For over two decades, Jean-Benoît (JB) Dunckel has been capturing the hearts of listeners with Nicolas Godin, in the seminal duo Air. This friday sees the release of H+, Dunckel’s first solo album since 2006 and first released under his own name. The 405 spoke with Dunckel via email about the album’s development, transhumanism, and the importance of love.

Read his responses to our questions below, and check out new track ‘The Garden’ below.


This is your first solo album since 2006’s self-titled Darkel album. What have you learned in that time?

I’ve learned to give a better production by building my studio in a creative way. I learnt to sing better. I gained confidence in myself. I see myself from the outside like a plant growing. I just need to pour water every day on it.

The album’s title is based on the transhumanism symbol.  Have you always had a positive relationship with this concept?

Yes, I really think that technology can help humankind by their power and because they could stay in hands of the scientists before being used by corporations and states. Several scenarios can be imagined. One could be that men become semi gods served by machines and that a peaceful [political] organization would bring justice and wealth to everyone.

What ideas can you express through your solo work that you can’t with Air?

I can speak more about sex. About my own life. I can do mistakes too, which are the first form of a good music. I can use more electronic bass lines and bass sounds in a track.

The single ‘Love Machine’ deals deeply with, well, love. How has your idea of love developed over the course of your life?

We are the product of making love. That’s why this is the most important thing here. I love this word. The sound of it is like a blessing sound.

You collaborated with Jacques Perconte and Lou Hayter. What did they bring to the table?

Jacques Perconte brought me a very open-minded creativity with art in general. Science and video or audio engineering is part of creativity. It’s important to have control with machines or computers. Also, I discovered that a good song is a creative bug, a creative nonsense or mistake. It’s a blue note that can astonish people. Lou brought me charm and poetry. I learnt a lot from her singing and lyrics.

If you could describe this album’s sound with only words, what would you say?

It sounds like an electronic volcano. Analog keyboard played in a seducing purpose, to describe love with some slow simple beats behind.

How difficult was it to choose the right synths for this album?

Not difficult. They talk to me and ask a performance when I start in the studio. They want to play and I gave them a chance. I’m selective afterwards.

Which tracks were written first?

‘Hold On’, ‘Qwartz’, ‘Slow Down’...

Did any tracks take on radically different forms from conception to execution?

Yes, like ‘Space Age’. It used to be a soundtrack before. I wanted something epic. And it became a manifesto to leave Earth.

Do you see this album as being equally beneficial for someone who’s falling in love and someone who’s falling out of love? Why or why not?

Maybe for someone who’s falling out of love, it’s more powerful and melancholic. Melancholia is the most shared feeling on Earth.

Did you ever toy with including vocals on any of the instrumental tracks?

I am a toy and the studio [plays] with me. Or vice and versa.

When do you anticipate making your next solo album?

Now. I’m thinking about it now in reaction to this one. I try to record constantly. It’s my mission and I’m lucky to do this job. Can’t wait to be back in studios.


The 405 also have an exclusive premiere of Dunckel’s H+ track ‘The Garden.’ Listen below: