One more time, Get lucky, Instant crush, and many other hits are part of the French group’s discography. The duo formed by Guy-Manuel de Homem-Cristo and Thomas Bangalter is considered one of the most significant electronic acts in history, with a staggering number of streams and albums sold, as well as a constant relevancy in pop culture. Their mysterious looks, along with their futuristic, sample-heavy songs have kept fans entertained for 3 decades
But what was the extent of Daft Punk’s legacy and impact on the music industry?
Bangalter and Homem-Cristo met at Lycée Carnot secondary school and bonded over interests related to rock music. They recorded demo tapes with fellow classmate, Laurent Brancowitz, and even created their own band, called Darlin’, which achieved moderate success, and opened shows for the London-based ensemble, Stereolab, in the UK.
A review by Melody Maker (a British Music Magazine) dubbed their songs as “Daft Punky Trash”, which would inspire the future duo’s name. Thomas grew tired of their sound, later stating “The rock n' roll thing we did was pretty average, I think. It was so brief, maybe six months, four songs and two gigs and that was it”. They swiftly disbanded, with Laurent following his path on the indie rock scene, leaving behind Guy-Manuel and Bangalter, who took the opportunity to experiment with drum machines, synthesizer, and talk-boxes.
Both integrants of Daft Punk began frequenting raves and shows, which introduced them to the house and dance genres of electronic music. They created various tracks, but their success only started when Daft Punk met Stuart McMillan, founder of the label, Soma Quality Records. They gave him a demo tape, which would serve as inspiration for their first EP, and featured Alive, present on their first album.
Da Funk was their first international commercial success, followed by other hits like Around the world, Revolution 909, and Fresh. Their first and second albums were received very well by critics and took the world by storm; the rest is history.
Daft Punk are known for their ambitious samples; for example, their second album, Discovery, sampled multiple disco, soft rock, and r&b songs from the 70s and 80s. Artists like Kanye West, Tyler the Creator, Pharell Williams, and many more have taken inspiration from the French duo.
Not only has Daft Punk mesmerized fans with their astonishing songs, but their visual presentations and aesthetics have received high prestige. For example, Around the world. MTV spectators were blessed with radiant colours, distinct props, and unique choreography. With its five groups of costumed performers, counting mummies, skeletons, and robots, all lit by coloured lights, the clip showed how the future could be comic, funny, and crazy at once. The “electronica” style video, directed by Michel Gondry, influenced many of the clips we see today, and remains as one of the most important music videos of all time.
What many don’t know is that Daft Punk hasn’t always worn masks. It all started in 1999, when the duo took action and created a robot “alter-ego” in order to avoid being prisoners of fame. This turned out to be a genius move, since the masks became iconic, and the face of the Daft Punk ensemble. Influencing artists like DeadMau5, Marshmello, Claptone, and others, making masked DJs a trend. The duo has also collaborated with YSL, a renowned French fashion brand. This is a remarkable feat, only attainable by the best in the industry.
Daft Punk’s rich discography, and revolutionary pioneering of the music industry solidified them as one of the greatest groups alive. They are symbolic figures that represent reutilization of the past, into creating an interesting future. Their art changed people around the world, and although the duo is no longer together, they’ll be remembered forever.