Daft Punk

  • French electronic house music duo formed in 1993 from Paris France. The duo was comprised of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter. Both performed multi-instruments and vocals, and both wrote the songs that they performed and released.
  • Bangalter and de Homem-Christo met in school while in their early teens. They recorded demos together, and in 1992 they formed a group named Darlin’ with a third friend. The name Darlin’ was taken from a Beach Boys song of the same name, which they recorded along with an original composition. The two songs were released on a multi-artist EP by an independent record label. They recorded two more songs and performed two concerts before disbanding.
  • After the demise of Darlin’, Bangalter and de Homem-Christo decided to experiment with synthesizers and drum machines. They began to write music that played well in dance clubs. In April 1993, the duo read a negative review of Darlin’ in a music magazine that described the band’s music as “a daft punky thrash.” They liked the description and they decided to name their new project Daft Punk.
  • Later that year, a demo of their work was given to a record label, and the demo became their first release in 1994, a non-album single titled The New Wave. In May 1995, they recorded Da Funk. It initially was released in 1995 as a 12-inch single, limited to 2,000 vinyl copies. It was largely ignored, but the British techno duo Chemical Brothers began to incorporate it into their live shows. Its growing success led to interest by record labels, and Daft Punk was signed in 1996.
  • Their debut album, Homework, was released in 1997. The album was popular in Europe, but it only reached #150 on the Billboard 200 chart – though their future success led to steady sales of the album over time. Ultimately, they sold over 2 million copies of the album worldwide, with a re-released Da Funk reaching the top ten in the UK and France and #1 on the US Dance Clubs Songs chart. A second single, Around the World, reached #1 on the US Dance Clubs Songs chart and #61 on the Hot 100. The duo was lauded by critics as evolving a new sound in house/dance music, incorporating heavy breakbeats and synthesized loops.
  • In their early days, the duo performed without costumes, but by 1997, they wore black bags or Halloween masks while performing.  By 2001, with the release of their second studio album Discovery, they wore robot-like helmets and gloves for their shows. The album was their breakthrough, with the single One More Time reaching the top ten on 25 global charts, including #1 on the US Dance Club Songs chart. Rolling Stone ranked it at #33 on their list of the greatest songs of the 00s decade, and at #307 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Other successful dance songs from the album included Digital Love, Face to Face and Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.
  • Their 2005 album Human After All was less successful. Four singles from the album were released, but none made the impact of their earlier work. In 2006 they premiered a film titled Daft Punk’s Electroma at the Cannes Film Festival, but the film did not include any of their original music.
  • In 2007, they released a live album titled Alive 2007, featuring a performance in Paris in June of that year. The album won the Grammy award for Best Electronic/Dance Album in 2009. A single from the album, a live version of Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger, won a Grammy award for Best Dance Recording.
  • For two years, Daft Punk wrote, recorded and produced the film score for the 2010 film Tron: Legacy. The 24 tracks on the soundtrack include an 85-piece orchestra together with the duo’s electronic music. The score earned a Grammy nomination for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media.
  • Daft Punk’s biggest success came in 2013 with the release of their Random Access Memories album. The lead single Get Lucky (featuring singer Pherrell Williams and guitarist Nile Rodgers) became the most-streamed new song in the history of Spotify. It topped 31 international charts and it peaked at #2 for five weeks on the Hot 100 chart. Rodgers’ guitar licks had the same disco sound that he had in the 70s, and the song created a brief disco revival in the mid-10s. The song won two Grammy awards, including Record of the Year. The album also received two Grammy awards, including Album of the Year.
  • Random Access Memories would be their final studio album. In 2013, they co-produced several songs on Kanye West’s Yeezus album. In 2016, they collaborated with R&B artist The Weeknd for two huge hits – Starboy topped the Hot 100 chart and I Feel It Coming peaked at #4 on the chart. Daft Punk was the featured artist on both tracks, as well as co-writers and co-producers. They collaborated with two other artists in 2016 and 2017, but then disappeared from further projects. In 2019 they launched an art exhibition in France that ran for four months, and in 2021 they released a video on their YouTube channel that featured a scene from their Electroma film from 2006. The day the video was released, it was announced that the duo had split.
  • Daft Punk is considered one of the most influential dance acts of all time. In 2015, Rolling Stone ranked them at #12 on their list of the Greatest Music Duos of All Time. Get Lucky ranks very high on my list of the “catchiest songs of all time.” Here’s the video to the infectious hit – DISCO LIVES!

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