Known as a half of French electronic duo Air, Jean-Benoît Dunckel is back with a new album “H+”, and a lot of mojo! In between several viewings of his amazing new video “Hold On”, we asked the sexy boy a few questions about this new positive and futuristic opus.
There are not a lot of French artists who can crow about their international success and about being a key figure of the French Touch. Jean-Benoît Dunckel, best known as one half of the band AIR, could have done it but he was too busy with several music projects and never wasted his time to do so. In March 2018, he will release a new album, “H+”, under his own moniker for the first time ever. He already shared the first single, “Hold On”, and it comes with an amazing Akatre-directed video. We had the chance to interview JB Dunckel and discuss this new album, his life after Air, and his upcoming projects. Be ready, daddy is coming home!
“Air was pregnant of me and it took me 20 years to dare to go out naked in the new world of my past’s future.” JB Dunckel
HighClouds: Air’s last album was released in 2014. You’ve always been involved in a lot of music acts on the side, including your solo project as Darkel. Today, you’re back as Jean-Benoît Dunckel. Why did you decide to change your moniker once again?
JB Dunckel: Because I became myself. My other projects were on the side of Air because Air was my main activity. But now I give to the record my full attention. The music is not filling the gaps of Air anymore but existing on its own and flies beside it.
By the way, we start the interview with the word “Air” and I guess we’re not the only one to link you to this outlet. Are you bored with being systematically linked to Air? Is it difficult to be visible and feel complete with your other projects when your main one was so successful and essential?
Yes but it’s normal. I’m not bored of it. I like Air more than everyone else. Air was pregnant of me and it took me 20 years to dare to go out naked in the new world of my past’s future.
Air was pregnant of me and it took me 20 years to dare to go out naked in the new world of my past’s future.
You will release a new album, “H+”, in March 2018. Can you explain to us what this title stands for?
H + means “human plus.” This is the symbol of trans-humanity. The concept is that we are in a strange period where everything is changing very fast. We’re on the edge of fusing with machines. Technology can bring us positive things as having a better and longer life, getting out of our boring jobs, travelling more easily. In this album, I expose all my dreams about it in a romantic way. Because we’ll have more time for love.
Can this concept of “trans-humanity” be applied to you or is it a utopian answer to the tough times the world is going through?
I play the character of being transhuman myself. I mean not getting old any more without any surgery. And the singer JB sings in this position, looking down at the world like a sort of semi-god. I think we change completely our cells in 7 years. I’m having a mutation right now.
The album is getting introduced to us with this new single, “Hold On”. It is warmful, reassuring and keeps this unique cosmic touch I’ve always heard in your music. What’s the song about?
It’s about the return of the mojo in your life. You know, this morning when you put all your problems behind you, you take over, and you feel this internal rush of energy that I call the feeling of youth. Basically, it’s a feeling of being more sexy after all. And your sexual radar starts to function again. You re-become what men really are: hunters.
There’s also a classy video with it. It was directed by Akatre who also worked on the album art of the album. Were you already thinking about the visual aspects during the creative process or is it something that came later? Why did you choose to work with Akatre?
I’ve been really attracted by the art of Akatre. The colours of the sun at dawn, this king of warm simplicity and modernity. No, I couldn’t imagine how it could be visually. I just knew that their art could go well with the music. I was searching a modern image and not something related to the past. I wanted to be reborn again.
Do you plan on touring next year to support this album?
Yes if a live producer is crazy enough to plan a tour. I’d like it so much.
Lastly, you are one of the key figures of the French Touch. We have a feeling the hype is coming back to us from the States. Have you ever thought of trying something, as a producer for instance, in the US?
I tried so many projects already but my music is weird. I have this strange idea of doing what I like. I don’t adapt to the market. The market just adapts to me a little bit, strangely, rarely. I’d like to produce for another person. But I’m far from the sounds of the radio. Maybe it will come.