Justice pour vous
The French electronic duo open up about live performances, why they will never release another DVD, and their first impressions of Bangkok
Gaspard Auge and Xavier de Rosnay didn't want to turn the lights in their dressing room on. Illuminating the dim room were lights seeping through the blinds. They lounged on a beat-up sofa, unapologetically dragging on cigarettes and sipping on-the-rocks drinks with beer cans laid out on the table.
Gaspard Auge and Xavier de Rosnay.
It was almost a brooding act on the successful electronic music artists' part, but Justice, despite their famous rock 'n' roll-ish nonchalant, slightly aloof personas, was _ dare I say _ friendly with deadpan humour.
Still, with surprising hospitality, Justice exude intimidating rockstar auras that keep people from pestering them with nonsense. It's a good trait to hold on to when you're a hot commodity, skipping from one continent to another, with no time to waste. Then again, it's been a long road for Justice, whose remix of Simian's Never Be Alone launched their international career in 2004.
As their deejay career was peaking, the former graphic designers took it to another level by releasing Cross in 2007, and set the world in a spin, establishing their name with hit singles such as D.A.N.C.E, Waters Of Nazereth and Phantom. A Cross The Universe, a live CD and documentary DVD, followed in 2008.
The revealing documentary followed the duo on their three-week tour of the US. Keeping the momentum going, 2011 saw the release of Audio, Video, Disco.
With less than 12 hours in Bangkok, Justice managed to squeeze us in for a short interview before their debut deejay set in the capital.
The duo left for the airport right after their amazing gig.
De Rosnay did most of the talking, as Auge nodded in agreement while handing out drinks. Here's what they had to say, sitting and smoking in the dark.
What's going on in the Justice universe?
We stopped touring three months ago, and now we're only doing a deejay set once a month in places we've never been before, just for fun. We're building a studio in Paris, and when the studio is ready, we'll start making music.
Do you prefer doing a live show or a deejay set now?
It's so different. Everything is different, from preparation and so on. For a live show, we have many more things to do. For a deejay set, it's much more relaxed, as we just come with a USB stick, and put on music that we like, that we listen to. It's a lot of fun as well. It's not the same thing at all. We like doing both, but the satisfaction of doing a live show is much better.
Over the years, your deejay set somehow evolves, and keeps on changing. How do you keep it fresh?
I'm happy that you said that because we often feel that we keep playing the same music. But we don't really think about it. We just make selections of music we want to listen to. We like to play really violent and cold electronic music, but we do love pop music and disco as well so we play them too. Right now, dance music is very danceable and everyone has all these amazing tracks that get people dancing, but we try to back off from that a little bit. Now we like to play slower, more intense stuff. Something more... ummm...
No! We don't want to educate people. We're not here for that. But maybe a bit more heavy and challenging. We always try to propose something different.
How does it work exactly? Do you have to agree on what songs you will put on before the show, or do you just play it by ear?
We both play one song each. We don't have to have a meeting before the show or anything because we like the same things. We just have this USB stick with a collection of tracks, and we make decisions together to play whatever we want to play.
What's life like on tour?
Good. Very fun. It's the least difficult job on earth. Everything is under control.
You've played all over the world. Can you tell us where your favourite place to play is?
Bangkok. Really! It was love at first sight. We tour a lot, but we always go to the same places. We've been lucky that everywhere we play, we always have good reactions, so we don't have a favourite place. Paris is a bit hard for us to play. So far, we've never had amazing concerts in Paris. Maybe it's because we're from there.
What is your working process when you make an album?
By the time we get to the studio, it means that we've spent enough time together talking about it, so when we start recording we always know what we want to do. Then we just go to the studio, and write songs together. We make music in a very normal way. We write all the songs either with piano and guitar or guitar and bass, and when it sounds good, we record it, which is a very traditional process.
When we're on tour, we also store ideas. Right now, we know exactly what we want to do. What is good is that we have the same ideas always, even though we have different tastes and differences.
Do you have plans to release another DVD like A Cross The Universe?
No. I think for something like A Cross The Universe, you do it only one time in your life. We wanted to do it early in our history because we knew it was the right moment to do a documentary like this where we would not be ashamed of anything. A Cross The Universe doesn't make us look cool all the time. Sometimes we look ridiculous or bad. Sometimes fun. Sometimes cold. It was the right moment because we were young. We didn't make enough music to talk about music all the time, which can be very boring. A documentary like this, we can only do it once, and we've done it.
You've said in interviews before that you both listen to different kinds of music, and Xavier, you've said that the only modern music that you listen to is Snoop Dogg (Lion).
I used to! But I don't only listen to Snoop Dogg anymore. I like Tame Impala and Late of the Pier. In electronic, we listen to many different styles. We're not completely old men! Most music we listen to might be old, but we're interested in new music too when it's good.
What's the next album going to be like?
It's going to be amazing. No, it's way too early to talk about it. It does not make sense to talk about something that we don't know when it'll be released. It may be five years from now.