With Chilly Gonzales in Paris


Why did you move to Paris?

Because I was desperate to have a pillow and a closet again. I had just been on tour for a long time, and I just wanted to have an apartment again. And so I picked Paris because I was spending 90% of my time in Europe anyway. And my love affair with Berlin fizzled out after I spent three months of a winter there. I just thought, "I can't handle this place." Berlin winters are even worse than in Canada. So I chose Paris, partially because I had recorded there.

Do you speak French?

I didn't speak a word of French when I arrived and now I speak three words of French.

When you're in Paris, what do you miss most about Canada?

The Canadians I guess. I miss the colloquial hoser language. And just being able to function easily because with the language barrier in France, you feel a little bit in a bubble.

I checked out your forum, and it seems all the boys are smitten with you. Have you ever had any bizarre encounters with male fans?

(Laughs). Uhh.... no. I try to respect whatever they're offering me. I try not to belittle or ridicule whatever form that takes, even though sometimes it's kinda outta control. I think maybe they don't know how to communicate something simply, so it becomes a little wrapped up in their own assumptions about you. I've gotten some weird letters, but it's basically just people saying I relate to what you do and thanks. Or let's be best friends—"I want to know how you feel about life, Feist." (LaughsBut in general, there's been nothing frightening.

Who is the gentleman kissing you on the cover of your album?

I'm gonna leave that for the very few who will do the research necessary to find that out. If I'm doing a radio show, and they say we want to give out two tickets to your concert tonight, what's a skill-testing question we can ask the audience listening at home. I'll say, "Who's the guy on the cover of the record?" And nobody will know, and no one will win those tickets. But there are clues that I have laid, and he has probably laid as well, so I'm sure it won't take long for people to figure it out.

Are you more of a girly girl or a tomboy?

I'm trying to reclaim femininity in the context of touring because it's hard. But I'd say more naturally a tomboy for sure. But I'm trying to wear dresses more at the gigs. I was on tour for a little while with Amy Milan from the Stars—she's an old buddy. She has what she calls her girl kit—her portable boudoir. It's a little make-up kit, boxed with a handle on the top and you open it up and it's filled with girly things. And I opened it, and I just looked at her in awe. I have one of those bum packs filled with a little flask of whisky, Fisherman's Friends [throat lozenges], guitar picks, and eyeliner. That's about all I've got. And she's got the boudoir. It was pretty inspiring. I was just on tour with Rilo Kiley and Jenny Lewis had the back lounge of the bus filled with her clothes. I thought, "That's the way to do it!" Not to just jam t-shirts into a suitcase. You gotta try to do it up a little. Those are girls who have figured out how to maintain girlieness.

At a club, what song will always make you get up and dance?

Anything by Michael Jackson or Daft Punk.

I read that McDonalds was interested in using your track "Mushaboom" for a line of TV commercials.

I didn't hear the full story, but it was something about their corporate image campaign.... (Laughs) Which already in itself is laughable. To think of lending my song for the purpose of nice-ifying their corporate image, or encouraging people to eat their—I guess you could call it food. I would never eat there in a million years, so it was a no-brainer to think why I wouldn't lend a song to get other people to eat there.

Is the jazzy cool sound of Let It Die the official sound of Feist or do you plan to revisit rock music?

Luckily I've got Broken Social Scene for rock. I worked on the new record with them. I was only in town for a little while through the process, but I got to make my mark on the record. And I think that that's my outlet for maintaining my roots. But I finally have a way to express what I've always been trying to do with four-track recordings. I've always been on the pursuit of the simplest arrangements, using the fewest elements possible to bring out the flavors of the melodies. I think that's where I'm going to be spending my time in the next record.