I was absolutely fascinated first listening to the beautiful and melodious sounds of the Moon Safari album by AIR, who had released their first earlier this year in Europe. Having heard a lot about them and having looked through some magazine articles (where they nearly always received the highest of praise as well), I instantaneously emailed all Parisians I knew to ask if they knew them by any chance in order to help me make contact with them.
With a helping hand from above and thanks to Mathieu Araud, Anthony Augundre and Marc Teissier du Cros, I was able to track down and talk to J.B Dunckel, one of the members of AIR.
First of all, how do you feel about becoming so popular with Moon Safari and also having sold quite a few albums in Japan?
To sell records is useful for Air. But the success for us is not commercial. We would be proud of doing something new in the general story of music.
How do you view Japan and what sort of thoughts come to mind when thinking about Japan?
Japan is the mix between the traditional behaviour and the futuristic attitude. Japan is the past and the future.
As you have written "French Band" on the CD sleeve of Moon Safari, are you conscious of being a French band at all?
"French Band" is second degree humour. We are not proud of being French. We wanted to play with that idea of French style.
What are the most interesting things happening with French music at the moment? Do you have any favourite musicians there?
The French scene is especially active in the "techno" style. We like Daft Punk, Etienne de Cr馗y, Cassius, and Phoenix.
Why did you choose to call your band AIR? How did you come up with the name?
In French, "Air" means "melody". This name is very short, minimal and weightless. That's what we are looking for in music.
In your video clip, CD sleeve design, the sounds and everything regarding the creative output, there is a constant concept and taste about musical and visual expression, something you might be able to call 'classical future'. Do you represent this style continuously or does it only appear as an album flavour?
We work with Mike Mills. He is the genius of the artwork. With him, we like to build an emotional & strange world. We like the dreams, the lack of sense, and as you said, the universal future.
The music that AIR makes is generally said to be Abstract Lounge, and at the same time your music has sort of an effect that makes the listener mentally relax. This healing meets the demand of the 90's. What do you usually have in mind when you are making music?
At the beginning, no pictures, no dreams. We only feel the harmony. The more we are building the track, the more our soul can really express itself. Our brain is trying to order that expression of music.
In your interview with Dazed & Confused magazine, you mentioned the Beatles as your favourite band. Which Beatles' album do you like most? Is there any single tune of theirs you like the most? What do you think of the Sgt.Peppers' album?
Personally, I like everything. I can like "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da" and "Being for the benefit of Mr Kite". Sergeant Pepper is a great travel for me.
What are your favourite bands other than the Beatles?
Claude Debussy, Rachmaninov, ACDC, The Buggles, Sex Pistols, Fran輟ise Hardy, Kinks, Sukia, Beck, Beach Boys, Abba, Stooges..
Do you have a specific ideas for your next album?
Absolutely no idea. That is the best way to prepare an album.
Are there any plans for the future you would like to tell us?
What do you want to do, where do you want to go etc... Music. I want to stay home and do some music.
Thank you very much for your time. We hope you will keep on producing good music as you do now.
And i'm sure i'll get my hands on your next album when it hits the streets in japan.
Address: 13 rue Payenne 75003 Paris
Tel: 01 44 78 82 78
Contact: Marc Teissier du Cros
Text: Satoru Tanno
Special Thanks to: Mathieu Araud, Anthony Augendre
English Text Editor: Nick Matthey