To Air Is Human

Air's Nicolas Godin finds life at the heart of the electronic age.

"People think that musicians are so sophisticated until they go on tour, and then they become the wild man. But they have to know the truth. They have to know that people are farting in the studio. Humanity has to know that."

A vital mission to be sure -- but for Godin, the real reason to tour is because "it is so magical that I can touch people's sensibilities so far from my home. When I was a kid, I read interviews of people and saw them live, and it helped me a lot when I was a teenager to think that somewhere in the world people were doing something interesting. So now we have to prove to a lot of young people that it's possible to make something interesting of your life and let them know that there is something different from their school or their parents or the things the culture forces them to do that they don't like."

Nevertheless, taking their show on the road opens them up to greater scrutiny and the misunderstandings that often come along with it. But instead of fearing insults, Godin says he's more worried about "people liking us for the wrong reasons -- like because we are so melancholy. Which we are, but not only. In France, we like to have a lot of pleasure of life, but we also have a sense of the mortal. So we always have the melancholy and the happy in the same body -- and that is what our music is about. Some people like us because we are so fresh, so full of life, but others like us because we are so melancholic. And that is not right."

Vive la révolution: Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel of the French electronic duo Air.
Vive la révolution: Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel of the French electronic duo Air.

Worse, though, are fans "who say the album sounds like Pink Floyd," Godin grouses. "That is a bad reason to like our music -- because Pink Floyd is so man, you know. It is music made for men by men. It's not music for sex, you know, or music for girls. I think Pink Floyd music is just a man thing.

"I want girls to like this music," he continues, "because pleasing a girl, it is so mysterious, I think. You wake up in the morning one day and you don't wash your teeth and you have bad hair and you don't have the right clothes, and then you meet this girl, and she likes you. But on another night, when you are clean and you try to have a sense of humor and good conversation, she may find you boring. So if a girl likes your music, it means you have done something strongly mysterious."

And if a girl doesn't like it?

"Then she doesn't like it," he says. "It is not important if a certain girl likes it or not, because if you take your favorite song of the Beatles, I can go in the street and find ten people who really don't like it -- but it is still a masterpiece. So if she doesn't like it, that's fine, because we are here on earth to exchange some ideas and just to talk -- you know?"

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