Daft Punk and the ridiculousness of Rock´n Roll
2013 seems to be THE year for fans of Daft Punk. It´s not only the 20th anniversary of the Parisian duo, they´re also finally releasing their highly anticipated fourth album, “Random Access Memories,” which will be out on May 21 on Columbia Records and contains 13 tracks (list of tracks length below). This message will surely make discolovers´ hearts beat faster, especially because the names of the collaborators sound more than enticing: Nile Rogers from Chic, Chilly Gonzales, Paul Williams, Panda Bear, Feist and Giorgio Moroder are among them.
Everyone probably still remembers all the special moments they had during listening to „One more time“, „Prime time of your life“ or „Something about us“ – time for Golden Scissors to take a look back on the story of Thomas Bangaltar and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo.
The duo really has a clear faible for irony, already shown in their name which comes from a negative review in British newspaper „Melody maker“ – a British journalist who didn´t like their sound too much called their music „a bunch of daft punk“ – probably without knowing the scope of this decision then.
Thomas and Guy-Man had met at Lycee Carnot, a secondary school in Paris, in 1987 and founded indie cover band „Darling“ only at the age of 12, where they played bass and guitar. The Beach Boys, The Stooges and The Rolling Stones were among their early influences and inspired their massive rocking sound. Darling´s drummer Laurent Brancowitz („Branco“) left later-on to join his brother´s indiepop-band Phoenix.
Thomas and Guy-Man considered their rock´n roll-sound as pretty average and after Branco left the band, they began to experiment with drum machines and synthesizers and found their love for house and disco soon – and things run their course.
On a rave at EuroDisney in 1993 they met Stuart Macmillan from Slam, co-founder of Scottish label Soma Quality Recordings. They gave him a demo tape which built the basis for their debut single „The new wave“, released in 1994. In 1994 they released their EPs The New Wave/Assault/Alive, Da Funk/Rollin’ & Scratchin’ and Indo Silver Club, with which they became successful soon in the British underground scene. They started to play on parties and events, where their robot masks soon became their special logo.
Being a symbol of the merge of humans and machines, there´s also another reason for wearing the masks. Once the duo stated that it wouldn’t be so important for their fans to know who they are, but what they do and that therefore their faces wouldn´t matter – they refused to be rockstars this way because the rock´n roll poses and attitudes would rather be ridiculous nowadays.
Their first successful single was „Da Funk“, released in 1995 and selling 30000 copies worldwide, supported by everyone from ZigZag-magazine author Kris Needs to The Chemical Brothers. They also began to look for a manager, who they found in Pedro Winter, known better as Busy P from Ed Banger Records.
One year after Thomas and Guy-Man left Soma and re-released „Da Funk“ on major label Virgin, on which they should publish their three forthcoming albums of their production company Daft Trax.
In 1997 they put out their debut album, Homework. Its 16 tracks, containing „Around the world“, „Revolution 909“ and „Da Funk“ were an innovative blend of techno, house and acid house and soon became popular all over the world.
Homework marks a milestone for dance music, especially for filter house. After the release Daft Punk went on a world tour and they started to work on their own labels Roulé and Crydamoure, which released artists like Play Paul, Le Knight Club, DJ Falcon and Stardust.
The latter consists of Thomas Bangaltar, Alan Braxe and Benjamin Diamond and produced one of the world´s most famous dance tracks, „Music sounds better with you“, in 1998.
Also the release of „Around the world“ in 1999 meant a big success, probably everyone´s gonna remember the repeating chant of the song´s title forever.
Their second album Discovery, released in 2001, was much more synthpop-based. It´s title was inspired by the time of childhood, when kids have a playful and open-minded attitude – that´s why a huge amount of samples from the 70´s and 80´s era was used in it.
The single „One more time“, product of a collaboration with Californian singer Romanthony, was released in November 2000 and got them another number one-hit, selling more than 4 million times.
It meant a musical break for the duo as well, their sound changed from the remarkable sound of TR-909 and acid-synth-loops to vintage-synthesizers and rave elements, which were really crowdpleasing.
Also „Digital love“ and „Harder, better, faster, stronger“ were successful in the UK and the US – rapper Kanye West made a rework called „Stronger“ of the latter in 2007.
Their first live album Alive 1997, which showed their Daftendirektour performance in Birmingham, was put out in 2001.
In 2003 the animated film Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem was released, a collaboration with anime-creator Leiji Matsumoto, one of the duo´s childhood heroes and the graphical transcription of Discovery. The film is about a kidnapped pop band and doesn’t use any dialogs, just the videos tell the story.
As a promotion also „Daft Club“ was put out, a collection of remixes available for online members of the club.
In September 2004 the duo began to produce their third studio album, Human after all, which contained 10 tracks and was finished after only 6 weeks.
They released it in March 2005 and put out the singles „Robot Rock“, „Technologic“, „Human after all“ and „The prime time of your life“.
Also a remix album and a special edition, containing their figures as robots, was released.
In April 2007 they put out their second live album, Alive 2007, which contains their performance in Paris from their Alive tour. In February 2009 they won the Grammy Awards for Alive 2007 and its single „Harder, better, faster, stronger“.
The duo also appeared in the video game „DJ Hero“ as playable characters wearing their helmets of the Discovery-era.
In 2009 they announced to compose the soundtrack for the Walt Disney Pictures film „Tron: Legacy“, containing of 24 tracks. For this they collaborated with Joseph Trapanese and created a mixture of orchestral and electronic elements. They also appeared in the movie themselves, wearing their robot masks. In April 2011 a remix album called „Tron: Legacy Reconfigured“, containing remixes by Boys Noize, The Japanese Popstars, Moby and The Crystal Method, was released.
In 2010 they started working on a new project for which they collaborated with several artists, among them singer-songwriter Paul Williams. He announced the release of the new album for June 2012, but it was clear soon that this would not happen.
De Homem-Christo stated that they would release the album in spring 2013 on Sony Music Entertainment through Columbia Records.
On February 28 the duo´s official website and their facebook page were showing a picture of their helmets with a Columbia logo, announcing the signing to Columbia. On March 2 there was a mysterious 15-second-ad shown on NBC comedy show Saturday Night Live which depicted the band logo. It turned out that 13 new Daft Punk tracks with a total playtime of 74 minutes would appear on Sony soon. On March 23 a preorder page for the new album on iTunes followed, revealing the name „Random Access Memories“ and the album release date on May 21. The official homepage was uncovered on March 24 then.
Let´s pray that the long wait was worth it and that another masterpiece of our favourite Frenchies awaits us – in 57 days we will know more!
Daft Punk – SNL Add/Snippet Ft. Nile Rodgers Of Chic
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories SNL ad
“Random Access Memories” tracklist:
01 – Give Life Back To Music featuring Nile Rodgers
02 – The Game Of Love
03 – Giorgio by Moroder featuring Giorgio Moroder
04 – Within featuring Gonzales
05 – Instant Crush featuring Julian Casablancas
06 – Lose Yourself To Dance featuring Pharrell Williams on vocals and Nile Rodgers on guitar
07 – Touch featuring Paul Williams
08 – Get Lucky featuring Pharrell Williams on vocals …and Nile Rodgers on guitar
09 – Beyond
10 – Motherhood
11 – Fragments of Time featuring Todd Edwards
12 – Doin’ it right featuring Noah Lennox (Panda Bear)
13 – Contact with DJ Falcon