Wednesday, 24 February 2010

2: Justice vs Simian - We Are Your Friends

Back at the beginning of the decade, I was DJing on student radio, writing for both the student newspaper and a number of independent webzines, and, as a result, receiving vast quantities of promo CDs and album samplers. More than I could ever possibly listen to, in fact. They say "never judge a book by its cover" but I was often forced to choose which CDs to review based on what the artwork looked like. I distinctly remember the yellow cover and typewriter font of the promo version of Simian's 2002 album, 'We Are Your Friends'. I listened to the album, was mildly impressed, put the CD back into the pile, and forgot all about it.

And then, a couple of years later, two Frenchmen came along and changed everything. Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay remixed the Simian track, 'Never Be Alone' (the central lyric of which had been used as the album's title) for a student radio competition. Which they lost. But French label, Ed Banger Records released the remix in 2003, then re-released it via International Deejay Gigolos in 2004, and out of nothing Justice was formed.

The song, now renamed as 'We Are Your Friends', finally achieved mainstream success in the summer of 2006, scraping into the UK Top 20. The week of its release, I had a torturous journey from Paris (where I was working at the time), via Barcelona and Valencia, to the Benicassim music festival. And on the Saturday night, drunk as a lord, I witnessed a steaming-hot dance tent explode when Soulwax dropped the track. There's a very embarrassing video of myself and my friend Cat at that precise moment on YouTube, and no, I'm not going to tell you how to find it.

From there, the story is simple... Justice's remix became my favourite drinking song, the one guaranteed to get everyone up on the dancefloor on nights out. Their debut album (the one with a cross on the front and no official title) changed my perceptions of dance music and electronica, and I witnessed the Frenchmen dazzle live audiences around London - blowing Chemical Brothers off the stage as their support at Kokos in October 2007, then doing the same to CSS at Brixton that December, and finally getting everyone dancing despite an unseasonal downpour at Somerset House the following summer.

We're still waiting for album number 2 (reportedly due this year), but in the meantime, 'We Are Your Friends' never gets old, even if it has been around in one form or another for virtually the entire Noughties.


  1. Agreed, it never gets old.
    Can't wait for the number 1 post.

  2. so what's your number one?! i've been waiting for aaaages!

  3. Yes, yes, I know. As time has passed it's kept slipping down my "to-do" list, but I promise I will post it in the next few days.

    I'm good at starting projects, less good at finishing them!

  4. I agree with Graham! What's number? Even if you just name it, and do the write-up another time...

  5. Number one?

    Come on, you came this far!

  6. Hey - still waiting for that number 1 choice! ;-) I'm doing my rundown of 2010 now if you're interested: my 20 favourite songs and 10 favourite albums - my 20/10 of 2010, if you will...

  7. All good music resembles something. Good music stirs by its mysterious resemblance to the objects and feelings which motivated it.

  8. The movie reminds me of the Rob Schneider trailers in South Park. Zac Effron was a swimmer. Then he was a frat boy. And now, Zac Effron is -- A DJ!! And he's about to find out -- that being a dj -- is harder than it looks!