n 1987, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo met at secondary school (Lycée Carnot in Paris) and formed a band with some pupils from the school. The group Darlin’ formed in 1992 and consisted of Laurent Brancowitz, Bangalter and Homem-Christo. Named after a Beach Boys song, the indie rock trio’s career was brief. The British music paper Melody Maker dubbed the band’s music “daft punk” and in doing so handed them the name for their next venture. When Darlin’ split, Brancowitz went on to form Phoenix. Daft Punk: Homework and Beyond Daft Punk’s career was launched when they met Stuart Macmillan at a 1993 rave in the grounds of EuroDisney in Paris. They handed Macmillan a demo tape, which became the foundations of their debut single, ‘The New Wave’, released in 1994. In 1995, they released ‘Da Funk’, which became their first commercial success. Looking for a manager, they settled upon Pedro Winter (Busy P), a promoter of Hype nightclubs. Daft Punk’s first two singles were later featured on their debut album, Homework. A mix of electro, techno and house music, the album was considered to be an innovation in dance music. The single ‘Around The World’ was a huge success for the duo and renowned directors such as Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze and Roman Coppola were drafted
in to direct their music videos. The videos were later released as D.A.F.T. - A Story About Dogs, Androids, Firemen and Tomatoes. In 2001, Daft Punk released Discovery. A slicker, poppier album than their debut, the album reached number two in the UK and ‘One More Time’ was a massive nightclub success. ‘Digital Love’ and ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’ compounded the duo’s success and Daft Punk became one of the most popular dance acts of the time. In 2003, Daft Punk branched out and produced the feature length animation 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem. They worked under the supervision of their hero, Leiji Matsumoto and also released an accompanying album to the film. Human After All was released in 2005 and received mixed reviews. The next year, the CD / DVD anthology, Musique Vol. 1 1993-2005 was released, featuring new music videos. Human After All: Remixes was also released about this time and in May 2006, Daft Punk’s first directed film, Daft Punk’s Electroma saw its debut screening at the Cannes Film Festival. The duo appear in the film, though their music does not, and nor do their faces, as they went to great lengths to hide their identity, as they do onstage, in their iconic robot outfits. Alive 2007 was released in November 2007 and featured Daft Punk’s performance in Paris that year. Pedro Winter stepped down as the band’s manager, choosing to focus instead on his own label, Ed Banger Records.
RANDOM ACCESS MEMORIES Soma Records released a previously unpublished Daft Punk track called “Drive” that was made while the duo was still with Soma Records and recording “Rollin’ and Scratchin’” and “Da Funk”. The track was included in a twentieth anniversary multi-artist compilation of the Soma label. In October 2011, Daft Punk placed 28th in a “top-100 DJs of 2011” list by DJ Magazine after appearing at position 44 in the year before.] On 19 January 2012, Daft Punk ranked No. 2 on Mixmag’s Greatest Dance Acts of All Time, with The Prodigy at No. 1 by just a few points. Daft Punk worked on their fourth studio album, Random Access Memories in collaboration with singer-songwriter Paul Williams and Chic frontman Nile Rodgers. In May 2012 it was also announced that Giorgio Moroder had collaborated with the duo, recording a monologue about his life in a vocal booth containing microphones ranging from 1960 to present day. Chilly Gonzales stated in an interview that he had performed material for the duo’s project in a one-day session: “I played for hours and they’re gonna grab what they grab and turn it into whatever.” He also said that the album would be released “next spring”.Fourplay member Nathan East later mentioned that he had contributed to the project. In October 2012, Daft Punk provided a fifteen-minute mix of songs by blues musician Junior Kimbrough for Hedi
Slimane’s Yves Saint Laurent fashion show. The duo also placed 44th in DJ Magazine’s annual Top 100 DJs list. In January 2013, de Homem-Christo revealed that Daft Punk was in the process of signing with Sony Music Entertainment through the Columbia Records label, and that the album would have a spring release. A report from The Guardian followed specifying a release date of May 2013. On 28 February, Daft Punk’s official website and Facebook page featured a picture of the duo’s helmets, with a “Columbia” logo in the corner, to announce the Columbia signing. On 2 March, a fifteen-second television advertisement aired during the Saturday Night Live program—it depicted an animated, stylized version of the band’s logo and the aforementioned image of the helmets. On 23 March, a preorder page for the new album appeared on iTunes and this was the first time that the title Random Access Memories was revealed, together with a release date of 21 May 2013. The official website for the album and an updated television advertisement were also unveiled. On 3 April, the official album website launched The Collaborators, a series of 16mm documentary videos about the album. The details of the album were then announced and the 79th Annual Wee Waa Show, held on 17 May 2013 in the rural Australian town of Wee Waa, was selected as the launch venue. However, no actual members of Daft Punk were in
attendance. On 12 April, a video preview for the song “Get Lucky”, in which Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers appear, was played at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The radio edit of the song was released as a digital download single on 19 April 2013. “Get Lucky” became Daft Punk’s first UK No. 1 single on 28 April 2013 remaining at number one for 4 weeks (as of 24 May) and the Spotify music streaming website reported that the song is the most-streamed new song in the service’s history. Daft Punk were scheduled to appear on 6 August episode of The Colbert Report to promote Random Access Memories, but were unable to do so because of conflicting obligations regarding the duo’s future appearance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. According to Stephen Colbert, Daft Punk were unaware of any exclusivity agreement and were halted by MTV executives the morning prior to the taping. Colbert nevertheless broadcast an elaborate sketch of himself dancing to “Get Lucky” with various celebrities, including Hugh Laurie, Jeff Bridges, Jimmy Fallon, Bryan Cranston, Jon Stewart, Henry Kissinger, Matt Damon, and The Rockettes. At the Video Music Awards, Daft Punk debuted a trailer for their single “Lose Yourself to Dance,” and presented the award for “Best Female Video” alongside Rodgers and Pharrell. For the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, Random Access Memories was awarded
the Grammy for Best Dance/ Electronica Album, Album of the Year and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, while “Get Lucky” received the Grammy for Best Pop Duo/ Group Performance and the Record of the Year. Daft Punk also performed a medley at the ceremony with Rodgers, Pharrell, and Stevie Wonder of “Get Lucky”, “Le Freak”, “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”, “Another Star”, “Lose Yourself to Dance”, and “Around the World”.Pharrell later released his second studio album G I R L, in which Daft Punk performed additional vocals for the song “Gust of Wind”. On 10 March 2014, the Daft Punk song “Computerized” surfaced on the Internet. The song features Jay-Z and appears to contain elements of “The Son of Flynn” from the Tron: Legacy soundtrack.