Question & Answer: We are your friends

Justine Reisinger

They’re French. They’re a duo. They’re DJs. And they’re not Daft Punk.

Justice first packed the dance floors with “Never Be Alone,” a losing entry in a Simian remix contest, in 2003. The pair slowly gained a following and the attention of Daft Punk manager and Ed Banger Records boss Pedro Winter. After a year in the studio, Justice finally released their first full-length album last June. Whether it’s kid choir-tastic “D.A.N.C.E.” or funky fresh “New Jack,” Justice is breathing a new rock attitude into electronic music.

Already on their second U.S. tour since fall 2007, Justice is returning to Chicago at the Riviera Theatre Thursday, March 20 with supporters Diplo and “the best rock and roll band in France” Fancy. The Weekly chatted with Gaspard Augé from Paris, fresh off a 10-day UK tour.

Q: What is most important to you in the music making process?

A: It’s always the main concern of a Justice track to touch someone in a very simple way, to touch on very innate emotions. We are always trying to make something sad or melancholic, or just make (the listener) dance, but it’s always about giving people that very innate emotion. That’s also why we are unable to do very long tracks, because we always get bored after four minutes. We always try to keep a very pop format for our songs to be as efficient as possible.

Q: What process do you go through when making new music?

A: It’s a very traditional process in the sense that we are always composing new tracks with the piano. We hope to find interesting textures with the bass lines and complete everything with piano and bass.

Q: How do you and (partner) Xavier de Rosnay split your work?

A: It depends on the tracks and which one of us has the idea for it, really. We are sharing the same vision of music, even though we don’t always like the same things. In the end, we are meeting on everything together. I think we have acquired the same musical background, which is made of MTV or pop music, which includes Snoop Doggy Dogg. As we got older, Xavier listened more to French music, and I was listening to really weird electronic shit. Now we are mainly listening to pop music like Billy Joel and Steely Dan – music of the ’80s.

Q: What’s the inspiration for your live show? The only items on stage are a flashing white neon cross and

giant stacks of fake Marshall amps?

A: Every other DJ or electronic act on stage has always been very hi-fi oriented, very hi-tech with lasers and stuff. We were fed up with it, and some electronic acts already did it very well so it was something very natural for us to go in the other direction, which was ’70s and ’80s rock shows. Something a bit more of a blend between Spinal Tap and the (Brian de Palma movie) Phantom of the Paradise. We wanted to use big visuals, so that’s why we only chose one color of light, just the white light and black out to make it more efficient, in the rock sense of the word.

Q: I read in an article from Dummy Magazine that Justice received support from Christian groups in America thanking you guys for “spreading the word.” Where did you guys first get the idea for the Christian iconography in your performance and music? Songs like “Genesis,” “Let There Be Light” and “Waters of Nazareth?”

A: It was really funny when people were thinking we were really a Christian electronic band and that’s why we use the cross. The main idea about the cross was to devote to a kind of style between church music and electronic music. It’s the same process of having thousands of people looking in the same direction and to be able to gather so many people focused on one point. We wanted to try to turn a club into a church at some point.