French act Justice rides wave of critical and popular success

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French band Justice plays a sold-out gig at the Sound Academy on Monday.

For a while in the late ’90s, it looked as if electronic music might transcend the underground and break into the mainstream. The emergence of acts like The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, and Fatboy Slim seemed to allude to this, and though the genre never really developed a radio presence, it’s certainly not considered as alternative as it once was. Electronica is tenacious like that.

French electronic duo Justice, however, have a slightly different take on the matter.

“Electronic music never really went away,” Justice’s Xavier de Rosenay told Metro. “There were bands that opened the door for us in the ’90s, because before them it was considered underground.”

Justice’s first LP, †, was released in June of 2007 on Ed Banger Records, and has quickly made de Rosenay and Gaspard Auge names in both the electronic and mainstream worlds alike.

“It’s surprising,” said de Rosenay, his enthusiasm perhaps stifled slightly by his heavy, though charming, Parisian accent. “The album has been getting a hundred times better (of a) response than we expected. We began doing this by accident, so it’s hard to imagine (this success) when you’re making music out of your bedroom.”

Certainly, Justice has garnered a rather counterintuitive version of musical fame. The duo had no plan, getting its start on a Mac in de Rosenay’s bedroom. Before that, they were graphic designers. They don’t even know how to use turntables, and yet they have become this accidentally brilliant producing team, remixing the likes of Britney Spears, Franz Ferdinand and Simian.

In fact, the track D.A.N.C.E. was rumoured to be a tribute to Michael Jackson, with vocal loops sounding remarkably similar to those of The Jackson Five. “This is a big misunderstanding,” de Rosenay noted. “We knew after it was done that people would make this connection. We like Michael Jackson, but this was not the intent. It has a poppy sound like The Jackson Five, but that’s about it.”

As for the band’s heroes, they will tell you they have none. “Lots of influences, but none bigger than the others. Ideas and emotions influence us more than other musicians.

“We take simple pop emotions like love and happiness and put it to music that is not really pop.”

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