I was fortunate enough to sit down with Gaspard from electronic duo Justice, ahead of their upcoming Australian shows in Sydney and Melbourne. Here’s what he had to say about the current electronic music scene, and what’s on the horizon.
This is your first time bringing your latest record ‘Woman’ to Australian shores. What can we expect from the live show?
We are bringing through the same instruments to be used for every song so that everything is more efficient and straightforward than what is on the record. Like one type of drum sound, one type of bass etc. We want to escape the cliche of electronic music live shows where everything is done behind a desk, and stuck in the sandwich between that and the LED screen behind you. That’s why we began working on an evolving type approach that resembles machinery. What you see in the beginning is not what you end up with. We want to be as entertaining as possible and a bit magical at times.
To an Australian fan that may be coming out to your show, that might only know one or two of your hits, how would you describe yourselves as artists?
I guess the music we are doing is kind of hard-disco, but disco in the sense that it’s like a blend of funk, pop, classical and electronic music. The music we do is not electronic in the common sense of the term; it is produced with computers but also with instruments and it’s not like a statement to say we are doing it like that. The result is way more efficient when we do live shows because when we are doing albums people can go through it on their own terms and get the subtleties. When we are playing live it is really straight to the point and more in your face as there is only one chance to get it.
Whilst having more of a disco edge, this record really brings through a familiar “Justice” sound, with the fantastic use of the slap bass, and melodic strings. What is it about these two instruments that has drawn you to them?
It’s the groove of the slap bass, and the kind of shifting of it. We have worked with orchestras before, and we struggled a bit with the classically trained musicians to get that very dynamic disco-string sound, mainly because they aren’t really used to that. Also, it’s a way for us to make use of a choir or orchestra so that we are relying on the lead singer for a melody. It’s a bit larger than life when you get lots of people in a room playing together, and we wanted to have that feeling on the record.
You are going to be playing a one-off headline show at Hisense Arena in Melbourne in March, which is quite a big venue, where the Australian Open recently finished up. How do you guys feel playing big venues versus small venues, and which one do you prefer?
It’s a very different energy in both of them, and we just hope that it will be packed there. It’s a different energy because it can be a lot sweatier in a small club, but then when you are playing to 10-15 thousand people, it’s always a pleasure to see a human sea of people jumping to your music.
Being a solo producer myself, the dynamics in electronic duos always fascinate me; from the way ODESZA work to the unique partnership that the Chainsmokers have. How do you guys tend to work in the studio together?
It depends on the track but mostly we have discussions about what we are going to do next, and we always have ideas in the back of our heads. Sometimes it comes from either of us bringing a track to the table and saying “yeah we can do something to that”, and other times it comes from us jamming together with a keyboard, bass or guitar just like any other band really, just being together until we are satisfied with the song. Obviously then there is a lot of time sitting there producing, and processing the song itself, but yeah, it’s a lot of collaborating.
You guys have been in the electronic scene for a while now, and have managed to maintain the integrity of your music, never succumbing to the latest EDM hype trend, despite having the production skills to do so. What are your thoughts on the current state of electronic music, and where do you think we are heading?
It’s hard to tell because everything is moving really fast, and it has never really interested us, following the trends. When you are chasing the spirit of the moment, it is already gone before the song comes out. So we mostly just do our thing, and aren’t really interested in the worldwide state of EDM at the moment because it’s not really the music we listen to.
What does a normal day in the life of Justice look like nowadays?
It looks like hanging out in the studio because we wanted to have our own studio in a proper place that we could call ‘our studio’ so that we could put all our ideas in a certain place. We spend a lot of time doing music there, and then just cooking lunch and dinner.
Where do you see yourselves in music in 10 years, and is there anything major that you still want to accomplish?
Not really because we never really had a master plan, or life goal. We have always been happy with what has come to us, and keeping ourselves entertained, never compromising the music. So far it has been really good, so we will see what happens.
You recorded the album with the London Contemporary Orchestra; what was that experience like working with an orchestra for the first time? Did it turn out how you thought it would? You mentioned earlier that getting them to play dance melodies was a struggle, but were there any other unexpected issues?
No no! I was saying that about the previous orchestras we were working with. This one, they were very on point and we didn’t need to struggle to get through. They are a very young orchestra, a bunch of young guys and girls from London, and we also got them to sing and to use them as the choir. They were very efficient and very good to work with. Not only that but they are very talented and are also very interested in any genre of music, they aren’t focused solely on classical stuff.
If you want to catch Justice during their time here in Australia, they will be playing at Sydney City Limits, and then later at Hisense arena in Melbourne. Tickets are still available here.
author: Tom Walker