Inheritors of the rock and disco-tinged electronica of Daft Punk, French electronic dance production and performance group, Justice is comprised of Xavier de Rosnay and Gaspard Auge. The pair met in 2003, while in their early twenties, in Paris and achieved worldwide fame with their first LP, commonly called Cross (2007 Ed Banger) on account of the crucifix character for its title. Smash single "D.A.N.C.E." began as a music blog hit and drove worldwide support for multiple tours with the likes of other noisey dance rockers CSS and MSTRKRFT. "D.A.N.C.E." was nominated for a 2007 Grammy, and the band continues to tour the world, all the while remixing top acts like Kanye West, and Justin Timberlake as well as indie acts like Mr. Oizo. Their earliest known solo work is Never Be Alone (2004 Ed Banger) a remix contest loser that became a club hit by the time it appeared on the respected label of Daft Punk's manager (Pedro Winter), Ed Banger Records. Hardcore fans of Sparks, The Beatles, Parliament, Snoop Dogg and Steely Dan, Justice's main style of music is electronic dance, and they stand at the forefront of harder, more hookier acts that embrace a much rougher rock aesthetic. After all, Ed Banger boss Pedro Winter points out rock music was first and foremost dance music, so in a sense, Justice is rock's rebellious return to form.
Gaspard Michel Andre Augé and Xavier de Rosnay Dulong were born and raised in Paris and were only seven when the first wave of electronica hit. Auge grew up a Metallica fan and played in a post-rock group. De Rosnay took to hip-hop and pop. The thing that united them was dance music, and the pair bonded in Paris in 2003 while both were attending graphic design school.
Initially recording songs at home, Justice began officially when the two entered a radio contest to remix UK band Simian's track "Never Be Alone." De Rosnay said they remixed the song without software, just a sampler, a sequencer and a synthesizer. They downloaded solely the vocals on the chorus, due to an eight-second limit on their sampler.
Justice lost the contest but made an impression at the Ed Banger label in 2003 with their minimal yet powerful interpretation. Beginning a long trend of video successes, the accompanying video for "Never Be Alone" won the Best Video Award MTV Europe's Music Awards, beating the one million-dollar budget “Touch the Sky” video by Kanye West, who cried foul publicly.
Augé and de Rosnay began a prolific remixing career that has since included N.E.R.D.'s "She Wants to Move" (2004), Britney Spears' "Me Against the Music" (2005), Fatboy Slim's "Don't Let the Man" (2005), and Daft Punk's "Human After All" (2005).
During this time, the band was working on their own material--the first of which was the Waters of Nazareth EP (2005 Ed Banger Records) -- later appearing on labels Vice and Because. Featuring the distorted gem, "Waters Of Nazareth," the title song contains all the aggression of a Rage Against the Machine song sans vocals, as well as intense breakbeats, signal decay and sampling that is absolutely thrilling yet funky, pressaging the disco devastation of the upcoming album. The twelve-inch also included a demo version of "Let There Be Light" and "Carpates” --as abrasive to house lovers as early punk must've been to classic rock purists.
Beginning a long string of cross-pollinations, the "Waters of Nazareth II" twelve-inch (2006 Ed Banger) featured Feadz, an Erol Alkan remix and DJ Funk remix. But collectors seek the "Phantom" vinyl twelve-inch (2006 Ed Banger) that came out in December 2006. Limited to two hundred copies, it contains twenty-seven seconds of future club smash, "D.A.N.C.E."
The single, "D.AN.C.E." (2007 Ed Banger) began appearing in UK and French clubs in the Spring of 2007 with two other songs "B.E.A.T" and "PHANTOM." The song would go on to multiple iterations through MSTRKRFT in July, Diplo in November, and Benny Blanco with Spank Rock. Several labels would also release versions of the single including Vice, Because, and Downtown. There are more than two dozen different twelve inches featuring the song from this period, reflecting its viral success.
Augé said the album that contains “D.A.N.C.E.” took a full year to make and required much planning in order to generate coherence. Different than their live show, the band aimed for a cohesive piece of art for the home. The two saw it as a “disco opera,” with the funky heaviness of "Waters Of Nazareth" contrasting against tracks like “Valentine” a melancholy, tribute to French soundtracks and composers of the '70s and '80s. De Rosnay has said it was one of the first tracks finished for the album, whereas “Stress” took much longer and had to be finished quickly because it centers around a harsh, repetitive violin loop that gave the two literal headaches. It also achieves the claustrophobia needed to set up the anthemic “Waters of Nazareth.”
Initially Augé and de Rosnay didn't have very high hopes for Cross, having only been together for four years, but when the band played Coachella in 2007, they found a rabid audience who went crazy for the new material. Ed Banger Records fed the public's desire with art, videos remixes and an entire aesthetic sensibility. Thanks to Pedro Winter (aka Busy P.), the album first came out on Because and Wagram in France on July 11, 2007, then WEA in Europe and Vice in America on July 20. It received near universal acclaim, with a Metacritic score of eighty-one and became a Billboard US number one Top Electronic Album, number twelve Top Heatseeker and the number thirty-seven Top Independent Album. Written, produced, performed and recorded by Justice, it was mastered by expert Nilesh Patel who has worked for Ninja Tune, XL, and Virgin. In 2008 the band released their first live record, titled A Cross The Universe. This was followed by their second official release- Audio, Video, Disco.
The most successful of the Ed Banger bands, Justice represents a violent armistice between rock and dance. From their initial Simian remix, "We Are Your Friends," to their latest remixes, Justice represents some of the best of the flourishing experimental electronica field that includes !!!, Chromeo, Digitalism, LCD Soundsystem, and Simian Mobile Disco.
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