On Feb. 22, the electronic duo Daft Punk announced their breakup. They released a video on their YouTube channel titled “Epilogue” featuring a scene from their film “Electroma.” In the video, artwork by Warren Fu displays the timeline of “1993 to 2021.”
The news was surprising, considering their last studio album release was “Random Access Memories” in 2013.
They are known for large spans between album release cycles but after 28 years, this announcement seems final as publicist, Kathryn Frazier, officially confirmed the group’s breakup.
Daft Punk was comprised of French musicians Guy-Manuel de Homem Christo and Thomas Bangalter.
They were initially part of a French rock band called Darlin’, a group that received a negative review in the magazine Melody Maker which called them “a daft punky thrash.”
The two musicians grew an interest in electronic music and inspired by the negative review of their previous group, they took on the name Daft Punk.
Their first successful single was “Da Funk”” recorded in 1993 and the track later appeared on their debut album “Homework” in 1997. This initial record is where they began to define their sound with repetitive dance grooves and extensive use of synthesizers. “Homework” also contained the hit single “Around the World,” which helped to secure their place in the spotlight with its catchy hook and dance infused beat.
By 2000, the duo had reinvented their image with robot personas and donned their iconic masks. Bangalter described their transition as “an accident in our studio. We were working on our sampler, and exactly at 9:09 a.m. on September 9, 1999, it exploded. When we regained consciousness, we discovered that we had become robots.”
In 2001, with their new look established, they released their second studio album “Discovery.” According to Bangalter, the album focused on the duo’s “childhood and the memories of the state we were in at that stage of our lives. It’s about our personal relationship to that time.”
Alongside this conceptual direction for the album, the duo introduced live instrumentation into the mix and produced a more accessible synth-pop focused sound. The fusion proved successful for the group with the album’s hit singles “One More Time” and “Face to Face.”
In March 2005, after only 6 weeks of recording, Daft Punk delivered their next album “Human After All.” This record was controversial and a departure from their typical style since its sound was more rock-oriented.
The album received mixed critical reviews and Entertainment Weekly described it as “overly repetitive.”
Despite the critical reception, the album still delivered singles “Robot Rock,” “Technologic” and its title track “Human After All.”
Although the group worked on the soundtrack to Disney’s “Tron: Legacy,” the duo did not release another studio album until 2013’s “Random Access Memories.”
The record was a return to form for the group and has since become their swan song. For this album, the duo wanted to avoid samples and implement live instrumentation with features.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Bangalter explained that they “wanted to do what we used to do with machines and samples…but with people.”
This feat that was accomplished with the exception of a sample on the closing track “Contact.”
On “Random Access Memories,” Daft Punk worked with the talents of artists Giorgio Moroder, Julian Casablancas, Pandabear, Paul Williams, Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers and Todd Edwards.
The album’s lead single “Get Lucky” reached number one in the UK and at the time became Spotify’s most streamed new song.
In 2014, the group won four awards for “Random Access Memories” at the Annual Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year.
Aside from their discography, Daft Punk collaborated with a few other artists. They worked with Kanye West on four tracks from his album “Yeezus.” They also appeared on The Weeknd’s “Starboy” and featured on the tracks “Starboy” and “I Feel It Coming.”
Although they have announced their split, they leave behind a strong discography and legacy spanning over two decades with various accolades and a loyal fanbase.