JUSTICE with PEDRO WINTER and RORY THEM FINEST at the State Theatre (69 Bathurst), tonight (Thursday, October 20). $5 before 11 pm, $10 after.416-603-8188, www.statetheatre.ca.
Parisian dance rock duo Justice describe their sound as "Bernard Edwards from Chic being abused by the guys from Slayer." Odd as that sounds, it's actually pretty accurate. Two years ago they knocked off a cheeky remix of British psych-pop band Simian's Never Be Alone that somehow found its way into the hands of Pedro Winter (head of Ed Banger Records and long-time right-hand man of Daft Punk), a man who knows a hit when he hears it. It perfectly summed up the converging influences of punk, disco, electro and house that are so hip right now, and has since become one of those sing-along anthems at both indie rock dance parties and big dance clubs.
Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay suddenly found themselves being asked to DJ at clubs around the world, even though neither of them had much of a history behind the decks.
Remixes of everyone from Death from Above 1979 to N.E.R.D to Fatboy Slim followed, and they've just released an EP of their own tracks on Ed Banger previewing some material for an upcoming album.
Word is that they'll be taking a break from the high-profile remixes, but don't take that to mean they don't love reassembling other people's songs.
"One of our favourite remixes is the one we did for Death from Above 1979, first cuz this band was a big discovery for us, and then cuz it sounds exactly how we wanted it to sound: speedy, raw and brutal, with some kind of humour in it," they write via e-mail.
"Some great bands ask us for remixes, but we don't feel their tracks need an electronic remix. We don't wanna feel like criminals by turning these songs into dance music."
In a relatively short time, they've managed to develop a very specific and identifiable sound. Think crunchy disco drums, distorted synth bass and aggressive funky edits. Rather than crediting this to any technical mastery, they cheerfully admit that it's at least partly due to their limited studio, which comprises, basically, just a couple of synths, some guitar amps and a sampler.
"We are not very technical guys, so we could easily get lost in a complex set-up. We love bands like ESG (NYC punk funk legends), who built all their tracks with only bass and drums. When you listen to any track they made, you can immediately identify it as an ESG track."