It’s only five years since Kitsuné and Ed Banger ran the world. Fuelled by a hybrid nostalgia for rave fashion eccentricity and that exact moment disco morphed into house, French electro and its sister scenes saw a short-lived Renaissance – Justice was its Da Vinci.
We’re well into the Age of Enlightment now, however, and all the CSSes, Digitalisms, and Uffies have become footnotes. Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay, the electro scene’s battering rams, have weathered the storm. Maybe it’s by virtue of their songwriting chops (D.A.N.C.E. may have gone into airwave hibernation, but its slumber will only last so long), or perhaps a result of their respectful disappearance at just about the brink of critical mass that Justice’s second album proper Audio Video Disco feels like a banquet after Ramadan rather than fridge-rotting leftovers – their overdriven, borderline-classic-rock aesthetic remains, their hooks are more nicotine-addictive than ever, and for lads with moustaches as big as battleships the Justice lads are the most buoyantly enthusiastic purveyors of party music in the business. Mr. Augé (recipient of fuckyeahgaspardauge.tumblr.com fanboyishness) talked to us about resurrection from pop’s rave-yard.
So at the last Justice show in Dublin somebody was selling pills with a cross on them called ‘D.A.N.C.e.’s’, which is pretty clever. How do you feel about having your own designer drugs?
I don’t know if we should feel flattered because drugs are B.A.D but indeed this is great. We don’t have a huge E culture in France.
I think it’s a bigger thing in the UK and Ireland because of rave culture.
Right, and we got a bit late to the rave thing here.
Disco has always seemed more popular in France. Speaking of which, it seems like there’s an even bigger glam rock/classic rock influence on this album – how come you’ve got “Disco” in the title?
Actually, † was to us a disco record, though not many people agreed on that, but the “Disco” in Audio Video Disco is a latin word, the whole sentence means, “I see, I hear, I learn” in Latin.
You learned to play guitar for this album, right?
Not really, there has been a misunderstanding on all the press releases, because we were playing instruments on the first record as well, in order to write the music, and then we were replacing each note by a very short sample. For instance if we needed a C in a bass line we would chop it off from another track, which is a very meticulous process but for the new record we just recorded synths that sound like guitars ,and guitars that sound like synths, but we’re no guitar heroes. we are just good enough to play what we have in mind. It was not like Rick Wakeman and Steve Vai jamming straight away.
Can you remember what the first song you learned to play on guitar was?
It might have been Come As You Are by Nirvana as any 90’s kid.
I think there’s flute in On ‘N’ On – is that a sample or a real flute? I’d love to see one of you whip out a flute on stage.
It’s a keyboard pretending to be a flute, a mellotron. We could whip out a flute and whip some dancing dwarves with it.
There’s quite a few vocalists on the album – who did you pick, and why did you pick them? Is there anybody you wanted for vocals, but couldn’t get?
No, we got lucky enough to think of people that were available at the time we needed them and it was a nice collaborative experience to bring the guys over and write the lyrics and the melodic lines altogether in the same room, to avoid any misunderstanding on where we wanted them to go, which is harder to get when you work via email.
Have you ever thought about producing or writing tracks for other acts?
Actually, Xavier produced Jamaica’s record and I did the soundtrack for Rubber with Mr Oizo, but we’re never as good separately as when we’re together even if it sounds a bit gay.
I’ll put “no homo” in the interview Any new remix stuff coming up? You have a Grammy award to defend.
Right. but nothing planned on the remix side, the new single, Audio Video Disco is coming soon with a video in early september directed by our long time friend SO-ME.
The visual aspect of Justice has always been really important. Do you have any big plans to top the Civilization video or piss Kanye West off again?
Well the new video is quite more honest and naive in a way, no bisons or crushing monuments this time.
I liked the bisons. Is the cross still going to be your signature?
Yes, it’s like the frontman of Justice.
Have you had any trademark problems with Jesus?
He got more groupies than we do.
What’s going on in Paris? Is there going to be another wave of Parisian stuff coming through?
Well it seems that we’re all gonna be releasing our albums at the same time, Jackson and his computer band, Birdy Nam Nam, among others, and those are amazing but the music is so different from one another that we’ll wait for the journalists to come up with a new genre.
Or at least Hipster Runoff. Ed Banger and Kitsune seem to have had a massive influence on American mainstream pop at the minute, particularly in how Kesha seems to completely rip off Uffie.
Well, David Guetta is the king of the world and he’s on neither of those labels
so we’re far away from real American mainstream and that’s for the best maybe.
Yeah, you’d have to get Flo Rida on your album otherwise.
This interview is for the Halloween issue of our magazine – do you guys have a good history of Halloween costumes?
Mmm, we dressed up as M&M’s once, but nobody got eaten. http://bit.ly/qGlj9d
Any plans to visit Dublin again soon? I’m sure the dealers will need some time to manufacture more D.A.N.C.e’s.
Ah yes, I’d love to get some for my personal archives. We’ll definitely come next year, if people still want us to come!
I think there might be two or three people who’d be into it.
A bunch of green dwarves, maybe.
Audio, Video, Disco drops on the 21st October people. It’s ace.
Words Daniel Gray