Hear the British group Simian's song "Never Be Alone" and Justice's remixed version, called "We Are Your Friends."
Courtesy of the artists
Gaspard Auge (right) and Xavier de Rosnay are former graphic designers touring the U.S following the release of their new CD of electronic dance music.
One of the biggest sensations in the dance clubs last summer was "We Are Your Friends," a song by a pair of former graphic designers who call themselves Justice. Gaspard Auge and Xavier de Rosnay are on tour in the U.S. to promote their new CD.
The pair met by chance through mutual friends, found a common interest in music and decided to enter a radio contest to remix the single "Never Be Alone" by the British band Simian. De Rosnay says they didn't have much experience, but they were willing to give it a try.
"It was a good excuse to make music, when you don't know how to make anything new. We didn't know anything about music or production. We needed something easier to make than your own original tracks," he said.
Auge and de Rosnay lost the contest, but their remix, "We Are Your Friends," caught the ear of a record company. The duo spent a couple years sharpening their skills, and their second remix of the song ignited dance floors last summer.
De Rosnay says they originally started doing remixes because they didn't have the skill set to do much else. But they also had an ulterior motive.
"The only reason we do remixes," he says, "is just to see our names printed on records from people we like. That's what links all the artists we've remixed, is that we are big fans of them, and we are just happy to see the name Justice on a Britney Spears record."
For the new CD, the pair came up with 12 songs of their own.
"The main idea was to make a kind of 2008 disco opera," Auge says. "We picked up different moods that we wanted for the album, and then we just placed them. We knew we wanted 12 tracks at about 45 minutes in length."
One of the more pop-oriented songs on the album, "D.A.N.C.E.," is a tribute to Michael Jackson. Because it was difficult for Auge and de Rosnay to write lyrics in English, they made the words up entirely from Michael Jackson song titles. The infectious four-minute tune features a London children's chorister singing just slightly off pitch here and there.
"All the singers we cast to sing the song were young, but professional," de Rosnay says. "You just bring them a score and they sing exactly what's written. So we had to write in all the mistakes on the score, so they could sing it just a bit off."
Auge and de Rosnay have been successful in spite of their lack of training. Part of the secret, they say, is to keep their influences simple.
"Love, war, disease, girls, cars, booze, really stupid things," de Rosnay says. "But that's what leads to pop music — just provide simple emotions. It's hard to provide simple emotions when you're inspired by Jaco Pastorius. It's much easier when you're inspired by cars and girls."