Heavy Breathing

An Interview With AIR

In early 1998, Air released Moon Safari, the critically acclaimed album featuring the hit single "Sexy Boy," a bubbly piece of electronic fluff that endeared the band to MTV viewers and trendy fans of electronica. Needless to say, it wasn't exactly the audience the group was shooting for. Inspired largely by soundtrack composers like Ennio Morricone, Burt Bacharach and Serge Gainsbourg, Air wanted to create something that was cinematic and intellectual, not just poppy. So they hooked up with director Sofia Coppola and crafted the score for her upcoming bittersweet black comedy The Virgin Suicides, which is just as grandiose and atmospheric as Moon Safari, but far darker, sharing much in common with early Pink Floyd. Shortly after completing the project, Air member Nicolas Godin took some time to talk with drDrew.com about steamy songs, lofty soundtracks, French snobbery and the sexual misadventures of life on the road.

drDrew.com: Your music is very surreal and mysterious. What was the most surreal experience you had when you toured America?
Nicolas Godin: We crashed the bus in Oregon and had to stop for one day in a completely lost town, and the repair guy asked us if we wanted to have sex during the repair. He said we could have sex with his wife if we gave [him] money. We refused, of course.

drDrew.com: Does it seem like everything in America is about sex and drugs?
NG: I think people are so afraid that if you make love after a show, the girl you were with could complain about you the next day in court and you can have lots of legal problems. I think America is not the best place to have sex. I don't want to lose all my money to a woman who accused me of raping her.

drDrew.com: So Europe is a better place to have sex?
NG: Yeah. In France you can have sex very easily. In Scandinavia, too.

drDrew.com: You had a huge hit called "Sexy Boy." Do you think Air's music is very sexual?
NG: I think all music is sexy. When I was a kid I was very ugly, and when I played the piano it was very romantic.

drDrew.com: Lots of guitarists started playing to attract girls.
NG: Yes, but piano is better, believe me. It impresses girls faster. We are very clean now because we all have girlfriends. So each time the girls arrive after the show, we give them to the opening band, and they're always happy about that. Now everybody wants to open for us.

drDrew.com: Do you think people misunderstand what you're all about?
NG: Yeah, but I don't think anybody can understand what you have in your mind. That's the problem of life. I can't wait until everyone has telepathy, so you don't have to say anything, but people will understand what you want.

drDrew.com: What if you have secret thoughts you don't want to share?
NG: In France people are very frank and you always tell the truth. It's a very Latin country. In Italy, Spain or France, everybody yells at each other, and no one is nice. We don't know what polite is.

drDrew.com: Are you one of those snobby, intellectual groups?
NG: We are a free band. We don't care about being on the radio or having a hit. That may be why our music is original.