On Feb. 21 popular French music duo Daft Punk released an eight-minute video to YouTube titled “Epilogue” and announced that they would part ways after a 28-year career together.
In the video, the duo is seen at a silent standstill in the middle of a desert, wearing their signature “Daft Punk” titled jackets and helmets.
Acknowledging one another from afar, they proceed to meet in the middle where one member surrenders their jacket as the other presses a now exposed “self-destruct” button on their back. The countdown begins and the self-destruct ensues, signifying an end for the pair.
The French duo, comprising of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem Christo, met in 1987 and formed Daft Punk in 1993. The two did not reach commercial success until years later when they released “Da Funk” in 1995.
After gaining mass traction and reaching the number seven spot on French top charts with “Da Funk” they made their way to the United States with a feature on the US Billboard “Hot Dance Club” play chart.
Their first entry on the US Billboard Hot 100 list, ranking at 61, was their track “Around the World” featured on their first debut studio album “Homework”.
In 2001, they released their album “Discovery” which is recognized as one of their top albums featuring well-known hits such as, “Digital Love,” “One More Time” and “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.”
In its origin “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” was sampled from Edwin Birdsong’s “Cola Bottle Baby.” The Birdsong track was sped up and reverbed to create one of Daft Punk’s biggest hits.
Years later in 2007, Daft Punk’s dance/electronic genre spilled into the mainstream pop/rap genre when Kanye West sampled “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” for his song “Stronger” on his album “Graduation.”
Transforming and sampling songs was nothing new for Daft Punk with another notable sample mention with the song “One More Time”. The duo took a few distinct horn notes from Eddie Johns’ song “More Spell On You” cut it down, and reworked it to create the song we know today.
During the release of their 2001 album “Discovery”, the pair had an interview in Japan where they explained how they strive to always be personal with their music; and with that, comes their goal to always innovative sound. They wanted to show other artists “what’s possible, to do an album yourself, in your bedroom,” as was the case in the making of their debut album “Homework.”
Local Fullerton artist, Matt Moreno (also known as Calson), explains how Daft Punk was seen as an inspiration to use samples to create new music with his early work. Although Moreno doesn’t sample as much as he used to, he acknowledges Daft Punk and their ability to progress.
“I definitely like the way their old school stuff, like “Homework” has very repetitive production but not in a way where it got super old. I think they have really good pacing for mid-late 90s dance electronic music cause a lot of their old stuff is pretty progressive but in a really good way,” Moreno said.
As years went on, Daft Punk maintained their ability to stay progressive by continuing to work on collaborations with rising artist The Weeknd, on hit songs “I Feel It Coming” and “Starboy” which were both released in 2016.
Although no one knew it, Daft Punk released their last studio album in 2013 titled “Random Access Memories” and their last songs would be with The Weeknd in 2016.
They took a successful shot in film composition when they agreed to work on Disney’s sequel, “Tron: Legacy” in 2008, later released at the end of 2010.
The pair had been inactive for a number of years before their announced split, though fans are hopeful for a return with Jared Leto confirming production for Tron 3 in August of 2020.
Although the pair has currently decided to retire, this does not diminish their significance in the music industry as their sampling, scoring and distinct sound continue to influence electronic music.