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Interview with Daft Punk

by Dave "the Wave" Dresden


Daft Punk
Jason Merritt/Getty Images Entertainment
In the past, it has been really difficult to speak much about the French music scene. I mean really, when was the last time anyone talked about a French artist of any genre? Save for M.C. Solaar, I couldn't think of anyone who resides in France and makes music from the last ten years. At least that was the case. Now with the dance scene on the rise there, France has been exporting some great stuff. Artists such as Micronauts, Dimiri From Paris, Air and Laurent Garnier have been concocting neat beats which show remarkable artistry. Of course on the top of that artist neuveux list is the French duo of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, better known as Daft Punk. Unlike thier name, Daft Punk make dance music -- amazing dance music. Dance music with heavy, filtered drum tracks, basslines so tight it sounds like Bootsy Collins was in the studio with them, and they can even play live -- it all adds up to dance music which is going to change the face of how people in America perceive dance music. Out for the balance of the last two years, their mantra, "Da Funk" has recently started making the rounds here in America as a double a-sided single with last year's rare-as-dinosaur-bones house track "Musique." As a staple tune in the Chemical Brothers' DJ sets, "Da Funk," a109 bpm disco-meets-acid track has also reached maximum denisity for those who managed to get a copy of the Soma import. Basically speaking, it's a rather large track, Watson.

I already hear your mumbling. Ôhow can this be dance music if their name is Daft Punk?' Thing is, the two were actually once in a punk rock band called Darlin. Around 1991, they hooked up with the English band Stereolab, and recorded a track called "Cindy So Loud" for a double 7" compilation Stereolab were working on. "It really wasn't that good"proclaims Bangalter on their submission, whose father has co-produced and or written many disco classics, including the Gibson Brothers' "Cuba"and Ottawan's cheesy Club Med anthems "Hands Up" and "D.I.S.C.O." So when it was released we got this write-up in the British music magazine Melody Maker calling our music 'daft punk'. Now, the word "daft"is British slang for something that is "silly or stupid"and one would think that would have stunted their growth as musicians, but it didn't, although they did put thier guitars down. What they did do is began to buy analog equipment and hit Thomas' bedroom studio to make some dance tracks, something which was quite rare in their homeland. When it came time to name thier bedroom studio concoction, they opted to use the review's description of their former band, and since it was done at home they titled it Homework. Who says good can't come out of bad? Three years and a bidding war later Daft Punk have finally forged Homework (Virgin Records) on the electronic dance world, and trust us, it's groundbreaking stuff to say the least.

DMA recently caught up with Thomas (age 21) and Guy-Manuel (age 20) atWinter Music Conference in their hotel room over some good ol' American Kentucky Friend Chicken to speak about France, their music, their lives and all the girls who love them. It was also on the eve of the U.S. release of their album.

DMA: So, your album comes out in stores tomorrow here in America...excited?
Thomas: I think we are, yeah. We are not quite sure how it will turn out, but...being from France, it's really exciting for us because not much music comes out of France that is embraced in other countries
. DMA: And then to be a dance group from France has to make you even more proud of your achievement.
Thomas: I don't think that it's good to consider anything you've done to be an accomplishment. It's just that we've been doing this music for a while now and now it is easier for people to obtain [the music].

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