From 2007-2008 I saw electronic DJ duo Justice play 7 times. It was also around this time I bought a leather jacket. In the Summer of 2007 I partied on a double decker Myspace bus with them. I was wearing a Thai hat. We partied so hard the bus caught fire. That was so Myspace!
Anyway 5 years later I still have the leather jacket and I’m in Portland. I heard my old friends were coming to town to play a show. It had sold out months before. But a girl I know out here has something of a colourful history with the band, so she contacted them to see if they would put us on the list. After weeks of not hearing anything, on the day of the show we found out we were in!
We went. They played. I danced like it was 2007. Then they left the stage. As we were exiting, the girl got a call from Xavier saying to meet him at the backstage area. She beckoned me to go with her. We waited outside a metal fence, and saw the petit form of the French/Asian DJ come towards us. He kissed the girl through the fence then shook my hand. I introduced myself as “Gregoire”. The security guard opened the gate and we went in.
“We won’t stay long” Said the girl.
Now, I’ve seen the documentary of Justice’s last tour. Young girls falling around drunkly, drugs, sex, violence. I didn’t know what to expect as we descended the stair case to the green room. But when we got down there it was just the two DJs, Gaspard and Xavier, and then another guy with long hair who I assumed was the DJ known as Breakbot. Gaspard sprang up and offerd me a beer. I thanked him, shook hands and sat down.
I could tell they were wondering who I was. To break the tension, I asked Xavier for a cigarette. I smoked it quietly while the others talked in French. I smiled and pretended to understand but I wasn’t really trying. Instead I was just looking around, taking in the slightly depressing confines of this bare room. A couple of sofas, a few trays of drinks. I was happy to see a fruit bowl in the corner. The slightly brown bananas struck me as the most lively things in the room.
Xavier was eyeing me up. I knew he had a history with the girl I was with and he didn’t know my relationship with her. To be honest, neither did I. He told me Gregoire was a French name. I told him that wasn’t really my name. There was certainly tension in the air.
I heard him ask the girl in French about her boyfriends. Then he asked about me. She told him that I was just a friend. For something to do, I asked him for another cigarette and he said “I just gave you one. What happened to it?” I said “I smoked it. Big mystery.” He said “No you are hiding it.” I said “Yeah yeah, I’m collecting them to sell on the streets later. Come on, give me another one.” The girl said I could share hers.
Soon, Xavier asked the girl to go look at something with him, so they left down a corridor. I was now alone on the sofa. Opposite me Gaspard and Breakbot were listening to music on a laptop and speaking in French. Predictably.
In a moment of silence, I took the opportunity to tell Gaspard I was a filmmaker and had an idea for a music video I’d like to do for them. He gave me his email and said be in touch, which was nice. Then he explained they were going to go to the gate to see the fans. I asked if I could go with them and he said “Sure”. So I followed them to the gates where there some patient fans were waiting. I stood in the back drinking a Heineken while the guys signed records and t-shirts and passed them through the gates. No one asked me to sign anything.
“I guess they don’t want mine” I said to Gaspard. “They’ll learn.”
“What?” He said. I went to explain but instead I just left it.
When we got back to the green room, they turned the lights off. Mood lighting. They sat down for second and then decided they were going to the front door to see the fans. I didn’t go with them this time. What was the point?
And so it was that I found myself sat in Justice’s green room in the dark, completely alone, save for a couple of brown bananas. I sat there thinking “How did I get to this point?”
Then the tour manager, the crazy guy from their documentary “Across The Universe” walked in and demanded to now who I was. I told him I was Greg. He looked at me blankly. This was a guy who carried a gun with him throughout the tour in 2008. I explained I was friends with the girl and he seemed satisfied. Pretty soon everyone was back, including the girl and Xavier. He seemed more relaxed now he had shown whatever it was he wanted to. They explained they were having a surprise for one of their sound engineers, and were having a lot of naked men coming down to dance for him.
I didn’t know if this was a joke, but either way I didn’t care. It was time to leave. I told the girl I wanted to go.
She asked “Why? Are you not having fun?”
I said “It’s just me sitting around with a bunch of dudes speaking in French. It’s like being in a youth hostel dorm room.”
“They’re having a party though”
“Yeah, more guys!”
She said she was going to stay. I nodded, rose, politely said my goodbyes, and walked out into the night, my shirt still drenched with sweat. The circle was complete. I called a taxi and went home.
And that’s the story of when I met Justice.