With a glitch and a pop, Justice’s Xavier de Rosnay (who does most of the talking for the band) and Gaspard Augé (who does most of the cigarette smoking) exploded onto the electronic music scene in 2006. Their anthemic first track, “We Are Your Friends,” a remix of Simian’s “Never Be Alone,” lit a fuse for the French electronic duo that exploded in 2007 with † (or Cross), an album comprised of compressed—and then distorted—basslines yoked together with high-pitched pop vocals and synthesized disco melodies that destroyed dance floors around the globe. Remix after remix popped up across the Internet, awards recognition followed, as did A Cross the Universe, a live album and concert documentary directed by Romain Gavras, So Me, and the boys themselves. In no time, the sounds of two shaggy-haired, slight-framed Frenchmen began to dominate mega-clubs and dive bars across the world.
I. IT COULD HAVE BEEN SO DIFFERENT…
“We met and we became friends, and we could have gone to the cinema or played tennis or whatever, but we made music instead. It’s all been a matter of luck.” —de Rosnay
Luck might have introduced Justice to the spotlight, but hard work kept them there. It has felt like ages since the release of their debut album, 2007’s †, and they’ve finally returned with a sophomore effort, Audio, Video, Disco, a pleasantly unusual and dense combination of ’70s hair metal and gritty electro-pop. “We started talking about this album right after we finished the first one,” de Rosnay says. “It’s now been three years of daily conversation and the daily gathering of ideas.” That’s a lifetime in the world of electronic, where musicians often pump out monthly, if not weekly, hits. Despite having won the Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording (for their interpretation of MGMT’s “Electric Feel”), Justice attributes the extended gestation period of AVD to their inexperience. “When we have an idea for a sound, we have to try a lot of things because we don’t know that much about sound engineering.”
II. AUDIO, VIDEO, DISCO STATS
MOST FREDDIE MERCURIAL BALLADS: “Ohio,” “Newlands”
MAXIMUM POST-GRAMMY REHAB TIME: Six months, maybe.
Of the lofty and often contradictory ideas that went into the making of this album, de Rosnay says, “It’s laid-back and heavy at the same time—violent, but without ever sounding aggressive. For a long time electronic music has been portrayed as music of the night and of the city, but this record is also good during the day and in the countryside.”
MOST INTERESTING METAPHOR USED TO DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF COLLABORATION: “Imagine living with your girlfriend, and all the things you’d talk about with her. Well, that was the same with us. We were constantly together so we could talk all the time.”
III. ARE DE ROSNAY AND AUGÉ VAMPIRES?
AMOUNT OF TIME SPENT IN THE STUDIO EACH DAY FOR AVD: 15 hours. “We were in the basement everyday so it didn’t matter whether it was the winter or the summer—we weren’t likely to see the light of day.”
IV. DO VAMPIRES LIKE WINTER?
DE ROSNAY: We aren’t really winter people. I haven’t seen winter in maybe six years.
BULLETT: Six years?
Probably not since 2005.
I wish I could escape New York for the winter.
But winter in New York is kind of cool. We’re okay with being in New York in the winter.