“They let the robots do their dirty work for them.” That is a paraphrased quote that I heard while watching a documentary on the very well-known electronic duo, Daft Punk, called Daft Punk: Unchained. This quote stuck out to me and it was only in the first 5-10 minutes of the film. It set the tone in which I would, from then on, view Daft Punk.
I have always been a steady fan of the group, listening to them every now and again. I am not really a big fan of house, EDM, or other electronic music other than Phantogram, which have their own very unique music and style. Even though it is fun to dance to and listen to at parties, etc, I never found myself actually immersed in the genre. It did not grab me like others did, it became repetitive after a while. That changed when I started listening to Daft Punk to which I was a late bloomer. Their music grabbed me unlike most other electronic music. The more I listened to it, the more I realized how much care, precision, and skill went into this music. You can actually hear it. You can tell that, apart from the other music they sample, there was plenty of music that they mixed and produced themselves and actually performed on as well. DJs using instruments!? Who knew?!
After watching this documentary, I walked away with a whole new respect for Daft Punk, who are Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter of France. They began as members of an indie-rock band in France who had a talent for DJing and mixing and decided to call themselves Daft Punk based on a negative review of their prior band. Many interviewees explained that people started to listen to these guys a lot and very quickly because of their unique sound and the clear skill and talent they possessed. The turning point was after their first record came out and they started to gain fame and momentum. Thomas Bangalter was really interested in the millennium blackout theory and they decided that they would go into the studio as humans and come out as robots once the new year hit. They never went out in the public eye as their human selves again. The “robots” were their new personas.
This is what really struck me and got me thinking about that quote I heard above in the beginning of the documentary: “They send the robots to do their dirty work.” I got the feeling that they cared so much for their music that they did not want their personal lives, looks, and human selves to hinder the perception of their music whatsoever. It is all about the music to them. They use the robots to do all their “dirty work” such as award shows, live concerts, photo shoots, and other appearances. I do not think that is what matters to them. Yes, it was great when Random Access Memories won multiple Grammys including album and record of the year, but it is not what is most important. These days it seems there is less and less of and importance on the music and that is with any genre. In the last couple years I have focused more and more on less popular bands and music because of this. Apart from that, Daft Punk play live very rarely and have long gaps between records. They seem to be perfectionists which is a breath of fresh air considering it seems today the music business is a wasteland, week after week of generic top 10 iTunes pop songs and of people taking advantage of technology and using it in a way to release music more and more frequently to make more money, faster.
The “robots” of Daft Punk have been able to make themselves a household name these days but do it without compromising or corrupting the music they make which seems to get better and more interesting with every album. They don’t have to worry about their age getting in the way. Robots can live forever.
By the way, do yourself a favor….sit back….and listen to Random Access Memories.
Photo by: http://consequenceofsound.net/2013/08/what-does-daft-punk-listen-to-heres-your-answer/