Justice: Just music
Tue 13th Dec, 2011 Featuresin
French duo Justice are arguably French label Ed Banger’s biggest success story. Between the Grammy nomination, the widespread critical acclaim and the legion of fans, the pair (Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay) have been one of most-hyped electro acts of recent years. After the amazing success of Justice’s debut record †, fans eagerly awaited their next offering. Four long years later, Audio, Video, Disco is finally here – just don’t call it prog-rock.
Now, Justice are set to hit Australia this NYE period to headline Field Day, Summadayze and Summafieldayze, debuting their highly anticipated live show. Ahead of the monumental trip, we spoke to Xavier de Rosnay about the new record, the writing process and what Australian audiences can expect.
Audio, Video, Disco has more of a prog-rock vibe than your previous record. What inspired this?
It’s funny because we hear that a lot, but for us it’s not prog-rock. We took some elements and some really small details, but it’s almost more of a vision or an idea we have of prog-rock, rather than actually being prog-rock.
To be honest, prog-rock is a bit too complicated for us and we like music that is much simpler, that’s less technical. So we don’t really think of the record as being prog-rock, for us it’s just music: it’s not rock music, it’s not progressive music, it’s just music of 2011/2012.
Did you set out with a concept, or a specific vision for this record?
Yes, we always have an idea before we start recording. I don’t like the word ‘concept’ – it makes it sound like the process is much more complicated than it is, and we think music should be much simpler than this. But we never start a song or a record without having a clear idea of what we want to do.
It was said that you created this record with very few instruments, despite the very bombastic sound. Is this true?
It’s true. We made this record with only four keyboards and one guitar. We never use a lot of instruments, just because it’s really hard to find instruments that can make sound in a very specific way and give a coherent texture to the record. So generally we use very few instruments, but we try to get a lot of different sounds from them; there are so many things you can do with a guitar, for example. This record was made with a very minimal set up just because we like the idea of not having too many things.
After gaining critical success with †, did you feel any pressure to match its success this time out?
No, we didn’t have any pressure for one simple reason: we never understood what exactly people liked about the record. I mean, in the sense we didn’t know what people expected of it. Because of Stress, I think a lot of people thought we were a hardcore techno band, but at the same time one of our most famous songs, D.A.N.C.E., is not hypnotic and is not violent.
To be honest, it’s still a mystery why the record appealed to people. Of course, we were really happy with it – but we don’t really understand the reason why. Because we have no idea what people expect from us and what people want from Justice, we don’t feel any pressure. We just keep on doing what feels natural and simple and what we want to hear.
We don’t try to be new, we don’t try to be surprising, but we don’t try and remake the same thing – we just do what is natural. I think the worst thing can happen is make things that don’t feel natural to fulfil expectations or just try to be new. I think when you’ve done a great record, the fact that it was ‘new’ at the time is not important. What matters is if 10 years after it’s still a great record.