JUSTICE with SEBASTIAN , DJ MEHDI and BUSY P at the Mod Club (722 College), Friday (March 30). $20. www.milkaudio.com . Rating: NNNNN
Kanye West doesn't care about Justice.
The ego-tripping rapper lost his cool at the MTV Europe awards show in Denmark last November when his video for Touch The Sky lost to the relative little-known Parisian electro duo's low-budget vid for We Are Your Friends. The remix of Simian's Never Be Alone was one of the biggest dance-floor singles of 2006.
When West stormed the stage just as the director representing the absent DJs humbly tried to accept the prize, he launched into an expletive-laden rant about how the show would lose credibility by snubbing him, because his video cost "million of dollars" and "Pamela Anderson was in it."
Yeah, right. As for the credibility issue, you could argue the opposite.
"It was almost the highlight of the show," laughs Gaspard Augé, who along with Xavier de Rosnay forms Justice. "We couldn't go, but our friend did really well and managed the situation. If we had been there, maybe it would be worse. We would not understand [Kanye], what he's saying, and would probably just be smiling at him."
What Kanye doesn't realize is that Augé and de Rosnay are upholding a proud French tradition of electronic music duos. Out of all the knob-twisting pairs like Air and Cassius, Justice is closest to those robot-helmeted deities of house-rock Daft Punk. Listening to their grinding beats and over-distorted production that declares war on your speakers, you can imagine a leather-jacket-clad Augé rocking out metal at some point in his life.
"When I was younger, I was more into heavy metal," confirms Augé from his home in Paris. "Then I began to listen to other stuff like pop and electronic music.
"When we first started, we were doing really silly electro-pop. But we decided to move on and try something completely French. It was not heavy metal, but more distorted French.
"For us, Daft Punk's influence is that they are the first electronic act to meld their influence with pop, rock and everything without thinking about what is good taste or what is cool."
Another tangible connection to DP is Justice's label, Ed Banger, headed by Busy P, who manages both groups. Ed Banger is currently calling the shots in indie dance party circuits with a roster of trashy electro artists including Uffie, DJ Mehdi, Sebastian and Mr. Oizo that has a knack for luring genre outsiders into electronic music.
"I think we are all different, but the main aim of Ed Banger is to have fun and do the music we like," says Augé. "There is a common spirit, but I don't know if it's French or what."