We speak to leather jacket-clad Parisian duo Xavier de Rosnay and Gaspard Augé about their anthemic return
Featuring eleven tracks of anthemic titles, raging Medieval music and all-out panflutes, the long-awaited second coming of Xavier de Rosnay and Gaspard Augé, aka Justice, marks the Parisian duo's return with a huge Adidas-shaped explosion. You may have experienced the first track from the new 'Audio, Video, Disco' record entitled 'Civilization' via your TV screens as the first taster of what was to come after their iconic album, †.
An extension of the same influences that shaped their debut record, 'Audio...' now presents a round two of their signature fusion of arena pop, rock and French electro sounds for proper stadium vibes. Dazed met up with the pair for a pint at the pub and spoke about pop, prog and Dungeons & Dragons...
Dazed Digital: What were the influences behind the new album?
Justice: The influences are always the same - they're millions of different things, there's not one band or genre we prefer... so yeah the whole album is influenced by the same thing as before which is basically pop music from the '50s to now.
DD: Do you feel the album is rockier than before? We're getting Jethro Tull vibes?
Justice: Like the flute? Yeah for example, with Jethro Tull we never listened to the music but we have a lot of Jethro Tull t-shirts. What happened is that with most of the things we get inspiration from, it's often more just the image or the idea we have of the music, like prog rock or general rock - we love the imagery and the feel of it, without necessarily listening to the music. I think a lot of people hear prog influences, but we don't listen to prog rock, but we like the freedom and structure... and with also mediaeval music that's almost Dungeons & Dragons at times, which is fun and also the mediaeval side to it we like.
DD: Having influences from rock imagery, why have you always made more electronic music?
Justice: It's just the way of making music of our time. Being electronic made it possible to make a record without a lot of money and not a lot of skills. It's good because it opens up the possibility of music for everyone - including us. We also like the sound of it, the possibilities it offers and it's cool to be able to make modern music that can't be mistaken for being made 30 years ago. Say, if it was tape recorder and guitars, it'd be hard to distinguish it as a modern sound, whereas here we don't even have to think about it, it's made with modern tools.
DD: Do you feel your shows are, in terms of performance, almost closer to a 'rockstar' image than say DJs?
Justice: Neither one nor the other, we're not rockers - they're such totally different things, electronic music is like the least rockstar music you can make really, there's no spontaneity like rock, but with DJing, it's just spinning records which is just a small part of what we do.
DD: Do you prefer to play live than DJ out?
Justice: We have more fun moments in live shows than DJing, it's more entertaining for us and more faithful to the music we do - in DJing, it's nothing to do with the albums we put out - but both of them are really fun, in the end it's about entertaining people. So whatever the means, as long as you manage to make people have fun it's cool.
DD: Have you always been interested in club music in your own time?
Justice: No not really, we ended up in the club circuit by accident, it was the only means for us to record tracks - so when we DJ we definitely have fun playing dance music because somehow you have to make people have a good time, also cause it's fun, the energy is good, but not what we listen to at home - for diff purpose, function of music - we have a hard time listening to that at home, we never try to make club music, it's peculiar in its form, club structures and they are not so many variations, all mathematics, a club sound which we never try to do, but there's a small part of electronic music that influenced us, the pop music in late 90-00s like The Prodigy etc.
DD: Your new (and a lot of your past) singles have been quite anthemic, almost stadium sounding. Is it meant for home listening too?
Justice: Thank you yeah it's mostly meant to be listened at home, but maybe a it's bit more emotional and functional so yeah if people could be touched somewhere else than in their house it's cool, but it's mainly made for car, iPod listening or home listening because this is where we listen to music, the way we like it… so if we get lucky then it can lead somewhere else.
DD: The Civilisation track was used in that Adidas advert, what's the link between those kinds of sports brands and your music? Did it make sense to you?
Justice: Totally, yeah in the same sense - recording stuff in the studio, we had this fantasy of making something to open like, the Olympic games. I really like the idea of music synchronised to football announcements and this is what music should be used for, like the opening of a boxing game, for like TV sports. It conveys the same type of emotions in most of our music we do - really simple 'epicness'. This is why we were keen on giving the music to a sports commercial, it was a good way of supporting this music, and gives it even more a feel of victory.
DD: After all these years, do you still feel tied to the Ed Banger lot?
Justice: Of course, we are tied for life to Ed Banger, really important to us as we grew up together and three of the main people are really close to us, like but always been divers in the music we're releasing, from abstract DJ Mehdi - hip hop, Vicarious Bliss - surf rock, Krazy Baldhead - jazzy electronic music, SebastiAn's hard techno, Zongamin.. so we're still a part of it all.
DD: Over the last few years for this album, do you feel the album was the best way to present these songs today, relevant structure to put them out?
Justice: Yeah the best way, it was relevant for us, maybe it was... not vain, but old fashioned, to release an album - for us it was always attached to the role of each track to the whole thing.
DD: With the three tracks in the middle Interlude, Canon, On & On, are they linked in a direct way, because of the names?
Justice: Ah it's funny because most of the the names coming to our minds were all ending in 'on', I don't know why, but also for like, 'Ohio' the chorus was 'ride on', but it would have been Ride On, Canon, On & On, Brianvision... Marathon... Civilisation - at some point we thought we should change them all but the problem was 'Audio, Video, Disco' was the only one which was impossible. A very good remark, first to notice it!
DD: Was there any pressure in making this record?
Justice: Well we still don't understand why the first record worked, it was mystery why it did, and also we have no idea what people liked in it - the tougher tracks or songs like 'D.A.N.C.E', so not knowing what people liked in our music, we didn't even try to make something 'likeable'. We have no idea what people want or expected from us, but that's good so our minds were free of such considerations.