An Interview with AIR

“I use science to find feelings..”

For many of us, the album Moon Safari shaped and signalled the mood of the final days of the last century. A game-changing release that gave rise to a slower, downbeat style of electronic music. It was both exciting and uplifting, and along with the singles ‘Sexy Boy’, ‘All I Need’ and ‘Kelly Watch The Stars’, the album quickly produced radio staples that dominated airwaves. Alongside this, Moon Safari also made overnight stars of the creative force behind it. That being the French duo of Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel who together formed the band Air.

Looking back to when the album was recorded, nobody knew or even considered how the long-lasting appeal of Moon Safari would still be so relevant today, not even the band themselves.“Not at all!” says Jean-Benoît today and continues; “I remember at the time I was hopeful, but I did not expect it. I felt the album was really sincere and really emotional, but weird in a way because at that time there was a lot of House music on the radio, and we did something different.” Expanding on that description, the passion for the album still brings a nostalgic joy to the composer; “We did something slower, more mellow and more emotional and eclectic. So for me this album could not have had a successful way, but it did actually, and I am really happy about that.”

Part of the charm woven within the fabric of Moon Safari is how it adapted to the mainstream scene. Going further it is worth exploring how the release managed to cross over genres. This can be shown in how the same music fans who were buying Radiohead and Oasis albums, were also the ones who found the same appeal in an electronic album, and that is a rarity. “It is interesting.” Pausing for a moment to reminisce; “In a way we arrived at a time when there was a little bit of change in England, certainly music-wise. Because with some of those bands, it was really the beginning of the end of those Britpop bands. It was sort of a wave ending, and we arrived with something fresh and new from France, and after that there has been a lot of electronic music showing up in England. After that again, in two thousand, English Rock went back into the fashion and all these American Hip hop bands came and took over all the success. But maybe because it was the end of a certain Britpop wave, that they started paying attention to other bands like Air. I do not know?”

There is certainly a relaxed, calming element for many that is found in the album. Better said, it can be viewed as the perfect ‘Sunday morning’ record to immerse yourself in after the night before. Moon Safari exists outside of clubs, both then and now, and so adds to the personal experience. Nowadays, we take that approach for granted, whilst back then by the industry it was viewed as a fearless move.  “Yes. It is a chill out album. There is something really, really soft and very emotional in the music. That is, in how it is very child-like in a way. There is something in how it speaks to the children inside ourselves, and there is this kind of vibration that is something really easy going and something that is really soft and tender, something emotional and melancholic also.”

Read more in our exclusive Air interview in the latest issue of Blitzed, out now.

Order the new issue of Blitzed today:

🎹Buy online (Print):

🎹Save over 20% on a subscription to Blitzed magazine. Plus, get a free Cult With No Name CD when you subscribe!