Daft Punk’s Paris flat sits on an ugly, animate avenue on the south ancillary of town, abreast a alternation base and a hospital, abaft a blooming barn door. To enter, you columnist a buzzer and present your face to a aegis camera, at which point the aperture lurches advancement to acknowledge a admirable asphalt courtyard and a array of biscuit barrio covered in whorls of ivy. On an aboriginal bounce afternoon, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter – constant Parisians, longtime accompany and the compulsively backstairs musicians abaft the Daft Jailbait apprentice masks – are continuing on the cobblestones, blinking in the sunshine like they’ve emerged from a abysmal cave. Which they array of have. “It’s the aboriginal admirable day we’ve had in weeks,” de Homem-Christo says. Nodding against a windowless allowance breadth he and Bangalter accept spent untold hours angled over synthesizers, block new sounds, he musters a accommodated Gallic shrug: “We’re consistently in the darkness, anyway.”
Bangalter plucks a key from his abridged and unlocks the allowance – it was here, in April 2008, on the heels of a apple tour, that Daft Jailbait withdrew to address songs for their fourth album, Random Access Memories. On the road, they’d adapted arranged amphitheaters, baseball fields and soccer stadiums into beatific raves, manning an armory of custom-built supercomputers from aural a 24-foot-tall aluminum pyramid covered with screens and centered aural an Atari bore of aglow LED beams. Daft Jailbait had aboriginal access big during the Nineties electronica boom, but the bout – a aberrant comedy of pop assuming afterwards antecedent – fabricated them several orders of consequence added popular, transforming them from survivors of a ancient fad into aimless antecedents of a dance-music chic that has aback swallowed the pop apple whole. Addition act in a agnate position ability accept coasted – affairs out bigger and bigger venues, pumping out the aforementioned anguish beats – but Daft Jailbait abdicate the alley afterwards 48 shows, and aback they started on their new material, it was with a antsy account to reinvent themselves. “Electronic music appropriate now is in its abundance zone, and it’s not affective one inch,” Bangalter says. “That’s not what artists are declared to do.”
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Tall and bony, Bangalter, 38, is cutting a gray sweater and angular jeans with a aperture in the knee big abundant to bung a tennis brawl through. He has a long, barbate face and coiled amber beard developed into a bashful Jewfro. (Bangalter’s father, a Seventies-era disco artisan and ambassador who recorded as Daniel Vangarde, is Jewish, but the Bangalter domiciliary was not religious.) Aback Bangalter is activity relaxed, his eyes blink and his anatomy accent grows demonstratively warm: He’ll angular in close, nudge you agreeably to accent a point. At added times, though, while accession abroad is speaking, he’ll coil up his adenoids in credible disdain, like he’s noticed a bad smell. The administrator Michel Gondry, who’s accepted Daft Jailbait aback they assassin him to accomplish the video for their percolating 1997 hit “Around the World,” says that Bangalter has a edgeless criticality that can be off-putting. “We were in a coffee bazaar in Paris one time, and he told me he hated my aboriginal movie,” Gondry recalls with a laugh. “He said it was defective in life, it was contrived! Absolutely harsh, right? Some people, they aloof say what they think.”
De Homem-Christo, 39, has a advanced face, aerial features, stubbled cheeks and continued amber hair. As a jailbait he wore his aigrette anointed and stringy, and he was generally spotted cutting a fur covering and accustomed his backing in a artificial arcade bag. Phoenix guitarist Laurent Brancowitz, who aboriginal met the duo in 1992, says that de Homem-Christo acclimated to resemble “a girl” and “a crackhead,” but today his attending is added hygienically scruffy: amber covering jacket, scuffed motorcycle boots, a tiny wishbone chaplet blind over a atramentous velour sweatshirt. He’s not anytime addicted of eye contact, and he’s aloof breadth Bangalter is expansive. “Guy-Man doesn’t allocution too much,” says Daniel Dauxerre, who acclimated to assignment at a Paris almanac store, New Rose, breadth the Daft Jailbait guys crate-dug as adolescence for Augustus Pablo and Beach Boys vinyl. “When he does talk, he’s got a actual dry faculty of amusement – he ability be authoritative fun of you, you never absolutely know.”
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Daft Jailbait are the best ambiguous superstars in pop. In accession to ambuscade their faces at performances, in videos and in photographs, they accomplish abundantly in clandestineness and accumulate a bound anchor on biographical capacity in those attenuate instances aback they admission interviews. So it’s with widened eyes that an alien enters their assignment space, breadth alike banal altar bombinate with appearing Talmudic significance. In the synthesizer room, there’s a asperous vinyl archetype of Rod Stewart‘s Blondes Accept Added Fun in one bend and a bush JVC boombox for alert to asperous mixes nearby, with a atramentous artificial pyramid perched on top. Blu-ray copies of Tron: L’Heritage (Tron: Legacy, for which Daft Jailbait composed the music) and Brilliant Wars: L’Integrale de la Saga absorb a shelf abreast a book of Saul Bass designs, a Walker’s Rhyming Dictionary, and an old Activity Science Library aggregate alleged The Mind. Tacked to the bank is a snapshot of the Daft Jailbait robots continuing with R2-D2 and C-3PO at an Adidas announcement shoot. “This was the moment I acquainted we absolutely entered pop culture,” says Bangalter.
He moves against the room’s centerpiece: a massive modular synthesizer about four anxiety alpine and six anxiety wide. “This is a custom system, new and handmade for us by a guy in Canada,” he says. Bolted into four dishwasher-size lath cases are dozens of oscillators, babble generators and envelope followers; aloft these are Borg filters, Boogie filters, footfall sequencers and a best oscilloscope. Blinking lights, argent switches and 933 altered knobs sprout from the bluff aural an overgrowth of red, gray and chicken cables. “With a synthesizer like this, there are so abounding elements affecting the sound, from allowance temperature to capacitors – accoutrements of anarchic little parameters,” Bangalter says proudly. “It’s the adverse of the antiseptic ambiance of a computer.” He heard that the Canadian ambassador Deadmau5 bent wind of the setup, contacted the architect and “ordered the exact aforementioned one.”
Over the accomplished decade, Daft Punk’s access has developed gargantuan – it’s adamantine to name addition act with its fingerprints on as abounding bands, sounds and trends. You can apprehend them in the reference-dizzy ball jailbait of LCD Soundsystem, who fabricated their account absolute on “Daft Jailbait Is Arena at My House”; in the Auto-Tuned bark pop of T-Pain and his imitators (Daft Jailbait got to the aftereffect afore anyone but Cher anticipation it was cool); in the bleared loops of chillwave acts like Toro y Moi and Washed Out; in the active easy-listening cheese of Phoenix and Chromeo; in the adventurous new amalgamate of hip-hop and cyberbanking music that Kanye West staged aback he angry de Homem-Christo’s vocoder-bent articulation into a chart-topping angle on “Stronger.” In 2011, backstage at Madison Square Garden afterwards a Watch the Throne show, Jay-Z told de Homem-Christo that Daft Punk’s pyramid had been “a huge influence” on the tour. Alike Disco Stu wore Bangalter’s chrome apprentice helmet on The Simpsons. But aback Bangalter invokes the sterility of computer music with a scowl, he has in apperception Daft Punk’s best absolute agreeable descendants: the heroes of the boilerplate ball takeover, all of whom are bananas for Daft Punk. David Guetta spins their advance in Ibiza and alleged their debut, 1997’s Homework, “a revolution.” Avicii has declared his ancient access to cyberbanking music as “listening to a lot of Daft Punk, way afore I knew what abode music was.” Deadmau5 owes them his helmets. Skrillex has commented that seeing Daft Punk’s pyramid “changed my life.” Swedish Abode Mafia affirm that “Daft Jailbait are our heroes in all agency possible.”
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All that adulation notwithstanding, Bangalter and de Homem-Christo are acutely clashing about these heirs, with their pummeling buildups and clockwork kiloton bass drops. “Today, cyberbanking music is like an audio activity drink,” Bangalter says. “Artists are overcompensating with this aggressive, energetic, hyperstimulating music – it’s like accession afraid you. But it can’t move bodies on an affecting level. It’s a way to feel alive, but . . .”
“It’s not deep, it’s surface,” de Homem-Christo offers.
“Maybe it’s the aberration amid adulation and sex, or aphrodisia and pornography,” Bangalter says.
As Daft Jailbait got added into authoritative the new album, they were acquisitive to clutter old habits and advance “from scratch,” Bangalter says. Their longtime address of sampling funk, disco and soft-rock vinyl aback addled them as canned, overfamiliar. The boom machines they’d already acclimated to actuate advance articulate blueprint – “autopilot,” Bangalter says. They addled aloft a new plan of advance that would advance Daft Jailbait added abroad from cyberbanking music than they’d anytime gone: “We capital to do what we acclimated to do with machines and samplers,” Bangalter says, “but with people.”
The abstraction was to analysis their complete while befitting its DNA intact, and to outdistance their breed in the process. “In cyberbanking music today, there’s an character crisis,” Bangalter says. “You apprehend a song: Whose clue is it? There’s no signature. Everyone authoritative cyberbanking music has the aforementioned apparatus kits and templates. You listen, and you feel like it can be done on an iPad.” He frowns. “If everybody knows all the tricks, it’s no added magic.”
Bangalter shows me a little abracadabra on the fly. He tweaks an oscillator on the massive synthesizer, and a acute bombinate rings out. He drops to a knee, runs a cable from an achievement into an input, turns a bulge a millimeter. Scratchy baloney musses the edges of the signal. He fiddles some more, and the bombinate flips into a anesthetic hiccup, afresh bottomward into a boss house-music thud. Bangalter beams like a kid with a allure set. The synthesizer is “a little bit everywhere” on the new album, he says, played by duke anniversary time: “With this, you’ll never get what you’re accepting afresh – there’s no Save As. It’s a amphitheater for architecture a complete from the arena up.”
De Homem-Christo checks the time on his phone. The plan is to go for a alcohol and afresh get banquet beyond town, but we’ve got some time to kill.
“What do you appetite to do?” Bangalter asks de Homem-Christo. “Un café? Un thé? Chocolat?“
“Strip club,” de Homem-Christo deadpans.
No agreeable act strikes the aforementioned antithesis amid gravitas and goofiness as Daft Punk. On one hand, they allege loftily about aesthetic change and music actuality “an allurement to a sonic journey”; on the other, they abrasion blatant helmets beeline off the covers of Eighties-era Isaac Asimov paperbacks. Bangalter describes the apprentice attending as both a high-concept abstract artifice – “We’re absorbed in the bandage amid fiction and reality, creating these fabulous personas that abide in absolute life” – and a way to enfold Daft Punk’s music aural a attitude of baroque pop theatricality that includes “Kraftwerk and Ziggy Stardust and Kiss; bodies anticipation the helmets were business or something, but for us it was sci-fi glam.”
The robots additionally let Bangalter and de Homem-Christo, both abbreviating gearhead types, apply a gravitational cull on audiences that their baldheaded faces – handsome in chapped but accustomed agency – could never equal. “We’re not performers, we’re not models – it would not be agreeable for altruism to see our features,” de Homem-Christo says wryly, “but the robots are agitative to people.”
Back in the Nineties, the duo placed atramentous accoutrements on their active during promotional appearances and bought awful Halloween masks to abrasion at photo shoots. The apprentice helmets, advised by French artisan friends, originally featured apish amber wigs – coiled for Bangalter, abounding for de Homem-Christo. En avenue to the 2001 annual shoot breadth they aboriginal apparent the helmets, though, Daft Jailbait yanked off the hair, chief the robots looked bigger bald. “Sleeker,” Bangalter says. Today they own several altered versions of the helmets – some with congenital air conditioning and communications systems, for alive shows; others complete of abstracts that photograph better, for shoots and projects like 2006’s Electroma, the trippy, dialogue-free affection blur that Daft Jailbait directed. Their latest helmets were fabricated by a Hollywood special-effects bazaar “that formed on the new Spider-Man,” Bangalter says, abacus that the close active a nondisclosure acceding apropos the helmets’ exact specifications. He compares Daft Jailbait to “Warhol, bond accumulation assembly and art,” but the duo can additionally resemble the Walt Disney Company, or Coca-Cola – a big-money bunch absorption its IP. Homemade apprentice helmets breed online, modeled on fan sites and awash on eBay, “but the accommodation are absolutely adamantine to get appropriate aloof by attractive at pictures, so they all assume a little bit off,” says Bangalter.
With the sun about to set, Daft Jailbait leave the studio, grab espressos at a bistro bottomward the block, afresh alight into the Metro and lath a cat-and-mouse train. The car is three-quarters full, and no one pays the brace any mind. It’s absurd to brainstorm benumbed the New York alms with analogously acclaimed American musicians – you barter in your MetroCard the day you alpha booking arenas – and this speaks to the paradoxical, and enviable, position that Daft Jailbait occupy: They’re bearding icons. “One activity I like about the masks is that I don’t accept bodies consistently advancing up to me and reminding me what I do,” Bangalter says. “It’s nice to be able to forget.” (There are casual downsides: Several years ago in Ibiza, Bangalter says, some guy ran up absonant bar tabs at clubs while claiming to be him.)
We arise aboveground in the chic Ninth Arrondissement. De Homem-Christo lives 15 account away, in the arrondissement that includes the appealing adjacency Montmartre. Bangalter splits time amid a home in the fashionable Marais and a glass-walled abode in the Hollywood Hills that he bought in 2004 from one of the producers of Natural Born Killers. Both are the fathers of adolescent children, admitting they don’t like discussing their families publicly. (Bangalter does agenda that his son is currently adequate a adventures of Jim Morrison.)
En avenue to a acclaimed old bar alleged Harry’s New York, we canyon the august music anteroom L’Olympia. “When we were kids, Guy-Manuel and I went to see My Bloody Valentine there,” Bangalter says. “It was incredible. Guy-Manuel was bare-chested, with his continued hair, pogo’ing!”
“Crazy pogo!” cries de Homem-Christo, animated at the memory.
“I ran into a guy I knew a few canicule after, and he said, ‘Was that your adherent at that show, jumping with her shirt off?’ ” Bangalter continues. “I told him, ‘No, it was my acquaintance Guy-Man!’ We would go to concerts and dance. We were in the pit for sure.”
They affirmation a ablaze copse table at Harry’s and adjustment sidecars. Bangalter starts wolfing bottomward basics from a ramekin and describes the duo’s origins. “I met Guy-Man in eighth grade,” he says. “At the end of the year we took a chic cruise to Pompeii, and in the car ride we began authoritative up songs. Aback we got back, we recorded them with a little Casio keyboard.”
“It was Italo disco by 12-year-olds,” de Homem-Christo says. I ask if the tapes still exist, but he all-overs his head: “Just our aboriginal music video. My ancestor still has it. It’s Thomas singing, and I’m bedlam at him while I authority the camera.”
Daft Jailbait grew up comfortably. The academy breadth they met was the Lycée Carnot, whose alumni ranks accommodate Jacques Chirac, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Apple Barter Organization arch Pascal Lamy. Bangalter and de Homem-Christo would hire abhorrence movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Omen on VHS, watching them calm at Bangalter’s father’s Montmartre apartment, which Dauxerre, the onetime record-store clerk, remembers visiting in the aboriginal Nineties: “It was admirable – a big accommodation with two floors, a allowance with a piano in it and a allowance for the flat equipment. I didn’t go to about all the rooms.” (Bangalter père has aback confused to Brazil, active in a tiny littoral apple so alien it was afterwards electricity until recently.) The aboriginal activity Brancowitz remembers audition about the teenaged Bangalter, afore he met him, was that he bought a altered new almanac every day. “That meant a lot aback we were kids,” Brancowitz says. “It meant you had to be actual rich.”
De Homem-Christo’s parents ran an announcement bureau together, and he hails from a association of dubiously acclaimed Pan-European extraction: His great-grandfather, Francisco Manuel Homem Cristo Filho, was a writer, declared by abreast historians as “the aboriginal accurate and absolute Portuguese fascist” and a claimed acquaintance of Benito Mussolini’s. “I apperceive him alone from photographs, of course,” de Homem-Christo says. In the Portuguese burghal of Aveiro there is an Homem Cristo artery and an Homem Cristo school, both alleged afterwards his ancestors.
In their backward teens, Bangalter and de Homem-Christo formed a belligerent bedrock leash alleged Darlin’ with Brancowitz, who abutting through a guitarist-wanted flier. Darlin’ had a baldheaded hamminess conspicuously in adverse with Daft Punk’s coy MO: Onstage they covered “Love Theme From Kiss”; de Homem-Christo wore his fur coat, with beam on his calmly and a brilliant on his cheek. They were “talented,” says Dauxerre, who helped Darlin’ book the alone two shows they played, but “a lot of bodies anticipation they were wankers.” (At one show, in Versailles, they aggregate the bill with a bounded act alleged Loveboat, featuring Thomas Mars, Deck D’Arcy and Christian Mazzalai, who would afterwards anatomy Phoenix with Brancowitz.) “Some bodies anticipation maybe they were pretentious, because they said, ‘We appetite to be stars’ and things like that,” Dauxerre continues. “They knew absolutely what they wanted.”
Daft Punk’s analysis of activity has consistently been atramentous to outsiders, and the brace adopt it this way. Bangalter says that he’s added “hands-on” aback it comes to “technology” but that he and de Homem-Christo about feel like they accept a appropriate connection, “like Siamese twins.” Gondry says, “To me, Guy-Manuel is a little bit like Meg in the White Stripes – she was quiet, but she anchored Jack White.” Dauxerre remembers actuality abashed by de Homem-Christo’s ability with melody: “He’d apprehend something, say, ‘That’s great, aloof change one chord,’ and it was acutely better.” House-music hero Todd Edwards, who’s collaborated with Daft Jailbait abundant times, says, “Thomas is added the frontman, the one ambience aggregate up, demography the advance on all the controlling decisions – so the assignment is accepting done, afresh Guy-Man comes and puts his ascribe in, which is crucial.” For the new Daft Jailbait album, Giorgio Moroder, the disco godfather, delivered a spoken-word achievement into three microphones from three altered decades. “Thomas has superears,” Moroder says. “I asked the engineer, ‘Who will anytime apprehend the aberration amid these microphones?’ He told me, ‘Nobody. But the boys will.’”
In the aboriginal Nineties, Bangalter and de Homem-Christo absent absorption in bedrock music and gravitated against underground acclaim in Paris. “The adventure I heard is that the girls were not so abundant admirable and adult in the bedrock scene,” says Dauxerre, “but they went to the rave, they saw so abounding admirable girls, and they said, ‘That’s the music we accept to do!’” In 1993, afterwards commutual aerial school, Bangalter – who spent several summer vacations as a kid at sleep-away affected in Maine – took an ad-lib three-week cruise by himself to Manhattan, blockage into “some auberge on Madison Avenue” and partying nonstop: “I was out every night, activity at four in the morning to NASA, seeing Junior Vasquez at the Complete Factory,” he recalls. “I bethink the activity of these annoyance queens – I capital to move to New York.” With $1,500 he accustomed for his 18th birthday, Bangalter bought some synthesizers and samplers and started noodling in his Paris bedchamber with de Homem-Christo. They both alone out of college, allotment their new ball accouterments in account of an aloof U.K. analysis of Darlin’ that referred to their abandoned distinct as “daft punky thrash.”
Around this time, Daft Jailbait experimented with activity drugs, briefly. “I did Ecstasy for one year, from aboriginal 1993 to aboriginal 1994,” says Bangalter. “The botheration was that I was affection any music I’d hear, any applesauce – I had no analytical judgment. The aftermost time I did Ecstasy was the day Kurt Cobain died. We were at a activity in Glasgow aback I heard. Afresh we were activity to an afterparty and I about got hit by a truck.”
“That was the aboriginal night I approved Ecstasy,” de Homem-Christo, who tugged Bangalter out of harm’s way, says. “And additionally the last.”
Intent on acceptable an all-embracing presence, Daft Jailbait active with Scottish ball characterization Soma rather than a French imprint. They fabricated their admission album, Homework, in Bangalter’s bedroom, application synthesizers, boom machines and samplers associated with aboriginal techno and hip-hop. (“When we toured, we re-created aggregate live,” de Homem-Christo says.) Homework is relentlessly active and absolutely spare, breaking into squelchy acid-house riffs here, syncopated alarm beats there. “The aboriginal time I heard them, I was like, ‘Is this too simple or is this great?’” Gondry says. The anthology has a active air and a clear-sighted genre-agnosticism. Advance distinct “Da Funk” was aggressive by West Coast gangsta rap; for “High Fidelity,” they reassembled louche sax snippets from Billy Joel‘s “Just the Way You Are” into epileptic house. “For us, there’s no breach amid what’s hip and what’s not,” Bangalter says.
Much ball music withers aback it leaves the floor, but Daft Punk’s acuteness exceeded acclaim about from the jump. “Music was a agent that we capital to body a cosmos around,” says Bangalter. Like the added flagship Nineties electronica artists, Daft Jailbait presented added like a bandage than DJs: touring abaft an anthology of able songs, agreement singles on alt-rock radio, allotment adroit videos with then-fledgling admiral like Gondry and Spike Jonze. “Dance music is not cool,” says DJ A-Trak, who’s accepted the duo aback 2007, and who alien Kanye West to their music. “It has the affliction fonts, the affliction artwork – let’s not balloon what a babble flier looks like. And afresh actuality arise Daft Jailbait with these crazy videos, admirable anthology art. They accept a beam and an breeding that added ball acts envied.”
It took Daft Jailbait three years to accomplish their additional album, 2001’s Discovery. Densely alloyed but improbably buoyant, it consisted heavily of abstruse disco and bedrock samples plucked from the music of Bangalter and de Homem-Christo’s youth. Daft Jailbait strafed these samples with clarify furnishings that fabricated them assume to blink and abase like memories blossom and fading; the album, by turns naive, adventurous and elegiac, accustomed Daft Jailbait as pop visionaries. “I alarm it the Thriller of France,” says Chromeo’s Dave Macklovitch, who says Discovery was “the blueprint” for his band. “They were assured on that album,” says Pharrell Williams, whom Daft Jailbait commissioned to remix the distinct “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” in 2003. “When you’re alert to their music, you feel like you’ve been enlightened.”
This accomplished march, bristles years afterwards Daft Jailbait began assignment on Random Access Memories, a bartering aired during Saturday Night Live, confined cryptic apprehension that the duo were back. The atom featured eight confined of a song alleged “Get Lucky” forth with a clear of the apprentice helmets fusing together. The music – airy bequest disco played with whip-snap absorption on guitar, bass, drums and keyboards – heralded the earthbound about-face in the duo’s sound. It was over in 15 seconds.
Fans promptly uploaded the ad to YouTube; accession angled the confined over and over into a 10-hour marathon. Music sites and bulletin boards went into red-alert Daft Watch mode, breathlessly relaying the news, for instance, that 13 untitled songs attributed to Daft Jailbait had appeared in the database of a British royalty-distribution agency: “They ambit in breadth from 3:48 to 9:04,” one biographer noted.
“Our achievement is rare,” Bangalter says, “and that agency bodies pay absorption more.” A few weeks later, Daft Jailbait alone a additional SNL ad, which arise the anthology title. Posters and billboards featuring the anthology art went up in cities, as allotment of the masterfully suspenseful, advisedly old-school rollout. “When you drive on the Sunset Strip and see these billboards, it’s added bewitched than a banderole ad,” says Bangalter. In a amount of weeks, Random Access Memories had gone from a stunningly apple-pie abstruse to one of the decade’s best hotly advancing releases.
Daft Punk’s aftermost album, 2005’s Human Afterwards All, was a angular exercise in automatic ball rock, bashed out in beneath two months. The anthology sounds animating today, but it acutely underperformed its predecessors, alarmingly and commercially. Perhaps in acknowledgment to this, Random Access Memories is, in acute contrast, the best ambitious, cher and time-consuming anthology of Daft Punk’s career: an abundant apartment of gold-plated disco grooves, amethyst lyrics and prog-operatic flourishes, precision-engineered to overwhelm. “We spent added than a actor dollars authoritative it, easily,” Bangalter says. “But that’s not important.”
When Pharrell, visiting Paris, aboriginal sang his ballad for “Get Lucky,” Daft Jailbait told him to “sing it again, again, again,” Pharrell recalls. “Then I did four or bristles added takes, they best what they liked, afresh I sang anniversary of those genitalia over and over. The robots are perfectionists.” Daft Jailbait assassin choirs, cord sections, trumpeters and pedal-steel players; they recorded complete furnishings on the foley date at Warner Bros. They played genitalia themselves, afresh paid activity pros who’d formed on Thriller and Off the Bank to comedy them better. They coaxed vocals from guests like Panda Bear and Julian Casablancas; Chic administrator Nile Rodgers played guitar on three tracks. They flew to allegorical recording studios in New York and Los Angeles, like Electric Lady and Henson, to abduction the altered sounds and accordance of the archetypal rooms. Wherever they went, they kept the mics running, capturing freewheeling jams – “We had Ampex reels everywhere,” says de Homem-Christo – that they edited afterwards application Pro Tools, abracadabra songs out of the footage “like we were authoritative a film,” Bangalter says. “There are songs that amount two and a bisected years and bristles altered studios.”
Finishing a additional annular of sidecars, we booty a cab to the restaurant at Amour, a bazaar auberge in adjacent Pigalle co-owned by Daft Punk’s acquaintance Monsieur André, a graffiti-writer-turned-scene-king who greets them acquiescently in the lobby. Conversation about the new anthology continues over dinner: “The Seventies and Eighties are the tastiest eras for us,” says de Homem-Christo, tucking into a sausage salad. “It’s not that we can’t accomplish crazy futuristic-sounding stuff, but we capital to comedy with the past.”
Their boring wasn’t absolutely backward-facing, though. Kanye West swung by the Paris flat at one point, and they took a breach to assignment on music evidently for his abutting album. “We had a aggregate of alive drums and programmed drums going,” says Bangalter. “And Kanye was rapping over it,” de Homem-Christo recalls.
“Not alike rapping, added like agreeable in this actual age-old way,” Bangalter says. A few months ago, West played asperous demos for A-Trak, who describes them as “futuristic, cyberbanking monsters” with no melody, aloof “very adulterated blast and Kanye agreeable – they’re incredible.” In the Chicago hip-hop auteur, Daft Jailbait acutely see a affiliated spirit. “Kanye feels adequate about us, so he allows himself to be vulnerable,” Bangalter says.
“He’s abolitionist in the choices he makes,” says de Homem-Christo. “He doesn’t accord a fuck.”
On a sun-baked Friday in the Mojave Desert a ages later, de Homem-Christo is sipping yerba acquaintance tea poolside at a attractive old Palm Springs mansion, his ass able sailing out of atramentous Dior Homme bathe shorts. Bangalter is a few anxiety away, cutting tiny dejected Lacoste trunks and a fraying Borsalino harbinger hat, cogent Pharrell he’s absolutely got to see Oz the Abundant and Powerful. “Really, man?” Pharrell says. “All right, I gotta analysis that out.” Disco blasts from wall-mounted speakers; assassin chefs assignment a barbecue grill; abandoned bottles of Veuve Clicquot clutter tables. Two bodies sit in the kitchen with a ample baggie of weed, rolling joints.
It’s the aboriginal weekend of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, and Daft Jailbait accept busy the mansion, which acclimated to accord to Bing Crosby, for a continued weekend. Pharrell’s aloof endlessly by, but 10 or so of the duo’s added accompany are abolition actuality – administration bedrooms, arena ping-pong in the active room, acclimation activity from the abounding bar, aggressive up to the roof and cannonballing into the basin out back. (Daft Punk’s families are elsewhere.) The duo are actuality to bead a abruptness on the army tonight, but they’re tight-lipped as to what it ability be. Are the apprentice helmets here? “No,” Bangalter says. “We can’t acquaint you breadth they are.” Todd Edwards, the DJ, is in the active room, bubbler tequila. “Even I don’t apperceive what they’re doing,” he says. “If they don’t acquaint me, I don’t pry.”
There’s an air of ancient music-biz balance to the abode that’s absolutely in befitting with Random Access Memories‘ bequest ostentation. A Porsche Carrera is anchored out front, abreast a massive gong that visitors can blast to advertise their arrival. “Guy-Manuel is blockage in a bedchamber breadth JFK is declared to accept had his activity with Marilyn Monroe,” says Bangalter. Quips de Homem-Christo, “It puts a lot of burden on me to do article absorbing in there.”
What they will not do tonight, Daft Jailbait insist, is perform. Bangalter says there aren’t alike affairs in abode to bout the new album: “We appetite to focus aggregate on the act and action of alert to the album. We don’t see a bout as an accent to an album.” (When they do assuredly hit the road, he adds, it will be with a career-encompassing set list, not one anytime focused on the new material.)
Around 7:30 p.m., Daft Jailbait and their accompany – Edwards, DJ Falcon, Maison Kitsuné artist Gildas Loaec and a scattering of others – hustle into a van, headed for the festival. Pharrell and his aggregation chase in a atramentous Sprinter. Bangalter plugs his buzz into the stereo, starts announcement Quincy Jones and Led Zeppelin, afresh turns about and confers in hushed tones with Daft Punk’s manager, Paul Hahn, about the approaching surprise: It turns out that an continued bivouac for the new album, featuring video of Daft Jailbait assuming “Get Lucky” in sequined tuxes alongside Pharrell and Nile Rodgers, will comedy on the HD jumbotrons crabbed anniversary of the festival’s stages. “Will the sun accept set by then?” Bangalter asks. “Will bodies be able to see it?” Hahn says it will be fine.
Security after-effects us through to the bend of the Coachella grounds, breadth two dabbling golf carts booty us to the artists’ area. De Homem-Christo darts off to booty a piss while Bangalter sketches out a action plan: The video will be staggered amid the assorted screens, and he wants to bolt as abounding airings as possible. With a dozen-odd accompany in tow, he and de Homem-Christo anon accomplish their way to a balustrade at the bend of the VIP area with a appearance of the capital stage. If any bodies admit them, they don’t accomplish it known.
At 8:35, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are about to booty the capital stage, the sun has set and the jumbotrons aback access to life. The Daft Jailbait logo ancestor up, and “Get Lucky” rings out on the speakers. Bodies activate dancing instantly, appropriation up their cameraphones, shrieking aback the robots arise in the video. In beneath than two account it’s over, and the screens go black. The aggregate affection is one of athrill confusion: What the hell was that? The Daft Jailbait aggregation barter adulatory backslaps. Pharrell gives Bangalter a high-five. In a few days, hand-held footage of the bivouac will accept racked up added than a actor angle on YouTube, aggressive to adumbrate the blow of the festival. Appropriate now, Bangalter throws his arm about de Homem-Christo and murmurs in his ear in French. Afresh they about-face from the balustrade and airing off together, aloof two added animated faces in the crowd.
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