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The most popular song on Homework by Daft Punk is “ Around the World ” with a total of 188.5K page views.

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Daft Punk Homework

December 2, 2018

Daft Punk ’s Homework is, in its pure existence, a study in contradictions. The debut album from Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo arrived in 1997, right around the proliferation of big-beat and electronica—a twin-headed hydra of dance music fads embraced by the music industry following the commercialization of early ’90s rave culture—but when it came to presumptive contemporaries from those pseudo-movements, Homework shared Sam Goody rack space and not much else. Daft Punk’s introduction to the greater world also came at a time when French electronic music was gaining international recognition, from sturdy discotheque designs to jazzy, downtempo excursions—music that sounded miles away from Homework ’s rude, brutalist house music.

In the 21 years since Homework ’s release, Daft Punk have strayed far from its sound with globe-traversing electronic pop that, even while incorporating other elements of dance music subgenres, has more often than not kept house music’s building blocks at arms’ length. 2001’s Discovery was effectively electronic pop-as-Crayola box, with loads of chunky color and front-and-center vocals that carried massive mainstream appeal. Human After All from 2005 favored dirty guitars and repetitive, Teutonic sloganeering, while the pair took a nostalgia trip through the history of electronic pop itself for 2013’s Random Access Memories . Were it not for a few choice Homework tracks that pop up on 2007’s exhilarating live document Alive 2007 , one might assume that Homework has been lost in the narrative that’s formed since its release—that of Daft Punk as robot-helmeted superstar avatars, rather than as irreverent house savants.

But even as the straightforward and strident club fare on Homework remains singular within Daft Punk’s catalog, the record also set the stage for the duo’s career to this very day—a massively successful and still-going ascent to pop iconography, built on the magic trick-esque ability to twist the shapes of dance music’s past to resemble something seemingly futuristic. Whether you’re talking about Bangalter and Homem-Christo’s predilection for global-kitsch nostalgia, their canny and self-possessed sense of business savvy, or their willingness to wear their influences on their sleeve like ironed-on jean-jacket patches—it all began with Homework .

It couldn’t possibly make more sense that a pair of musicians whose most recent album sounds like a theme park ride through pop and electronic music’s past got their big break at Disneyland. It was 1993, and schoolboy friends Bangalter and Homem-Christo’s rock band with future Phoenix guitarist Laurent Brancowitz, Darlin’—named after a track from the 1967 Beach Boys album Wild Honey that the three shared an affinity for—had disbanded after a year of existence that included a few songs released on Stereolab ’s Duophonic label. (Melody Maker writer Dave Jennings notoriously referred to their songs as possessing “a daft punky thrash,” which led to the pair assuming the Daft Punk moniker.)

While attending a rave in Paris, Bangalter and Homem-Christo had a chance encounter with Glasgow DJ/producer Stuart McMillan, the co-founder of the Soma Recordings dance label; like any aspiring musicians would, they gave him a demo tape of early Daft Punk music. The following year Soma released Daft Punk’s debut single “The New Wave,” a booming and acid-tinged instrumental that would later evolve into Homework cut “Alive.”

A follow-up, “Da Funk” b/w “Rollin’ & Scratchin’,” hit shops in 1995; according to a Muzik profile two years later, its initial 2,000-platter pressing was “virtually ignored” until rave-electronica bridge-gap veterans the Chemical Brothers started airing out its A-side during DJ sets. A major-label bidding war ensued, with Virgin as the victor which re-released “Da Funk” as a proper single in 1996 with non- Homework track “Musique” as its B-side. During this time, Bangalter and Homem-Christo casually worked on the 16 tunes that would make up Homework in the former’s bedroom, utilizing what The Guardian ’s Ben Osborne referred to in 2001 as “ low technology equipment ”—two sequencers, a smattering of samplers, synths, drum machines, and effects, with an IOMEGA zip drive rounding out their setup.

Bangalter and Homem-Christo’s work ethic while assembling the bulk of Homework was of the type that makes sloths appear highly efficient by comparison: no more than eight hours a week, over the course of five months. “We have not spent much time on Homework ,” Bangalter casually bragged to POP . “The main thing is that it sounds good… We have no need to make music every day.” The songs were crafted with the intention of being released as singles (“We do not really want to make albums,” Bangalter claimed in the same interview), Homework ’s eventual sequencing a literal afterthought after the pair realized they had enough material to evenly fill four sides of two vinyl platters. “Balance,” the pair said in unison when asked about Homework ’s format-specific sequencing in Dance Music Authority following the album’s release. “It is done for balance.”

Indeed, Homework is practically built to be consumed in side-long chunks; taking the album in at a single 75-minute listen can feel like running a 5K right after eating an entire pizza. Its A-side kicks off with the patient build of “Daftendirekt”—itself a live-recording excerpt of introductory music used during a Daft Punk set at 1995’s I Love Techno festival in Ghent—and concludes with the euphoric uplift of “Phoenix”; the B-side opens with the literal oceanic washes of “Fresh” before stretching its legs with the loopy, Gershon Kingsley-interpolating “Around the World” and the screeching fist-pump anthem “Rollin’ & Scratchin’.” The third side keeps things light with the flashy, instructional “Teachers” before getting truly twisted on “Rock’n Roll,” and the fourth side takes a few rubbery detours before landing on the full-bodied “Alive”—the thicker and meaner final form of “The New Wave”—and, quixotically, a slight and rewound “Da Funk” return, aptly titled “Funk Ad.”

Bangalter explained to POP that the title of Homework carries a few meanings: “You always do homework in the bedroom,” he stated, referencing the album’s homespun origins before elaborating on the didactic exercise that creating the album represented: “We see it as a training for our upcoming discs. We would as well have been able to call it Lesson or Learning .” That instructional nature is reflexive when it comes to listeners’ presumptive relationship with the album, as Homework practically represents a how-to for understanding and listening to house music.

Nearly every track opens with a single sonic element—more often than not, that steady 4/4 rhythm inextricably tied to house music—adding every successive element of the track patiently, like a played-in-reverse YouTube video showcasing someone taking apart a gadget to see what’s inside. Such a pedagogic approach can have its pitfalls; there’s always a risk of coming across as too rigid, and Daft Punk arguably fell victim to such dull, fussy didacticism later in their careers. But they sidestep such follies on Homework by way of the purely pleasurable music they carefully assembled, piece-by-piece, for whoever was listening.

Under the umbrella of house music, Homework incorporates a variety of sounds snatched from various musical subgenres—G-funk’s pleasing whine, the cut-up vocal-sample style of proto-UK garage made popular by frequent Daft Punk collaborator Todd Edwards , disco’s delicious synths and glittery sweep—to craft a true musical travelogue that also hinted at the widescreen sonic scope they’d take later in their careers. Above all, the album represents a love letter to black American pop music that’s reverberated through Daft Punk’s career to date—from Janet Jackson ’s sample of “Daftendirekt” on her 2008 Discipline track “So Much Betta” to Will.i.am’s failed attempt to remix “Around the World” the year previous, as well as the duo’s continued collaborations with artists ranging from Pharrell to Kanye West and the Weeknd .

The spirit of house music’s Midwestern originators is also literally and musically invoked throughout. Over the winding house-party groove of “Teachers,” Daft Punk pay homage to their formative influences, ranging from George Clinton and Dr. Dre to Black house and techno pioneers like Lil Louis, DJ Slugo, and Parris Mitchell—and in a meta twist, the song’s structure itself is a literal homage to Mitchell’s 1995 Dance Mania! single “Ghetto Shout Out,” an interpolation clearly telegraphed in the middle of Daft Punk’s astounding contribution to BBC’s Essential Mix series in 1997 .

Alongside Daft Punk’s preoccupations with American popular music, Homework also carries a very specific and politically pointed evocation of their native Paris in “Revolution 909,” the fourth and final single released from Homework that doubled as a critique of anti-rave measures taken by the French government after Jacques Chirac assumed power in 1995. “I don’t think it’s the music they’re after—it’s the parties,” Homem-Christo told Dance Music Authority , with Bangalter adding, “They pretend [the issue is] drugs, but I don’t think it’s the only thing. There’s drugs everywhere, but they probably wouldn’t have a problem if the same thing was going on at a rock concert, because that’s what they understand. They don’t understand this music which is really violent and repetitive, which is house; they consider it dumb and stupid.”

“Revolution 909” opens with ambient club noise, followed by the intrusion of police sirens and intimidating megaphone’d orders to “stop the music and go home.” The accompanying Roman Coppola-helmed music video was even more explicit in depicting the frequent clash between ravers and law enforcement that marked dance music’s rise to the mainstream in the early-to-mid-’90s; amidst a kitschy instructional video on making tomato sauce, a pair of cops attempt to disperse a rave, a young woman escaping one of their grasps after he becomes distracted by a tomato sauce stain on his own lapel.

It’s been rumored, but never quite confirmed, that Bangalter himself appears in the video for “Revolution 909”—a slice of speculation gesturing towards the fact that Daft Punk’s Homework era was the time in which the duo began embracing anonymity. The now-iconic robot helmets wouldn’t be conceived of until the Discovery era, and the magazine stories that came during Daft Punk’s pre- Homework days were typically accompanied by a fresh-faced photo of the pair; during Homework ’s promotional cycle, however, they donned a variety of masks to obscure their visages, including frog and pig-themed disguises .

In conversation with Simon Reynolds for The New York Times in 2013, the pair cited Brian De Palma’s glam-rock masterpiece Phantom of the Paradise as artistic inspiration for their decision to retain visual anonymity, and Daft Punk’s press-shy tendencies (since Homework , the interviews they’ve chosen to take part in have been few and far between) are firmly situated in a long tradition of letting the music do the talking in dance culture—from the sci-fi evasiveness of Drexciya and Aphex Twin ’s relative reclusiveness to the preferred reticence of Burial and his contemporaries in the UK bass scene.

But refusing to turn themselves into rock stars upon Homework ’s release also afforded Daft Punk a crucial element that has undoubtedly aided their perpetual ascent to the present-day: control. Retaining a sense of anonymity was but one of the conditions that the pair struck with Virgin upon signing to the label before Homework ’s release; while the music they released under the label (before signing to Columbia in 2013) was licensed exclusively to Virgin, they owned it through their own Daft Trax production and management company.

But Homework proved influential in other, more explicitly musical ways. G-house, an emergent dance subgenre in the mid-2010s dominated by acts like French duo Amine Edge & Dance, borrows liberally from Daft Punk’s own musical mash of hip-hop’s tough sounds and house music’s pounding appeal; the dirty bloghouse bruisers of Parisian collective Ed Banger—founded by Pedro Winter aka Busy P, who acted as the group’s manager until 2008—would literally not exist were it not for Homework , and that goes double for the party-hardy bloghouse micro-movement of the mid-late 2000s, which Ed Banger’s artists practically dominated. Parisian duo Justice , in particular, owe practically the entirety of their 2007 landmark † to the scraping tension of “Rollin’ & Scratchin’.”

It’s tempting, too, to tie a connective thread between Homework and the brash sounds that proliferated during the peak heyday of the financial descriptor-cum-music genre known as EDM; close your eyes while listening to “Alive”’s big-tent sweep and try not to imagine the tune destroying a festival crowd. But for all of Homework ’s aggressive charms, it’s also retained a homespun intimacy in comparison to how positively widescreen Daft Punk’s music became afterwards. “We focus on the illusion because giving away how it’s done instantly shuts down the sense of excitement and innocence,” Bangalter told Pitchfork in 2013, and the fact that two Beach Boys fans fiddling around in their bedroom could conceive of something so generously in-your-face and playful as Homework might still stand as Daft Punk’s greatest illusion yet.

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Daft Punk: Homework

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Homework: How Daft Punk Schooled Us In The Future Of Dance Music

Homework: How Daft Punk Schooled Us In The Future Of Dance Music

With their debut album, ‘Homework’, Daft Punk cemented their place in history, even while shaping what that history would become.

There are those who ride the waves of a scene, and there are those who create a new scene in the first place. Daft Punk have always been the latter, particularly in the formative years surrounding their debut album, Homework .

Listen to Homework here

Scrappy, raw and experimental.

Few musical acts have changed so much between albums as Daft Punk did in the four years between the release of Homework , on 20 January 1997, and its follow-up, Discovery . Reinvention is often the key to longevity in music, but it usually comes after years of exhausting the same tried and tested formula. For Daft Punk, however, their first two albums feel like the works of entirely different artists: meticulously detailed and polished, Discovery was stuffed with instant classics that aimed for the big leagues. Homework , however, represents everything that’s exciting about the best debut albums: scrappy, raw and experimental, it perfectly captured the spirit of Daft Punk’s live sets in their early years, with tracks mixing into each other perfectly, building and maintaining energy as if tooled for a club appearance.

Video footage from a live show in Wisconsin, in 1996, demonstrates this perfectly. Claiming to be the earliest evidence of Daft Punk on stage, there isn’t a mirror ball or robot mask in sight. Aesthetically, it could be any boiler-room gig – a small audience going wild as Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo rip through their set with absolute conviction. Sonically, it’s a wild ride: the beat is the only constant; everything else can be thrown in and pulled away again in an instant. Tracks like Homework ’s Rock’n Roll, with its pulsating scratch loop, brought the excitement of these shows to listeners’ stereos.

Hints of the Daft Punk to come

However, Homework isn’t just a recorded version of an early gig. Across its 75 minutes, there are plenty of hints of the Daft Punk to come, particularly with the standout hits Alive, Da Funk and Around The World. The ambition alone of these early singles was enough to change the dance music scene at the time, pushing house back into the mainstream.

Recorded on the cheap at home (a process that gave the album its title), Homework wasn’t truly intended to be an album: the singles are placed between the more experimental tracks in an attempt to form something that felt more traditionally cohesive. Even so, it’s clear there were two very difference sides to Daft Punk, even in these early stages.

Few artists could produce their debut album at home while ensuring it sounded perfect wherever it was played, but, channelling huge amounts of energy and live experience for the recording, Bangalter and De Homem-Christo already knew what would work and what wouldn’t on their limited set-up. It’s this adaptability that made Daft Punk’s journey from club act to festival headliners a smooth one. But while it’s one thing to make an album at home, it’s an entirely other thing to have it cement your place in musical history.

Here are some of the standout tracks that make Homework a lesson in the evolution of dance music…

Homework : the tracks you need to hear

Revolution 909.

There’s a drum sound so industrial it could have been recorded in a factory, landing with such a satisfying clang that it’s hard to focus on anything else. Revolution 909 sits perfectly as one of Homework ’s opening tracks, setting the energy for the rest of the album and leading flawlessly into Da Funk…

… Which is not only a highlight on Homework , it’s a highlight of Daft Punk’s entire career. When a band discovers a truly great riff, they strip down everything else and squeeze every last drop out of it. Da Funk is one of those: instant, direct, and memorable – everything you want from a house track. Also, shout-out to the music video by the masterful Spike Jonze, in which a dog with its leg in a cast gets treated with complete indifference by a load of strangers.

Nothing sums up the early Daft Punk sound quite like Phoenix. Though subtler than some of the Homework ’s later tracks, it’s fully earned its place amongst the group’s bigger hitters.

Around The World

What more is there to say that hasn’t already been said? Around The World remains a juggernaut in dance music. Every part has been tightened to perfection, making it the perfect instrumental for the duo to introduce their trademark robot voice on.

With a twitching bassline that props up an ever-growing beat, Burnin’ is surrounded by all kinds of pops, scratches, slides and squeaks. If Homework builds in intensity as a live set would, this is the peak of that experience.

One of the original singles dropped ahead of Homework’s release, Alive still sounds as huge as ever. There’s a reason they name their tours after this song…

Check out the best Daft Punk song of all time to discover how they got harder, better, faster, stronger.

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daft punk homework genius

daft punk homework genius

Few records combine sonic innovation with veneration for what came before as succinctly as Daft Punk’s 1997 debut, Homework. The title itself implies this duality: It’s a reference to both the bedroom studio where musicians Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo recorded their early house and techno productions, and a nod to the older artists the duo studied in preparation for their dance music breakthrough. Many of those musical ancestors are name-checked on the Homework track “Teachers,” on which Bangalter and Homem-Christo salute the (mostly) electronic music producers and DJs who inspired their work. That includes plenty of semi-obscure Chicago house music heroes and Detroit and UK techno champions, many of whom predated Daft Punk by a decade—but who were still active in the late-1990s rave scene. By tagging their peers, the members of Daft Punk were expressing solidarity with the many BIPOC artists whom they’d obsessed over for years. It was a declaration of belonging that could have come off as appropriation, had Homework not so fully elevated the genre. Bangalter and Homem-Christo might wear their influences on their sleeve, but their music transcends mere tribute; it’s some of the most unforgettable hook-laden house and techno ever put to wax. When it comes to the dance floor, if a record’s hot, that record is hot. And DJs across the globe pumped Homework’s 16 tracks, which included everything from playful filtered disco (“Revolution 909”) to throttling acid techno (“Rollin’ & Scratchin’”). Meanwhile, radio jocks and MTV programmers on the lookout for format-friendly versions of popular rave sounds swooned over Homework cuts like “Da Funk” and “Around the World,” which became breakout hits, thanks to inventive videos directed, respectively, by Spike Jonez and Michel Gondry. That near-impossible confluence of talent and timing allowed Homework to achieve its position atop every list of 1990s electronic music. As time went on, the members of Daft Punk would prove themselves worthy of every accolade Homework received as they continued to evolve from students to teachers to masters—elevating the state of electronic music every step of the way.

January 20, 1997 16 Songs, 1 hour, 14 minutes Distributed exclusively by Warner Music France / ADA France, ℗ 1997 Daft Life Ltd.

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The masks, the music, the magic: remembering the genius of Daft Punk

A colourful illustration of the two robots of Daft Punk

  • X (formerly Twitter)

"We had this love of creation and this respect for creativity in all its forms. Music was only one aspect of it."

When you think about it, Daft Punk were kind of an unlikely success story.

Who’d have thought that two French guys dressed up as robots, playing a retro-futuristic style of electro funk, would become one of the biggest acts in the world. But it happened.

Across four incredible albums, a handful of unforgettable tour spectaculars and amongst a whole lot of intrigue, Daft Punk became true icons of modern music.

They married the worlds of house, funk, rock, hip hop and pop in weird and wonderful ways, and their songs still get a dancefloor pumping like nothing else.

What exactly goes into creating such a unique and ground-breaking beast? Below are some insights the duo shared with us across the past quarter of a century.

Give Life Back To Music

How Daft Punk was a tribute to the history of great dance music

daft-punk-feel-it-coming-1600x917

“Usually we just don't do interviews,” Thomas Bangalter told triple j's Robbie Buck in 2006. “We really try to communicate by making music or making weird things rather than interviews. We like to play between fiction and reality.”

For all their anonymity, Daft Punk have plenty to say once you get them talking. Bangalter and co-conspirator Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo have a deep knowledge of music and of their place in the history of it. Not that they're in the habit of overstating it.

Right from the beginning of their career, people have been saying that Daft Punk's music feels like an apt summation of all the different forms of dance music that have filled nightclub floors since the 70s. But Bangalter was never too keen to take that much credit.

We're really not the right people to give a lesson about dance music or house music Thomas Bangalter - triple j, 1997

“We're not the kind of people who were there in 1987 or 88,” Bangalter told triple j's Richard Kingsmill in 1997. “We were 12 or 13 years old.

“We're really not the right people to give a lesson about dance music or house music.

"We got really into this music being around 17 or 18 which was around 1992. I don't think we represent the history of dance music or whatever.

“Of course, people might find some influences. But I don't think that's a good reason not to listen to those original tracks from ‘87.

"Or those original [late 70s] disco tracks. Our music should not sum up any other peoples'.”

But, as far as influence goes, the duo draw less from individual records and more from creating something completely unique. Daft Punk's sound is undeniably distinct, which was always their goal.

“The main influence we had in music was always about innovation and being creative,” Bangalter told Kingsmill.

“So that means we might have been influenced by people who were doing something original and innovative and saying 'That's really innovative, we should try to seek out something that could be really new'.”

They were in great company. The electronic scene of the mid-1990s was absolutely flourishing as artists taking significant risks were being rewarded with acclaim, record sales and monstrous tours and festival slots, particularly in Europe.

“That's the good thing in electronic music today,” Bangalter said. “Of course there are a lot of clichés and things that are not really moving, but at the same time you find some records and some bands that are really innovative and that's a great thing.”

Innovation was as important on the band's most recent album, 2013's Random Access Memories , as it was when they began.

“We've always tried to do something different,” Bangalter told triple j's The Doctor in 2013.

“When we released our first record Homework , it was a different proposition to what was around in pop music at the time. It felt like Discovery was something different too. We like the idea of reinventing ourselves at each step.

“Our first three records became somehow influential, it might have defined a certain sound now, but it's always been really important for us to try and bring that difference. It was important when we started and it's still important today.”

Humour was also important to the duo. While they don't try and make ‘funny' music, they don't want to be taken too seriously either.

“We are human beings like everybody,” Bangalter said. “You can have fun and we think sometimes in music [people] are taking themselves far too seriously. There was just this mood about having fun. It doesn't mean it's very funny music. It can just have a bit of a sense of humour.”

The duo's first album, 1997's Homework , was an instant smash. It has sold millions of copies and charted highly in plenty of territories around the world.

“At the time we were doing the album, we weren't really thinking of doing an album,” Bangalter told Kingsmill.

“The whole house and techno and electronic scene was really single orientated, there were not that many long play albums of dance music. So, we were always more focused on making singles.

“Then we put together some singles we had made and because of the exposure of the music we really started to think about making an album.

“We enjoy making music. We don't see an album like two or three strong tracks and the rest are fill-ins. We don't have favourite tracks on the album that we think are stronger than others. We really took the time to select and choose each track to make it a good one. To make it equal.”

We had this love of creation and this respect for creativity in all its forms. Music was only one aspect of it. Thomas Bangalter - triple j, 2006

Happy accidents are a bit of a running theme for Daft Punk.

Following the release of the duo's strange 2006 arthouse/science fiction film Daft Punk's Electroma , Thomas Bangalter told triple j's Robbie Buck that their very careers happened by chance.

“Making music on a professional level was more of an accident,” he said.

“Whereas we knew from the start that we had this love of creation and this respect for creativity in all its forms. That music was only one aspect of it.

“Meeting this kind of success with the music gave us an opportunity to create in every form and to invent this small visual universe. Collaborating with different artists and allowing us to use the music as vector for a different form of creation.”

And, much like with Homework , the duo had minimal plans to make an album when their most recent record, 2013's Random Access Memories , started to come to fruition.

“There was not really a grand plan initially,” Bangalter told The Doctor in 2013. “This record was more accidental, I think. We started to go into the studio and do some experiments. We didn't know it would be a new record.”

It turned out to be a monumental smash hit album, going to number one in countless countries the world over and selling millions of copies at a time where people really weren't buying a lot of records.

In a world where more and more human beings are sounding robotic in pop music, we like the idea of robots sounding more and more human. Thomas Bangalter - triple j, 2013

It was, once again, completely new and unique territory for Daft Punk. The record was made with a live band featuring some of the best jazz and funk players on the planet.

“We tried to team up with the best musicians in the world,” Bangalter told The Doctor in 2013.  “So they could play not only how we intended to, but ten times better, with so many different levels of nuance.”

The Frenchmen just wanted to know if they could pull it off.

“In the end, what we tried to do was somehow look at the fact that most pop music today is being created purely or mostly with computers and to see what was maybe lost in this process,” Bangalter said.

“This omnipresence of technology should not forbid the ability to make music in as many different ways as possible.

Richard Kingsmill revisits a classic Daft Punk interview from January 1998

“'Maybe we can bring something from a golden age of music back into the present right now? Is it still possible today to make pop music with great players?' Because it's not being done at all these days. It felt like we were doing something special.”

Bangalter said that they were left cold by much of the pop music they were hearing on the radio at the time and worried they'd be left cold by any new electronic music they tried to create.

“There's nothing judgmental about that,” he said. “We're not saying, 'Oh the music is not as good' we just felt, as human beings, disconnected from the kind of feelings we used to feel with the music. There's nothing logical about it, it's something purely emotional.”

The album featured a string of singles, none of them bigger than ‘Get Lucky' and ‘Lose Yourself To Dance', both featuring two of the biggest names in music production history; Pharrell Williams and Chic's Nile Rodgers.

“We liked the two songs we did with Pharrell and Nile because they really represent this idea of bridging the generations together,” Bangalter said.

“What Nile Rodgers represents for dance music and R&B in America in the 70s and 80s, and what Pharrell represents in the same genre in the 90s and 2000s, it felt really interesting to connect them together to create the music of the present and possibly the music of the future as well. Conceptually, it felt right for us.”

It felt right for them to bring the worlds of Daft Punk as robots and Daft Punk as people closer together as well.

“In the world right now where more and more human beings are sounding robotic in pop music, we like the idea of these robots sounding more and more human,” Bangalter said.

“It's the voice of Daft Punk and it's the voice of what we do, so it was natural to have this combination of the robot voices with these instruments.”

Face To Face

Daft Punk's rare and spectacular live shows

DaftPunk-NeverEverLand-Sydney-2007-1600x917

For a band so monumentally enormous, Daft Punk's touring regime is practically non-existent. They've been on just two big tours, Daftendirektour in 1997 and Alive 2006/2007 around a decade later. That's it.

The shows may have been few and far between, but those who witnessed them to this day regard their performances as some of the most spectacular live music experiences of all time.

“When the album came out the work really started; touring and promotion and playing live, which is harder than just chilling in the studio and making tracks,” Bangalter told Kingsmill in 1997. 

It's not that the band doesn't enjoy their time on the road. With the release of every new album, the band have had distinct reasons as to whether they would tour or not.

Their Daftendirektour saw the duo bring an approximation of their studio set up on stage. Bangalter explained that there were exacting standards that made the live experience a more labour intensive and cumbersome proposition, but one that allowed them to perform with both energy and freedom.

“What we've tried to do was to bring a lot of the studio equipment on stage, as well as light equipment and video projections, so that we could use it in a different way every night,” he told Kingsmill in 1997. “So that means there's nothing pre-recorded.

“In a very non-linear way, we could play the live show backwards or just jam with it and do a lot of improvisation. It would change from one night to another and that was what we enjoyed, we were bringing something different every night.

“We're not really interested in those live acts that just press play on the computer and then fake twiddling some knobs. Electronic music is quite static already so it's quite hard to make it really feel alive. That's what we were trying to do.”

Technically, it was really hard to render the right way the second album on stage. Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo - triple j, 2007

With 2001's Discovery , Daft Punk hit a whole new level of immense popularity.

Which makes it particularly odd that they didn't perform a single live show in support of its release.

“We didn't find the right way to tour with the second album, which was a really complex album,” de Homem-Christo told triple j's Robbie Buck in 2007.

“At the time, we didn't find the solution to be really happy and comfortable with the right way to perform live on stage. Technically it was really hard to render the right way the second album on stage.

“The Discovery album is really complex and really rich and really full of instruments, different parts and stuff. Coming from Homework , which was a really minimal album, Discovery was much more difficult to perform on stage.

“For example, on Homework , we brought our own studio on stage, it was a few drum machines, a few samplers, we started the show like that. Discovery was impossible to do that way on stage.”

But the rapid changes in technology meant Daft Punk could bring their entire catalogue to the live stage by 2006, following the release of their 2005 album Human After All .

“Now the technology, light-wise and music-wise, we are really more comfortable with what we can do and what we're doing now on stage,” de Homem-Christo said. 

“The biggest difference now is we can blend and mix all the tracks we did from the first, second and third albums all together. The pitch and the tone and speed of the songs all work together to have something that's really more fun and enjoyable to make. We are really comfortable with the way we can do it now.”

“It was a question of priorities I think,” Bangalter told Robbie Buck in 2006. “Also finding the right kind of technology and the right momentum to express what we wanted to do, how we wanted to express it on stage.

“The situation has really changed in the last ten years - we've found that now is really the time with the kind of music and art we are creating, that we can now have the right kind of technology and context to express ourselves.”

That Alive tour featured the robots performing inside a massive pyramid, with immense lights and visuals to match the epic soundtrack.

“It's an intense visual and audio stimulation,” Bangalter said. “Lights and colours and sounds and frequencies. It's a very physical experience with a lot of surprises. We really tried to put it as a show, with this robot personnel that we have.

“It's definitely something we never saw on stage earlier. It's something quite new for us and quite new for our audience. We've had a tremendous response so far so that makes us happy.”

“We really took the time to take care of everything with the show,” de Homem-Christo said. “We have the right people around us.

“You have to see it, it's full of different parts. We are two robots in this pyramid with a lot of different really French, state of the art light show around us. Lights that never stop. It's full of videos and full of lights and full of colours – it's nonstop as well as the music.

“It's quite an intense experience that we wanted to have. The music and the lights go together for more than an hour. It's a bit hard to explain, but I can say we did the best we could to make something really intense.”

For many Daft Punk super fans, it was worth the wait. And the band agree, even though getting through a show wearing a massive robot helmet proved to be a substantial workout.

“It's really hard up there,” de Homem-Christo said. “It's really hot, the temperature is rising fast when people are enjoying the show.”

The Alive tour made it to Australia at the end of 2007, but sadly that's where the Daft Punk live experience ended. Besides a couple of one-off appearances at the Grammy Awards, the band haven't played live since they laid waste to a sold out Sydney Showground almost ten years ago.

“The last time we played live was in Australia,” Bangalter told triple j's The Doctor in 2013. “The most recent concert we did was in December 2007. The Australian crowds were the last ones to see us live so far.

“There is no plans to play this record [ Random Access Memories ] live right now. We spent five years working on this record, releasing it is the first step. We just like to have people experience it, the record being the focal point.”

Why Daft Punk existed behind those masks

daft-punk-1600x917-1

While Daft Punk didn't adopt their famous robot personas until after the release of their first album, the duo were never interested in occupying the spotlight.

“Staying anonymous the way we decided to was a good safety net,” Bangalter told Kingsmill in 1997. “Now the album, the name and the music is very successful and we stay quite down-to-earth this way, I think.

“We're really happy about the way things have finally gone. We really like it that way. Especially now that the album has been released in 40 countries.

“It's mainly instrumental music. We stand against a lot of ideas regarding the star system and the way music is sold with a face. The way the face is sometimes more important than the music itself. We really were intending to do the opposite and maybe sell the music for the music itself.

“We really wanted to share the music with people and people that were really just into the music we were doing, not into our face.”

It is an attractive image, but also a very repulsive image. Robots are cool, but a world only populated by robots is really scary. Thomas Bangalter - triple j, 2006

Vice Media's Piers Martin was there as the robot idea was coming to fruition and this piece gives a good indication of the rationale behind the decision for such a bold image.

But, by 2006, Bangalter had some new insights into why the image was so fitting, and it wasn't just to cover their faces.

“There was always a conscious statement of the importance of technology in the art and in the creative aspect of what we were doing,” he told triple j's Robbie Buck that year.

“The robotic images are a good metaphor for this kind of integration between technology and art.

"It came out as something that was more and more important.

"At the same time, we were witnessing the ever-growing importance of technology in everybody's life. So, this robotic image was just a good metaphor for that.

“It is an attractive image, but also a very repulsive image. Robots are cool, but a world only populated by robots is really scary. So, it's both. It's really turning on and scaring us at the same time.”

The following year de Homem-Christo espoused that Daft Punk were no ordinary robots, which, in hindsight, makes Random Access Memories , released six years later, make a whole lot of sense.

“I don't know if robots have personalities, but I think maybe we are special robots that are maybe human after all,” he told Robbie Buck. “We try to be a little bit human. Maybe we've managed to put a little bit of emotion.”

A version of this article was originally published in 2017

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Can someone explain to me the 'genius' of Daft Punk

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digital art

'What The Punk' Film Traces the History of Ethereum's Iconic NFT CryptoPunks

From free mint to influencing the nft boom and impacting the art world, cryptopunks get a spotlight in "what the punk.".

A selection of CryptoPunks. Image: Larva Labs.

About the author

Jean-Christophe Camuset, a senior editor for ELLE Décor France , is a Paris-based journalist and curator with a flair for design, art, and tech.

The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily represent those of Decrypt.

Article courtesy of Club CPG (@clubcpg)

Decrypt’s Art, Fashion, and Entertainment Hub.

The story of the most iconic project in crypto-art begins in a gloomy neighborhood in Brooklyn. “The most polluted waterway in the whole country,” Matt Hall says of the surroundings that inspired his work with Larva Labs co-founder John Watkinson in the new documentary “What the Punk.”

This 80-minute tale of counterculture follows two humble Canadian programmers who started experimenting with tech and art in 2005, and are now featured in Centre Pompidou in Paris, where CryptoPunk #110—donated by current IP owner Yuga Labs—has been exhibited since 2023.

In the late 2000s, while developing mobile apps, Hall and Watkinson started working on the Pixel Character Generator, a fun feature to create unique profile pictures with overlays of basic pixelated elements. 

Then came the rise of Ethereum . As long-time sports card collectors, they sensed that the blockchain offered huge development potential that could help them create a digital equivalent to their childhood passion: a new kind of collectible.

WHAT THE PUNK! - Official Trailer (2024) With @larvalabs @pents90 @matthall2000 @ROBNESSOFFICIAL @ArtOnBlockchain @Grandenchilada @Tschuuuuly @noah0x0 @DanPolko @JasonAbbruzzese @soldthebottom @MartinDelpierre @TokenAngels @johnkarp pic.twitter.com/zD2Ej9kSgW — What the punk! (@WTP_Movie) February 21, 2024

Composed of 10,000 algorithmically generated pixel images with 87 unique attributes, CryptoPunks inspired the ERC-721 standard and gave birth to the profile picture ( PFP ) movement that later spread through Yuga’s Bored Ape Yacht Club and countless other spiritual successors.

Matt Hall and John Watkinson launched CryptoPunks in June 2017. The first week, the release went mostly unnoticed in the proto art-tech community. But a Mashable article drew attention to the free claim. In a matter of days, the whole supply was minted out.

Secondary sales gradually gained momentum, eventually yielding a number of sales in excess of $10 million worth of ETH. The hype and influx of money would help drive the emerging scene of NFTs .

“What The Punk” gathers some of the most prominent personalities who have helped propel blockchain momentum in art history: former Christie's digital art lead Noah Davis (who went on to head up CryptoPunks under Yuga), art expert Yehudit Mam from Dada , collector Dan Polko , and longtime Punk Discord moderator Tschuuuly .

Erick “Snowfro” Calderon also acknowledges how his experience as a Punk collector and active community member helped him envision Art Blocks , the successful Ethereum generative art platform.  

As a counterpoint, “What The Punk” highlights the practice of Robness , an early crypto-artist. Robness disapproved of the hype around CryptoPunks, which stole attention from the artistic aspect of the project to fuel speculative investments. So in 2021, he bought the Punk #2317 and immediately burned it as an art gesture.

Still in love with the artistic core of the project, Robness coined Punks “the Warhol of crypto art,” adding that it represented “a movement—we’re just at the beginning of it.”

Behind the film

Hooked by the story of the CryptoPunks, director Hervé Martin-Delpierre—who previously helmed “Daft Punk Unchained”—and producer Marc Lustigman spent three years uncovering the secrets behind the Punks and interviewing big names in crypto art. From artists to gallery owners, collectors to auctioneers, they’ve captured a rich tapestry of voices that reveal how this collection revolutionized the art world.

Lustigman told Decrypt that the concept for the documentary came amid the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, before the NFT craze of 2021 that supercharged Punks prices .

“A friend told me, ‘This is the future of art; you should buy some.’ At first, I thought he was joking,” Lustigman recalled. “I was only focused on the visuals. Gradually, something started to draw me in, even obsess me! Six months later, I grasped the genius behind it, and the story I uncovered was so wild that I wanted to make a film about it.”

“It was the Punks that introduced us to crypto art,” Martin-Delpierre added, noting that their use of smart contracts to enable on-chain art projects “enabled digital art to flourish. They are behind the genesis of what followed: the development of an entire artistic ecosystem.”

The filmmakers purposely avoided getting mired in the technicalities of the blockchain, instead focusing on the impact of CryptoPunks, both supporting and dissenting voices, and the growing reach of the collection within the traditional art world. Even so, there were some quirky elements to explain, such as the glitched “V1 Punks” that were abandoned and replaced, yet continue to exist on the blockchain.

“The challenge was explaining extremely complex things—like the V1 Punks—to people unfamiliar with [the crypto] world,” said Martin-Delpierre. “We sought the right narrative form to do this because these key moments help [people] better understand how art functions on the blockchain. This isn't a film about the Punks; it's about the journey of three contemporary artists.”

“From the start, we wanted to go beyond a simple success story, to delve deeper into the development of art on the blockchain,” Lustigman added. “Robness joined midway and echoed Matt and John's trajectory: artists fighting for their art to be seen and recognized. He acts as a catalyst.”

WTP ✊✨ pic.twitter.com/3wdCWqGroe — NotWarren 🤍 (@notwarrenETH) June 12, 2024

CryptoPunks launched before most poeple knew what NFTs were, then blew up and generated billions of dollars in trading volume—but have seen cooling trading momentum over the last couple years, despite the occasional huge sale that still turns heads and grabs headlines. The documentary covers the highs and lows amid that rollercoaster trajectory.

As filmmakers, they were also tasked with telling a story of a relatively niche project—aiming to both honor and satisfy that community of fans while also expanding its reach and bring that story to a much wider audience.

“As documentarians, we take a broad view and ask questions,” they said in a joint response. “We are neither pro nor anti-NFT. We simply want to provide this material to the general public—so they can form their own opinions without cultural biases. This film is a snapshot of our time: Creative, somewhat naïve people being either swallowed up or fighting against overwhelming forces.”

“What the Punk” was released internationally on June 11 on VIMEO OTT for a limited 3-month period and on ARTE in France and Germany. The European Premiere was held on June 11 during Art Basel 2024, as part of Digital Art Mile, a new digital art fair format in Basel.

Edited by Andrew Hayward

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COMMENTS

  1. Daft Punk

    Funk Ad Lyrics. If you wanted Daft Punk, but something original, lets go back to the beginning. In '97, Britpop (a fusion of British music and pop music) dominated the world. Basically, one year ...

  2. Homework (25th Anniversary Edition) by Daft Punk

    About "Homework (25th Anniversary Edition)". "Homework (25th Anniversary Edition)" celebrates the twenty-fifth birthday of Daft Punk's first studio album. This special edition of ...

  3. Daft Punk Lyrics, Songs, and Albums

    On 22 February 2021, Daft Punk announced their retirement through a video titled "Epilogue," featuring footage from their 2004 film Electroma and the orchestral version of "Touch".

  4. Homework (Daft Punk album)

    Homework is the debut studio album by the French electronic music duo Daft Punk, released on 20 January 1997 by Virgin Records and Soma Quality Recordings.It was later released in the United States on 25 March 1997. As the duo's first project on a major label, they produced the album's tracks without plans to release them, but after initially considering releasing them as separate singles ...

  5. Daft Punk

    Get all the lyrics to songs on Homework / Discovery / Alive 1997 and join the Genius community of music scholars to learn the meaning behind the lyrics.

  6. Daft Punk

    The second studio album from French electro-house duo Daft Punk. This album spawned two of Daft Punk's best known songs: "One More Time" and "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger," the

  7. Daft Punk

    Album Credits. Producers Daft Punk, DJ Sneak, Ian Pooley & 7 more. Writers Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo & Thomas Bangalter. Distributed By Warner Music France. Engineered And Mixed By Steven Barkan ...

  8. What is the most popular song on Homework by Daft Punk?

    The most popular song on Homework by Daft Punk is "Around the World" with a total of 188.3K page views. ... Genius is the world's biggest collection of song lyrics and musical knowledge.

  9. Daft Punk: Homework Album Review

    Daft Punk's Homework is, in its pure existence, a study in contradictions. The debut album from Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo arrived in 1997, right around the proliferation ...

  10. Rediscover Daft Punk's Debut Album 'Homework' (1997)

    At its core throbs a perpetual propulsion—the boundless verve of fervent youth. With their 1997 debut Homework, a then-unknown French duo managed the unimaginable. At the far end of a decade bustling with blips, glitches, and other electronic etches, Daft Punk divined a head trip of unfettered vision—delectable to raver kids and living-room ...

  11. Homework: How Daft Punk Schooled Us In The Future Of Dance Music

    Hints of the Daft Punk to come. However, Homework isn't just a recorded version of an early gig. Across its 75 minutes, there are plenty of hints of the Daft Punk to come, particularly with the standout hits Alive, Da Funk and Around The World. The ambition alone of these early singles was enough to change the dance music scene at the time ...

  12. Homework

    See Full Discography. Homework (1997) Discovery (2001) Alive 1997 (2001) Human After All (2005) Alive 2007 (2007) Tron: Legacy [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] (2010) Random Access Memories (2013)

  13. Daft Punk

    Released on the 22nd of February, 2022. Length: 3:02:21.

  14. Daft Punk

    Homework. CD, Album. Virgin - 7243 8 42609 2 7, Virgin - CDV 2821. Brazil. 1997. Brazil — 1997. Homework. CD, Album, Stereo, EMI Italiana Pressing. Virgin - CDV 2821, Virgin - 7243 8 42609 27, Soma Quality Recordings - CDV 2821, Soma Quality Recordings - 7243 8 42609 27.

  15. ‎Homework by Daft Punk on Apple Music

    Daft Punk once described 1997's Homework as their attempt to prove you could make an album in your bedroom with next to nothing. It sounded, on the face of it, like club music, but it also captured the immediacy of two friends (Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo) bouncing off the walls to whatever felt good to them.

  16. Daft Punk

    Listen to Homework by Daft Punk on Deezer. Daftendirekt, WDPK 83.7 FM, Revolution 909... Daft Punk. 1997 | Daft Life Ltd./ADA France Homework Daft Punk | 17-01-1997 Total duration: 1 h 13 min. 01. Daftendirekt . Daft Punk. Homework. 02:44 Writer: Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo - Thomas Bangalter. 02. WDPK 83.7 FM ...

  17. ‎Homework

    Few records combine sonic innovation with veneration for what came before as succinctly as Daft Punk's 1997 debut, Homework. The title itself implies this duality: It's a reference to both the bedroom studio where musicians Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo recorded their early house and techno productions, and a nod to the older artists the duo studied in preparation for ...

  18. Homework (Remixes)

    Homework (Remixes) is a remix album by Daft Punk released by Warner Music France on 22 February 2022. The release coincided with the 25th anniversary of Daft Punk's album Homework.It comprises remixes of tracks from Homework by artists including DJ Sneak, Masters at Work, Todd Terry, Motorbass, Slam and Ian Pooley.As a standalone album, it peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic ...

  19. The masks, the music, the magic: remembering the genius of Daft Punk

    Music was only one aspect of it. Thomas Bangalter - triple j, 2006. Happy accidents are a bit of a running theme for Daft Punk. Following the release of the duo's strange 2006 arthouse/science ...

  20. Can someone explain to me the 'genius' of Daft Punk : r/Music

    Homework and Discovery were probably two of the most influential records in house music, and electronic music in general. Random Access Memories is considered so good because they've managed to write music that has a retro sound, but still has a sound all its own. Daft Punk is to house music what The Beatles are to rock and roll.

  21. Daft Punk

    Gatefold sleeve with embossed 'Daft Punk' logo on front. Includes colour printed inner sleeves. This 2021 repress most notably has MPZ in the runout on side A (only) instead of Gopher-TR like other sides and previous pressings. "MPO 21 xxxxx" stamped in runout indicates this is a 2021 pressing - see Homework for the otherwise identical edition ...

  22. 'What The Punk' Film Traces the History of Ethereum's Iconic NFT

    "What The Punk" gathers some of the most prominent personalities who have helped propel blockchain momentum in art history: former Christie's digital art lead Noah Davis (who went on to head up CryptoPunks under Yuga), art expert Yehudit Mam from Dada, collector Dan Polko, and longtime Punk Discord moderator Tschuuuly.. Erick "Snowfro" Calderon also acknowledges how his experience as a ...

  23. Piece by Piece (2024)

    Piece by Piece: Directed by Morgan Neville. With Pharrell Williams, Morgan Neville, Kendrick Lamar, Gwen Stefani. A vibrant journey through the life of cultural icon Pharrell Williams, told through the lens of LEGO® animation.