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Justice – Hear. See. and Learn.
Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay, collectively known as Ed Banger’s premium duo Justice, are keeping the music world talking with their latest offering, Audio, Video, Disco. While their celebrated full-length debut † was applauded by music critics and fans alike due to its compelling combination of funky house rhythms and syncopated electro sounds, and prolific manipulation of synthesized jazzy sounds, their new project surprises with a more mellow sound consisting with a experimental blend of French electro, ’70s arena rock, and Italo-disco. In our conversation with them, Justice explains how this differentiation of sound is proof of cohesion in comparison with their debut.
Regarding the sound, people were expecting a mere continuation of Cross, but Audio, Video, Disco has a different, more evolved vibe to it. Conceptually speaking, how does this album differ from your previous recordings?
We often heard that this new album is different, but for us it’s actually not. The varnish might be different but the background is still the same. We are always trying to do the same formula, but also intend to offer various sound facets at the same time. Our new album can be regarded as a close friend of you, that actually got a new haircut. You don’t recognize him at first glance but once you get used to his new looks, he’s obviously the same guy.
The only difference with Cross is the production. This time we have used fewer effects, no reverb and no compression. We believe that one can be able to be powerful without being too aggressive. We wanted to be as poignant as possible without offering too many different sound layers. That is the reason why the production is so laid-back this time around. Our favorite records are strong and powerful, but at the same time also slow and smooth.
So do you think being in a kind of mount climbing experience? It means, trying always to do the same track hoping one day you create the perfect one? The one you always have wanted to do?
No, we actually always succeed, otherwise we wouldn’t release anything. We always had the same obsessions and influences ever since we started making music. Melancholic and epic – that is the connection that we really love. Hence, we intend to create all our songs this way so they can convey these feelings. In that sense, we can say that we are always doing the same thing. On a more general level, we think that every artist is trying to do the same thing in a different way, because it’s quite hard being unnatural. We are free and confident enough to be able to do radical projects.
The album’s title means in Latin, I Hear, I See, I Learn. The appeal of this title cannot be denied but how does this ancient dogma adapt to a modern audience?
This is why this saying interested us. Those words seems modern, but actually they have an ancient sense, and a different definition. We think that it is really appropriate to the album. We are really conventional in our way of making music, as it is always based on piano or guitar, but subsequently disguised in modern music.
Finally it’s more the harmony than the production that we like. From ages, it’s always been the same thing. Production is music’s camouflage. It’s a really cool part of the recording and it gives a plus to the music, but for example, some discs that we adore are produced in a really weird or even atrocious way, but it doesn’t really matter. Music satisfied us and that’s the big point. But don’t get me wrong, production is important too – it conditions the audience. We are also big fans of Jackson and His Computer Band, and it’s clearly on-product. You have to find what fits on your sound.
What are some of your favorite records on the project?
The easier and pleasurable track we did is definitively “Brain Vision.” It truly determined how the whole album will sound like. For Audio, Video, Disco, it might be the first time of our lives that, five minutes after starting it, we had been that proud. Although we are not the ones to advertise ourselves, but just after writing the chord progression and the bass line which is, honestly, quite easy, we found that it was one of our best track.
The most painful track might be “Helix.” We recorded it a hundred times, because it wasn’t sounding as we wanted it to. At the time we were quite tired and bored about this track. (Ed Banger’s) Pedro came and persuaded us to keep it on the album, and now people actually love this record!
How would you compare electronic music now in retrospect to 10 years ago, and where do you see it going?
Honestly, we don’t know. According to our understanding, the electro scene doesn’t really exist. It is rather about the style of creating music. Regarding the past “electro scene,” it would be Cassius, Daft Punk, or even Phoenix although they a rock band, and their electronic connection becomes discernible at second glance. I think that we are in the same situation today. We understand bands that are close to us, like Sebastian, Mr. Oizo or Kavinsky – even if we are completely different from each other. We are all close friends, who love each other, and I think that’s the factor which create this impression of a structured electro scene, without even being an actual scene per se.
We would not necessarily say that we do electro, rock music or anything else. We are just doing, what we think being actual pop music. Not as the top charts pop, but in a more musical way, with a focus on entertainment.
What does the future have in store for Justice?
We don’t know what the future will bring and we don’t really care too much about it. All we know at this point is that we are going on tour on January 1st of 2012, which will kick off in Sydney. Make sure not to miss it.
Interview by Davis Huynh/Petar Kujundzic
Photography: Karl Hab