everybody is being an artist; having fun with it is not being pretentious. So, I found it very liberating.
Can you explain more about what your time in the cemetery was like?
Initially I avoided the cemetery because my father is there too. And because he died when I was 19, and being who he was, the cemetery was always filled with people, and so it wasn't a place I wanted to go to. And because of the depressing image for me. I preferred to go to his house, which I bought and left everything as it was. That was my cemetery during all those years. When my sister died it was completely different in the sense that I needed to talk about her. I needed to make her a part of my life still, and going to the cemetery was so obvious. I needed a place to visit, to talk. And I found myself like those little old ladies going to visit their époux, their husbands. It was a place that didn't scare me anymore. It's funny because with my father, it was a nightmare.