“We have always dreamt of those last moments where we’re finishing the last changes of the last song of what could be our first full length record. I don’t know if I’ll ever live to see that day. We are restless people, always wanting to try different things, never able to let a song be.”
If you were ever lucky enough to be in the company of Air France, you’ll know that one of the main questions fired at them was “when” or “if” there was ever going to be a full length album. For the fans it became a guessing game; scouring the internet for clues and trying to decipher from the duo’s increasingly rare interviews whether they were joking around or deadly serious: “Joel has no sense of structure at all and Henrik doesn’t know how to start or finish a song.”
The thing is, sometimes a group can exist in a sense where the music becomes almost secondary. The knowledge that Air France simply ‘exist’ in the first place had the ability to give you a sense of unfiltered joy. Today, sadly, Joel Karlsson and Henrik Markstedt announced that Air France is no more. Coupled with the news from back in January that fellow Gothenburg act Studio cease to be, 2012 marks the end of the Swedish balearic scene. Or at least the end of its two most loved acts.
Whether intentional or not – Air France are (writing in the past tense seems so final) born romantics; every word they write and every note they compose is fuelled by a soft-focused longing to feel loved, or be loved or, well, just love in general. Whether listened to in a packed out club or on the solitude of a nightbus, their music exudes a warmth so pure and real it kinda makes you believe anything is possible in life.
Two EPs – On Trade Winds (2006) and No Way Down (2008) and two internet only singles – ‘GBG Belongs To Us’ (2009) and ‘It Feels Good To Be Around You’ (2011) plus a handful of remixes for the likes of Taken By Trees and Friendly Fires sum up a six year career that turned a couple of fun loving goons from Gothenburg into a much adored enigma. Even now, as I type this, listening back to their brief but magnificent back catalogue, I’m left with a doe-eyed sense of optimism… For what? I don’t know. But just knowing that there are people that exist in this world that can produce music so life affirming and consistently rewarding seem like an accident, you’re left with an ‘anything is possible’ outlook.
New record or not. Air France, It Feels Good To Be Around You. Period.
News of the split in the bands own words:
During the first year of Air France, somewhere in the middle of the last decade, everything seemed to come so easily. At least it feels like that right now. We’d meet on friday nights to drink wine, listen to music and picture ourselves far off, somewhere on the outskirts on the big map Henrik had on his wall. The songs we made during those nights weren’t really supposed to ever leave the hard drive, but somehow they did, and somehow they took us to almost all the places on that big map we had dreamt about. We got to play records at the Rough Trade store in London, we went to the Red Square, we woke up on Iceland during a volcanic eruption, we drank beer at the cliffs of the Niagara, we spent a night in a freezing staircase in Warzaw (otherwise a fantastic weekend), we saw dolphins in the waters of LA, we got a smile from Larry David as he passed us on a street in Paris, watching us trying to open a bottle of wine, we played records for 4 hours under a blistering July sun in New York, we spent a day in the most beautiful spa in Budapest, we’ve heard our nervous voices on radio and TV, we’ve played records after two sold out Saint Etienne shows (but to be honest, only a handful stayed behind to see us), we’ve written a song together with our idol Clare Grogan (although we did managed to botch it) and we got sampled by Lil B. But it’s the little moments that has been the most dear to our hearts, like the days and nights in Brackenbury Village that we spent in our manager’s back yard with his wonderful wife and sons, who made us feel like part of the family, or being drunk on airplanes, just the two of us, and all the people we’ve been fortunate enough to get to know, if only for a night.
And we have probably produced 7 albums since No Way Down; a UK Garage record, a house record, an r ‘n’ b record… but we’ve never been able to finish anything, nothing was ever good enough. We have tried so hard, and we truly gave it all we had. And now we have decided to stop trying, even though it breaks our hearts. But for all the reasons mentioned above, and for a thousand more, we don’t regret a thing.
We wish we could thank all the people who has helped and inspired us, but we’d probably forget to mention half of you, so here’s just a big thank you to those who were involved in the making of the record: Teresa and Kajsa for singing so beautifully, Angelica of Body Language for lending her voice to a song that would have been called “I always think about you when I’m drunk”, our patron Kevin Campbell who helped us in giving this record one last chance (there are no words that can describe just how grateful we are), our Eric of Sincerely Yours, our manager David Laurie, our publisher XL, Joe for running our facebook page.
And much love to Rich Thane, families and girlfriends, sister Hanna, Henning Fürst, Marc Hogan, all of you who sent us letters, all of you who stuck around to watch us play, and all of you who opened your homes and hearts and cars and took us to water falls, big squares, beaches, record stores, monuments, valleys, mountains and zoos.
Goodbye for now. Who knows, maybe we’ll see you again in another shape. After all, we’re people that never stop dreaming.
Henrik and Joel