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  • Years Active

    1993 – 2021 (28 years)

  • Founded In

    Paris, Île-de-France, France

  • Members

    • Guy‐Manuel de Homem‐Christo (1993 – 2021)
    • Thomas Bangalter (1993 – 2021)

Daft Punk was a multi Grammy Award-winning music duo formed in 1993 in Paris, France, and separated in early 2021, consisting of French musicians Thomas Bangalter (born 3 January 1975) and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo (born 8 February 1974). The band is considered one of the most successful electronic music collaborations of all time, both in album sales and in critical acclaim.

Daft Punk reached significant popularity in the late movement in France, along with other artists such as Air, Cassius, and Dimitri From Paris. Daft Punk are credited with producing songs that were considered essential in the French house scene. They were managed from 1996 to 2008 by Pedro Winter (Busy P), the head of Ed Banger Records.

The group released four studio albums: Homework (1997), Discovery (2001), Human After All (2005), and Random Access Memories (2013). They also released the soundtrack album TRON: Legacy (2010); the live albums Alive 1997 (2002), Alive 2007 (2007); the compilation Musique Vol. 1 1993–2005 (2006); the remix albums Daft Club (2003), Human After All: Remixes (2006), TRON: Legacy Reconfigured (2011).

Early years (1987–1993)

Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo met in 1987 on the grounds of the Lycée Carnot, a secondary school in Paris. The two became good friends and later recorded demo tracks with others from the school. This eventually led to the formation of the guitar-based group Darlin' with Laurent Brancowitz in 1992. Bangalter and de Homem-Christo played bass and guitar, respectively, while Brancowitz performed on drums. The trio had branded themselves after The Beach Boys song of the same name, which they covered along with an original composition.

Stereolab released both tracks on a multi-artist Duophonic Records EP and invited the band to open for stage shows in the United Kingdom. Bangalter felt that "The rock n' roll thing we did was pretty average, I think. It was so brief, maybe six months, four songs and two gigs and that was it." A negative review in Melody Maker subsequently dubbed the music "a bunch of daft punk." Instead of dismissing the review, Bangalter and de Homem-Christo found it to be amusing. As the latter stated, "We struggled so long to find Darlin', and this happened so quickly." Darlin' soon disbanded, leaving Brancowitz to pursue other efforts with Phoenix. Bangalter and de Homem-Christo formed Daft Punk and experimented with drum machines and synthesizers.

Homework era (1993–1999)

In 1993 Daft Punk attended a rave at EuroDisney, where they met Stuart Macmillan of Slam, co-founder of the label Soma Quality Recordings. The demo tape given to Macmillan at the rave formed the basis for Daft Punk's debut single, "The New Wave", a limited release in 1994. The single also contained the final mix of "The New Wave" called "Alive".

Daft Punk returned to the studio in May 1995 to record "Da Funk". It became their first commercially successful single the same year. After the success of "Da Funk", Daft Punk looked to find a manager. They had no trouble finding one at the time as they chose Pedro Winter, who regularly promoted them and other artists at his Hype night clubs. The band signed with Virgin Records in September 1996 and made a deal through which they licensed their tracks to the major label through their production company, Daft Trax.

"Da Funk" and "Alive" were later included on Daft Punk's 1997 debut album Homework. The album was regarded as an innovative synthesis of , , and styles, and is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential music albums of the nineties. "Da Funk" was also included on The Saint film soundtrack. It was during this period of change in dance music that Daft Punk became largely successful. They combined the aforementioned music styles and elements of rave that were crowd pleasers. The most successful single from Homework was "Around the World", which is known for the repeating chant of the song's title.

Daft Punk also produced a series of music videos for Homework directed by Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, Roman Coppola and Seb Janiak. The collection of videos was released in 1999 and titled D.A.F.T. - A Story about Dogs, Androids, Firemen and Tomatoes.

In the mid-to-late nineties, Daft Punk performed live without costumes in many places including the United States. In particular, a rare bootlegged video featuring the duo in Wisconsin matches the verified identity of Thomas Bangalter. Less clearly seen, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo is to Bangalter's right and is mostly cut off from the camera. Comparing the artwork packaging of Homework to the video footage, one can verify that the album's liner note photo was taken during this event.

In the fall of 1997 they did their Daftendirektour to promote Homework in several cities throughout the world. For this tour Daft Punk opted to utilize their home studio equipment for the live stage instead of creating a more conventional DJ set. As Bangalter stated, "Everything was synched up — the drum machines, the bass lines. The sequencer was just sending out the tempos and controlling the beats and bars. On top of this structure we built all these layers of samples and various parts that we could bring in whenever we wanted to." 25 May 1997 saw them perform at the Tribal Gathering festival at Luton Hoo, England, headlining with Orbital and Kraftwerk. Also of note is the November 8 performance in Birmingham, UK, from which came the recording of Alive 1997.

Discovery era (1999–2004)

By 1999 the duo were well into the recording sessions for their second album, which had begun a year earlier. 2001's Discovery took on a slicker and distinctly -oriented style, initially stunning fans of Daft Punk's previous material in Homework. The group states that the album was conceived as an attempt to reconnect with a playful, open-minded attitude associated with the discovery phase of childhood. This accounts for the heavy use of themes and samples from the late ' to early ' era on the album.

It reached #2 in the United Kingdom, and its single "One More Time" was a major club hit, creating a new generation of fans mainly familiar with the second Daft Punk release. The singles "Digital Love" and "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" were also very successful in the UK and on the United States dance chart, and "Face to Face" hit #1 on the USA club play charts despite a limited single release. A 45-minute excerpt from a Daftendirektour performance recorded at Birmingham, UK in 1997 was also released in 2001, entitled Alive 1997.

2003 first saw the release of the feature-length animated film Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem. Daft Punk produced the film under the supervision of Leiji Matsumoto, whom they have said is their childhood hero. The album Daft Club was also released to promote the film. It features a collection of remixes previously made available through an online membership service of the same name.

Human After All era (2004–2006)

Starting on September 13 and ending November 9, 2004, Daft Punk devoted six weeks to creating new material. The duo released the album Human After All in March 2005. Reviews were mixed, mostly citing its overly repetitive nature and seemingly rushed recording. The singles taken from this album were "Robot Rock", "Technologic", "Human After All" and "The Prime Time of Your Life". The earliest official statement from Daft Punk concerning the album was "we believe that Human After All speaks for itself."

A Daft Punk anthology CD/DVD entitled Musique Vol. 1 1993-2005 was released on 4 April 2006. It contains new music videos for "The Prime Time of Your Life" and "Robot Rock (Maximum Overdrive)". Daft Punk also released a remix album of Human After All called Human After All: Remixes. A limited edition included two kubricks of Daft Punk as robots.

On 21 May 2006, Daft Punk premiered their first directed film, Daft Punk's Electroma at the Cannes Film Festival sidebar Director's Fortnight. The film does not include their own music, which is a first for the duo considering their previous DVD and film releases (D.A.F.T. for Homework and Interstella 5555 for Discovery). Midnight screenings of the film were shown in Paris theaters starting from the end of March 2007.

Daft Punk released their second live album titled Alive 2007 on 19 November 2007. It contains the duo's performance in Paris from their Alive 2007 tour. The album includes a 50-page book showcasing photographs shot while on tour. The live version of "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" from Alive 2007 was released as a single. A music video for the single directed by Olivier Gondry features footage shot by 250 audience members at Daft Punk's Brooklyn appearance at KeySpan Park, Coney Island. In 2007 Daft Punk also debuted in a worldwide official poll of DJ Magazine in position 71.

Following the Alive 2007 tour, Daft Punk focused on other projects. A 2008 interview with Pedro Winter revealed that the duo returned to their Paris studio to work on new material. Winter also stepped down from managing Daft Punk to focus attention on his Ed Banger Records label and his work as Busy P. He stated in a later interview that the duo are working with an unspecified management company in Los Angeles.

Alive 2007 era (2006-2008)

At the start of 2006, Daft Punk announced plans for a number of special summer shows. On 29 April Daft Punk performed at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival where they received a jubilant reception for their first U.S. performance since 1997. Thomas Bangalter had initially been reported as saying that there would be a DVD of their recent live set. He later emphasized his reluctance for such a release, as the duo felt that online amateur videos of their performances were more compelling than anything captured professionally. In an interview with the Miami Herald Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo stated that their November 11 appearance at the Bang Music Festival was their final for 2006 and that Daft Punk would conduct more performances in the future. The band later specified a date for a live show at Bercy, Paris for June 2007. Also reported were dates at the Rock Ness Festival and Wireless Festival in June, the Oxegen festival in July and Lollapalooza in August. Daft Punk then announced a world tour called Alive 2007.

Daft Punk played at the Rock Ness Festival by the banks of Loch Ness, Scotland on 10 June 2007 as the headline act in the 10,000 capacity Clash tent. To the crowds displeasure, the show was delayed, but the crowd gave the duo a jubilant welcome when they appeared. Due to popularity, part of the tent was removed to allow thousands of people outside to see the show. On 16 June 2007 Daft Punk successfully headlined the third day of the O2 Wireless Festival to positive reaction and reviews. The Times described the set as a "memorable sensory spectacle, both dazzling and deafening" and ThisisLondon declared it "an almost faultless set of relentless electro euphoria".

Daft Punk headlined Stage 2/NME Stage at the Oxegen music festival on 8 July 2007. Their live set was preceded by a showing of the trailer for the film Daft Punk's Electroma. Subsequent reports stated that the Daft Punk appearance was the highlight of the festival. NME expressed that the performance was "a robotic spectacular", while Shoutmouth described the set as "typically triumphant". Four days later, the duo played at Traffic Torino Free Festival in Parco della Pellerina in Turin, Italy.

Daft Punk headlined the AT&T stage on 3 August 2007, the first night of the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago. Their show there was praised by Pitchfork Media stating that the experience of watching the performance "was a much-needed reminder of the still-potent power of communicative ." On August 9 they performed at KeySpan Park in Brooklyn, New York.

Daft Punk composed the music for the Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2008 Womenswear Full Show on 7 October 2007. The duo also headlined the Vegoose festival in Las Vegas on 27 October. They appeared at the festival along with bands Rage Against the Machine, Muse and Queens of the Stone Age. At the end of the month, Daft Punk performed in Mexico City. The duo also performed on Friday November 2, 2007 at the Arena Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico.

Modular announced that Daft Punk would appear in Australia for an event in December 2007 called Never Ever Land. The announcement addressed years of speculation on whether Daft Punk would visit Australia for live performances. Never Ever Land included Australian acts The Presets, Cut Copy, Muscles, Van She and the Bang Gang Deejays. Daft Punk were supported by their regular acts SebastiAn and Kavinsky at the appearances, which had been announced as an extension to the Alive 2007 tour. Never Ever Land toured to Melbourne at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Perth at the Esplanade, Brisbane at the Riverstage and finally Sydney at the Sydney Showground Main Arena. A Triple J interview with Pedro Winter (Busy P) revealed that Daft Punk's Sydney appearance on December 22 would be their final show for 2007 and the last to feature the pyramid light scheme. Tickets for the Australian tour sold more quickly than for any Daft Punk-related event in their history. The duo stated in an EMI-sponsored live webchat that there will be no tour performances for 2008, and that they would instead focus on new projects.

Daft Punk made a surprise appearance at the 50th Grammy Awards on February 10, 2008. The duo appeared with Kanye West to perform a reworked version of "Stronger" on stage at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. For the appearance, Daft Punk utilized four JazzMutant Lemur controllers. A press release specified that this was the first televised live performance by the duo in their career. Bangalter's wife, Élodie Bouchez, also attended the event.

Following the Alive 2007 tour, Daft Punk focused on other projects. A 2008 interview with Pedro Winter revealed that the duo returned to their Paris studio to work on new material. Winter also stepped down from managing Daft Punk to focus attention on his Ed Banger Records label and his work as Busy P. He stated in a later interview that the duo are working with an unspecified management company in Los Angeles. In 2008, Daft Punk placed 38th in a worldwide official poll of DJ Magazine after debuting at position 71 in the year before. On 8 February 2009, Daft Punk won Grammy Awards for Alive 2007 and its single "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger".

Daft Punk provided eleven new mixes featuring their music for the video game DJ Hero. They also appear in the game as playable characters, along with their own venue. The duo appear wearing their Discovery-era helmets and Human After All-era leather attire. Daft Punk's playable likenesses are absent from the sequel DJ Hero 2, which includes a remixed version of their song "Human After All".

TRON: Legacy era (2009 - 2011)

At the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con, it was announced that the duo composed 24 tracks for the film Tron: Legacy. Daft Punk's score was arranged and orchestrated by Joseph Trapanese. The band collaborated with him for two years on the score, from pre-production to completion. The score features an 85-piece orchestra, recorded at AIR Lyndhurst Studios in London. Joseph Kosinski, director of the film, referred to the score as being a mixture of orchestral and electronic elements.

Daft Punk also make a cameo appearance as disc jockey programs wearing their trademark robot masks within the film's virtual world. Tron: Legacy co-star Olivia Wilde stated that the duo may be involved with future promotional events related to the film. A teaser trailer features Daft Punk and their track "Derezzed" from Tron: Legacy. The soundtrack album of the film was released on 6 December 2010 (see TRON: Legacy - The Complete Edition (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)). A deluxe 2-disc edition of the album was also released that includes a poster of the duo from the film. Additional bonus tracks are also available through various online vendors. An official music video for "Derezzed", with a running time of less than two minutes, also premiered on the MTV Networks on the same day the album was released. The video, which features Olivia Wilde as Quorra in specially shot footage, along with images of Daft Punk in Flynn's Arcade, was later made available for purchase from the iTunes Store and included in the DVD and Blu-ray releases of the film. Walt Disney Records released a remix album of the score titled Tron: Legacy Reconfigured on 5 April 2011.

In October 2012, Daft Punk provided a fifteen-minute mix of songs by blues musician Junior Kimbrough for Hedi Slimane's Yves Saint Laurent fashion show. The duo also placed 44th in DJ Magazine's annual Top 100 DJs list.

Random Access Memories era (2012 - 2015)

Daft Punk had been working on their upcoming fourth studio album in collaboration with singer-songwriter Paul Williams and Chic frontman Nile Rodgers. Williams mentioned the collaboration in two separate interviews, and that the project has been in production since 2010. During an interview with Rodgers, he stated that he would meet with Daft Punk to discuss the duo's upcoming album. Rodgers later said that he and Daft Punk had an informal jam session when they met, and that a formal collaboration would be undertaken. Although Williams stated that Daft Punk's new album could be released as early as June 2012, it was later confirmed that this would not be the case.

In May 2012 it was announced that Giorgio Moroder had collaborated with the duo, recording a monologue about his life in a vocal booth containing microphones ranging from the 1960s to present day. When asked, the engineer responded that each mic was used to represent the different decades of Moroder's life in his monologue. Rodgers was also present during the recording session. Chilly Gonzales stated in an interview that he had performed material for the duo's project in a one-day session: "I played for hours and they’re gonna grab what they grab and turn it into whatever." He also said that the album would be released "next spring".

In an interview conducted on 28 November 2012 with Fourplay member Nathan East, he said to have collaborated with the duo on the project. In this interview, it is also implied that the album will be available in CD format. On 4 January 2013, Nile Rodgers talked about his number of collaborations to be released in 2013 on his blog, and also stated "The next time foot in Japan, collaboration with Daft Punk would have started to hit people's eardrums".

Starboy era (2016-2020)

Daft Punk made notable appearances in 2016, featuring on two singles, "Starboy (feat. Daft Punk)" and "I Feel It Coming (feat. Daft Punk)," by Canadian R&B artist The Weeknd. "Starboy" achieved the remarkable feat of topping the Billboard Hot 100, marking Daft Punk's sole number-one hit in the United States. Meanwhile, "I Feel It Coming" reached the respectable position of number four on the same chart.

In 2017, Soma Records unveiled a previously unreleased remix of Daft Punk's track "Drive" as part of a compilation featuring various artists. The same year, Daft Punk opened a pop-up shop in Hollywood, California, displaying memorabilia, artwork, and their iconic costumes. Additionally, the duo performed alongside the Weeknd at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards in February 2017.

Following their collaborations on "Starboy," Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter embarked on separate ventures as producers, contributing to various projects. On June 21, 2017, the Australian band Parcels released "Overnight," a track produced and co-written by Daft Punk. This marked their final collaborative production as a duo, which originated after Daft Punk witnessed Parcels' live performance and invited them to their studio.

Between April 9 and August 11, 2019, an electronic exhibition centered around Daft Punk's iconic song "Technologic" was showcased at the Philharmonie de Paris. This exhibition featured the duo's costumes, guitars, and other significant elements from their career.

Epilogue era (2021 - present)

On February 22, 2021, Daft Punk shared a video on their YouTube channel titled "Epilogue," which featured a scene from their 2006 film "Electroma." This video depicted one of the robots exploding while the other walked away, with a title card displaying "1993–2021" and the song "Touch" playing. Later the same day, their publicist confirmed their split, causing a significant surge in Daft Punk's sales. Todd Edwards, their friend and collaborator, noted that Bangalter and Homem-Christo were pursuing separate creative paths.

Exactly one year after their disbandment, on February 22, 2022, Daft Punk announced a 25th-anniversary edition of their album "Homework," featuring a remix album titled "Homework (Remixes)." They also streamed their performance at the Mayan Theater in Los Angeles from their 1997 Daftendirektour on Twitch, showcasing previously unreleased footage without their iconic costumes. Throughout 2022, Daft Punk released behind-the-scenes content from the "D.A.F.T." DVD and vinyl album reissues.

On February 22, 2023, marking the 10th anniversary of "Random Access Memories," Daft Punk announced a reissue of the album, which was released on May 12, 2023 (see Random Access Memories (10th Anniversary Edition). This reissue contained 35 minutes of previously unreleased outtakes and demos, including the single "Infinity Repeating (2013 Demo)" featuring Julian Casablancas and the Voidz. In the same year, the duo also revealed a "Drumless Edition" of the album, set to release on November 17, 2023, which removes all drum and percussive elements from the original album's 13 tracks (see Random Access Memories (Drumless Edition)).

Where are the robots now?

In April 2023, Thomas Bangalter released a solo project, an orchestral ballet score titled "Mythologies" (see Thomas Bangalter: Mythologies). He gave interviews and allowed himself to be photographed without his signature mask. Bangalter cited concerns about the advancements in artificial intelligence and technology as a reason for Daft Punk's dissolution, emphasizing the desire to avoid being perceived solely as robots in the contemporary world of 2023. Despite the split, Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo continue to share a studio and equipment, maintaining their creative connection. Reflecting on their journey, Bangalter expressed relief and happiness, appreciating that they had not compromised their artistic legacy to a significant degree.


Bangalter and de Homem-Christo have credited many sources that influenced their musical style. Years before producing music as a duo, they were stated to have shared tastes for Elton John, MC5, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys and The Stooges. Their mutual admiration for rock bands led to the founding of their own independent project, Darlin'. Bangalter expressed that "It was still maybe more a teenage thing at that time. It's like, you know, everybody wants to be in a band."They drew inspiration from the rock and acid house displayed in the United Kingdom during the early 1990s. De Homem-Christo pointed to Screamadelica by Primal Scream as an influential work, as the record "put everything together" in terms of genre.

The liner notes of Homework pay tribute to a large number of musical artists and contains a quote from Brian Wilson. Bangalter expressed that "In Brian Wilson's music you could really feel the beauty - it was very spiritual. Like Bob Marley, too." When questioned on the success of Daft Punk's debut album and rising popularity of their associated musical genre, Bangalter responded, "before us you had Frankie Knuckles or Juan Atkins and so on. The least you can do is pay respect to those who are not known and who have influenced people." The Daft Punk track "Teachers" on Homework refers to several influences including Romanthony and Todd Edwards. de Homem-Christo stated that "Their music had a big effect on us. The sound of their productions — the compression, the sound of the kick drum and Romanthony's voice, the emotion and soul — is part of how we sound today."

Romanthony and Edwards later collaborated with Daft Punk in tracks for Discovery. For the album Daft Punk focused on new styles of electronic music. A major inspiration was the Aphex Twin single "Windowlicker", which was "neither a purely club track nor a very chilled-out, down-tempo relaxation track" according to Bangalter. The duo also utilized vintage equipment to recreate the sound of a previous artist. As stated by de Homem-Christo, "On 'Digital Love' you get this Supertramp vibe on the bridge," which was generated through an in-studio Wurlitzer piano. During a later interview, de Homem-Christo clarified that "we didn't make a list of artists we like and copy their songs."

Visuals and their Image

For the majority of their public and media appearances, Daft Punk concealed their faces with distinctive costumes. According to Bangalter, their intention was to shift the spotlight onto their music, using masks to maintain control over their public image, safeguard their privacy, and preserve their anonymity. They drew artistic inspiration from the 1974 film "Phantom of the Paradise," where the central character prominently dons a mask, which served as a foundational influence for their artistic direction. Additionally, Daft Punk admired the 1970s band Space, known for wearing space suits with helmets that concealed their identities. The enigma surrounding Daft Punk's true identities and their elaborate disguises contributed significantly to their popularity. These costumes have drawn comparisons to the makeup worn by Kiss and the iconic leather jacket sported by Iggy Pop.

During their promotional appearances in the 1990s, Daft Punk often obscured their faces with black bags or Halloween masks. Even though they allowed a camera crew to document their activities for a French arts program during this period, Daft Punk avoided speaking on screen. Orla Lee-Fisher, the head of marketing at Virgin Records UK, noted that early in their career, Daft Punk would only consent to being photographed without their masks when they were DJing. In 1997, Bangalter mentioned that they had a "general rule about not appearing in videos."

In 2001, Daft Punk introduced their iconic robot costumes for promotional events and performances associated with their album "Discovery." These costumes were first revealed in a special presentation on Cartoon Network's Toonami block. The helmets were crafted by Paul Hahn of Daft Arts and the French directors Alex and Martin, with technical assistance from Tony Gardner and Alterian, Inc. The helmets incorporated various LED effects. Originally, wigs were attached to both helmets, but Daft Punk decided to remove them just before unveiling the costumes. While Bangalter acknowledged that the helmets could be hot, he also mentioned that he became accustomed to it over time. Later iterations of the helmets were equipped with ventilators to prevent overheating.

For their "Human After All" era, Daft Punk adopted simplified helmets along with black leather jackets and trousers designed by Hedi Slimane. Bangalter explained that they wanted to avoid repetition and were intrigued by "developing a persona that merges fiction and reality." During the making of "Electroma," Daft Punk was interviewed with their backs turned, and in 2006, they wore cloth bags over their heads during a televised interview. They described the use of cloth bags as a spontaneous decision, highlighting their willingness to experiment with their public image. Daft Punk continued to wear their robot costumes for notable appearances, including the 2008, 2014, and 2017 Grammy Awards. During the 2014 ceremony, they even accepted their awards onstage while wearing their iconic outfits, with Pharrell and Paul Williams speaking on their behalf.

The robot personas were a creative amalgamation of human and machine traits for Daft Punk. Initially born out of shyness, they eventually became a source of excitement for their audience – an idea of being an ordinary individual with extraordinary capabilities, akin to a modern form of glam. Bangalter likened the personas to a long-lasting Marina Abramović performance art installation following their split, emphasizing that the robots didn't represent an unquestioning embrace of digital culture. Instead, Daft Punk aimed to use the machines to convey emotions that machines couldn't feel but humans could. Their focus remained on the side of humanity rather than technology throughout their career.

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