This article is reprinted with permission from SFCritic.
For the French production duo, Justice, four years have passed since their last album and c’est la vie. As Xavier de Rosnay explained to SF Critic writer Collier Meyerson backstage before their performance at this year’s Creators Project in New York, “when you make a record the time doesn’t matter if it took four years or four month or weeks to make. What matters…is just if it’s good.” Truer words couldn’t be said.
Even their disposition was very laissez faire; at one point during the interview, the ASAP ROCKY crew bombarded them with accolades and firm hugs, jumping about and yelling to draw the media’s attention. Gaspard and Xavier just stood and smiled sheepishly. So it was.
Amidst the political unrest just across the way from the performance, SF Critic spoke with Justice about their suggestive imagery, French politics, and Occupy Wallstreet.
SF Critic (SFC): I feel like there is a general anxiety that if you slip away for six months that you then become obsolete.
Xavier de Rosnay (XR): I really think, and right now I’m not talking about ourselves, that when you make a good record that makes connections you don’t get forgotten rather than doing a bunch of things that are not very good.
“The connection between the images and the music. This is what a music video should be made for first. And it stops there.”
SFC: Your new album has been dubbed progressive rock. But you originally came out in the US in a moment when there wasn’t a lot of electro anything going on. And you kind of came onto the scene and really swept through and were instrumental in pushing this genre forward. And now in the United States it’s almost ad nauseum – the synthy, electro sound, but super underdeveloped. Is your new stuff a rejection of this huge explosion of electro-pop or, tell me about that process?
XR: No, see from the inside it didn’t look at all like an explosion. And naturally we do not reject anything, we still love the album we did before and we are still really proud of it. But to be honest, I do not think it is that different from what we are making now. Gaspard has a good image when he talks about the album – he says it’s like seeing an old friend with a new hairdo, and I think that’s very true. The person stays the same but the hairdo can change a lot. I think for music it’s the same. To be honest from the beginning we never tried to make “dancey music” or something new. We never tried to be “new” or “surprising.” We just like to do what feels natural to us. It’s true that it’s more dry than the first record. It’s really dry, production is really backed off. It’s something that pleases us aesthetically and it fits the the record we have. Yeah, but we don’t work in reaction of anything, we just make things because we feel them.
SFC: So Justice..
XR:: I love when you say Justice, it’s perfect.
SFC: Thanks, I try to do it…justice! But, so the imagery: the cross, the monuments falling, and crashing in one of your latest videos – you seem to fall in line with a long tradition of French skepticism and political thought —
XR:: Do we!?
SFC: It seems so! Even though it’s not overt, which is interesting. I was reading an article in The Nation magazine about Marine Le Pin, daughter of right-winger Le Pin. So a political question! What do you think of her rise to prominence?
XR:: Ah so first – our music is completely politic free. We don’t put any political messages in our music other than “be happy, be sad, have a fight.” That’s about it. So when we make a video like “Civilization” we make it only for aesthetic value of it. Or a video like “Stress” it’s just for the aesthetic value of it. And the connection between the images and the music. This is what a music video should be made for first. And it stops there.
And Marine Le Pin – what can I say about her?! Oof! I think there’s not much to say. Everyone should be allowed to express what they want to say. To be honest we don’t even know what she proposes or says. We just know that she is the daughter of Marin Le Pin but we don’t know details of what she is. If we talk about it we are going to be very inarticulate and cliché! But obviously, some of the things she stands for are not our cup of tea.
SFC: And one more funny, well, maybe not funny but…you know Occupy Wall Street going on just across the river? This whole thing is called the “creators project,” that we are supposed to represent the culture creators and taste makers. But right now at Wall Street there is an entirely different set of culture creating going on. So I was wondering if you were down there and you had to create a sign- what would your sign say?
XR:: We were there this afternoon! Throwing stones in windows and stealing things from pawn shops. No, ha. But it is the same thing. We heard about it but we don’t really know what it is in depth….But we are really naïve guys and nice guys and so if we are to make a sign it would just be the most cliché signs ever. It would be something like “Make love, be happy, have fun.”