Daft Punk

Daft Punk: Legacy 1993-2021

On Feb. 23, French EDM duo Daft Punk announced their split on all social media platforms after seven years of no new releases. They revealed an eight-minute long video titled “Epilogue,” which included a clip of their 2006 sci-fi film Electroma. 

In the video, both characters are seen walking together in a desert alone. With no dialogue, the two come face-to-face, as the one with the silver helmet takes off his Daft Punk jacket, revealing a button. Once pressed, he walks away and self-destructs into pieces. The screen fades to black as the song “Touch” begins to play. The lyrics, “If love is the answer, you’re home” are heard as both silver and gold hands touch, with 1993 to 2021 shown on the bottom of the screen.

With the video up to interpretation, thousands of fans flooded to the internet to speculate if they were officially done with music altogether or if they were going their separate ways entirely. According to The New York Times, their publicist Kathryn Frazier confirmed their breakup and that there were no further comments at the moment.

Other commenters were content with how they announced their farewell, calling it a “classy way to announce their departure,” as Reddit user AHSWeeknd posted. However, for many, it came as a surprise, as they hadn’t done much in seven years. Reddit user Stelladesanta stated, “I thought this was a new album trailer when I pressed play? Now my heart is broken, and my day is ruined.”

Thomas Bangalter, usually wearing his iconic silver helmet, and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, in his matching gold helmet, were to be considered huge pioneers to the Electronic and Dance community. With their robotic look and sound, they brought something different and fresh to the table that many hadn’t heard or seen before.

Their 1997 debut album, Homework, gave the world classic songs such as “Around the World” and “Da Funk.” In October 2011, NME placed “Around the World” number 21 on their list of “150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years.”

With their follow up album, Discovery, they hit mainstream success with “One More Time” and “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” According to Cartoon Network’s Twitter account, Daft Punk aired their animated music videos for both of those songs and “Digital Love” on their channel in 2001.

EDM artist and producer Dillon Francis remembers watching those music videos and how it influenced his career to this day. He posted on Twitter, “I found their music on Cartoon Network when I was 12 becuz [sic] they played the Harder Better Faster Stronger music vid. Fell in Love w [sic] them saw them live at their first Coachella performance. Thank you for all their music and inspiration.”

Not only did they inspire other artists to sample their music, such as Kanye West, Janet Jackson and Jazmine Sullivan, but they also transcended into pop culture media. Their signature helmets were featured in an episode of the reboot of The Powerpuff Girls in 2016, and they were parodied in Family Guy in 2018. They even went on to write and produce films as side projects and worked on the soundtrack to Tron: Legacy.

Twenty years into their career, Daft Punk blew up once more with their newest, and what is now their last album, Random Access Memories. Their lead single, “Get Lucky” feat. Pharell Williams, went top ten in 32 countries and went multi-platinum in more than 10 countries, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

In a very rare interview with The New York Times, Bangalter said that with this album they wanted to make “every song from scratch, creating a sonic world from the ground up.”

He continued, “In some ways it’s like we’re running on a highway going the opposite direction to everybody else…Computers were never designed in the first place to become musical instruments.” 

That same year, they co-produced tracks with Kanye West on his album Yeezus, such as “On Site,” “Black Skinhead,” and “I am a God.” Daft Punk also collaborated with The Weeknd on his hit songs “Star Boy” and “I Feel It Coming.”

The Weeknd quickly went to Instagram to praise the duo after their announcement. He posted a series of pictures to honor the time spent with the producers. He also included an interview where he spoke about how Daft Punk inspired him early on in his career. When The Weeknd’s first couple of songs were released, no one knew what he looked like.

“It was because of Daft Punk and other artists that like to be…mysterious,” he said. “So being able to work with them, it felt like a bucket list. So, I really wanted to fight for that. And we got into the studio.” He continued to mention that they created both of their songs in two to three days.

Several others took to social media to pay their respects to Daft Punk and their influence on pop culture. DJ Porter Robinson tweeted, “I know this is kind of specific, but when I was about seven years old, I heard “Around the World” and it was the first song I ever heard on repeat. I did this by burning a CD with the same song on it 12 times. Bye Daft Punk, love you”.

The official Lego Twitter account posted a picture of the signature helmet heads in Lego form and stated, “Thank you for inspiring generations with your creativity. Farewell robots.” The official Xbox account also said, “Not all heroes wear helmets but some of our favorites do. Thanks, Daft Punk.”

According to Billboard, Daft Punk racked up six Grammy awards since their first nomination in 1998. Their last performance was with The Weeknd at the 2017 Grammy awards, where they performed “I Feel It Coming.”

SCREENSHOT TAKEN by Alex Dyer from Daft Punk on YouTube