It was a typical response for de Rosnay and bandmate Gaspard Augé, who spend a large part of each interview insisting they're "not good instrumentalists" and "make music without knowing much about the real process of writing or recording," as they recently told Pitchfork.
But when we caught up with the duo in the Atlantic Records offices in Manhattan, it was hard to not take them at their word. Exceedingly polite and agreeable, de Rosnay (who eagerly does all the talking for the band) and Augé explained the thought process that went into making an album they say required little thought.
"It looks modern, but it was fun, because there were people complaining that it's not really disco, so yeah, we're sorry about that," de Rosnay says. "It's fun to see how a name can affect things, like if we named a song 'Rap Attack,' people would think it's actually rap."
'Audio, Video, Disco' is a striking departure from 'Cross,' the band's critically acclaimed debut that was released four years ago. Fans hungering for epic, booming tracks like 'Phantom, Pt. II' or infectious dance jingles like 'D.A.N.C.E.' that made de Rosnay and Augé electronic music's favorite act since Daft Punk will find little of either on the album.
Instead, it's a synth-heavy ode to '70s rock 'n' roll -- an album filled with such soon-to-be stadium anthems as 'Canon' and 'Civilization,' the latter of which the band released months ago and Adidas snagged for a commercial.
"All the music we make is based on a really simple set of emotions: melancholy, victory and a sort of epicness," de Rosnay says. "We are not natural-born musicians. We make music in a very empirical way -- instinctive and empirical. We have to see, hear and learn to make music."
On 'Cross,' Justice used scores of microsamples, grabbing sounds they needed from other songs and using them in ways that rendered them unrecognizable. Making 'Audio, Video, Disco,' the duo took a different approach.
"This time, we did not do it," de Rosnay reveals. "There is only one sample on this record, and it's a really short one -- a microsample -- because we just needed it at the moment. The microsample thing has a big advantage, and that's also it's downside: It makes everything sound good very quickly, and very full. So if you write a track and write a bass line and replace every note with a microsample, you're going to have something that's going to sound almost too full."
"But we didn't want this record to sound full," he adds. "You always want to make it sound like it's your first time record, and we wanted this to be very dry, backed off. We don't care about using samples, but it just makes things sound too good and too full -- we wanted something to be unstable and that only maybe the last 30 or 40 seconds of each song is full."
As with 'Cross,' songs from the new album are sure to be picked up for commercials. As de Rosnay explains, the band chooses to let its music be used in advertisements because it doesn't make radio-friendly music.
"That problem doesn't even enter our minds when we work on music, just because we have no idea what's a hit," he says. "We have no idea how to make songs that go on the radio or how to make music that pleases anyone -- we only make music that sounds good to us, and that's the only thing we can be sure about. The rest is circumstantial."
It's worth noting that the duo seem to follow this approach when they DJ as well. Their sets are somehow neither full of radio bangers nor laden with quixotic references. They provide a familiar danceability that results in fans picking over their sets online until each song is identified.
"When we do DJ sets, we don't think of giving a lesson to people about music; we just play music that's fun and that we like," de Rosnay says. "It's mainly made up of classics with some new stuff."
"So one of the last access routes to larger audiences is commercials, and you can enter houses of people without thinking about it," he adds. "When we gave 'Civilization' to Adidas, we thought, 'OK, we're not going to have to say anything.' People are going to hear it without listening to it, and it will be in your head. We call it 'entering in the backdoor,' and we thought we needed that, because it was already three and a half years since we put out anything, and it felt more comfortable to enter through the backdoor than dropping a single and saying, 'Hey! Here we are!' and releasing the album in a month or two."
The band said they had the idea for 'Audio, Video, Disco' right after releasing 'Cross' and always knew they would make a second record. According to de Rosnay, the finished album stays true to the idea they had in 2008, and the duo is "still very keen on making new music at the moment." In fact, de Rosnay reveals, they're already setting up their studio for next year.
"We don't know, though, if it's going to be a Justice album or whatever else," he says.
And if they weren't making music, what would they be doing?
"I'm quite a good butcher -- butchering?" de Rosnay says with a smirk. "But if not a butcher, we'd be graphic designers, because that's what we were trained to do."