Sex, Hedonism, Depression – In Conversation With Air

When you think of ambient electronica, one of the biggest names in the world has to be Air. The summer of 1998 seemed to be soundtracked by their album ‘Moon Safari’. Since then they’ve ‘done a Muse‘. No, not turned into conspiracy theorists, but they’ve got their own studio. Subsequent freedom to do what they like has allowed them to come up with some of their best material in recent years. Not to mention a fantastically trippy video.

I spoke to JB and Nicolas from the band in the moodily lit drawing room of a club in London, and found them in the mood to chat about destroying yourself through travel and using their music to seduce.

Certain bands create albums you reach for when you want energizing. Other albums are perfect for cocooning yourself and creating your own space to escape to. Air are almost perfect at the latter. Nicolas agrees that is what the band is all about:

“We thought the outside world is very aggressive. When we were children it was kind of embarrassing to live in the real world, and we really hated it. But then you make a band and you create your own world, but still you have to be careful not to be prisoner of the bubble you created, otherwise you start to make boring albums because nothing is coming from the outside to feed you.”

I love it when bands are willing to be philosophical. I remarked that after so many years of touring they must be very good at travelling now and have ways of dealing with it. JB agreed:

“We’re good travelers because we are trained. It requires a lot of energy, a lot of knowledge about yourself because there are some dangers about traveling like first of all, your physique, your body is declining really fast, and also your mind. You are cut from your culture, cut from your family, and so you have to control your depression. Also, partying too much is a danger too, it can kill you.”

Given the languid tempo of most of Air’s music, their albums have to be used all over the world to set the mood for seduction. I thought I’d ask them if that was what they had in mind when they wrote the tunes. Nicolas responded: “Yes, there’s something very sexual and sensual about the fact of making a record, like the sound that you create… you really want them to be sexy.”

I did find out though, that while the rest of the world can use his music, he can’t: “Oh my God, it would be a disaster, I would have a bad result! There would be complaints by the consumers.”

Air’s new album ‘Love 2’ is out now. You can download a mini-mix of the new album here.