Daft Punk’s separation: A look back at the legendary duo in five key facts

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Two words, two musicians, one identity that left its mark on the history of music. The announcement of the separation of Daft Punk, in a video entitled “Epilogue” and published on YouTube, was a bombshell for all electronic music lovers. After twenty-eight years of loyal service, the group is bowing out. This ambassadors of the “French touch” leave behind them about thirty tracks, each more heterogeneous than the last, which will remain in everyone’s mind. Acumen revisits the course of this legendary duo of French musicians in five outstanding facts. Listen to the music!

A “good to throw away” band

You may not know it, but at the beginning, Daft Punk were three. Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo formed the trio Darlin’ with guitarist Laurent Brancowitz. But Brancowitz soon joined the group Phoenix and the trio became a duo. In 1993, the group took the name “Daft Punk,” after the publication of an acerbic article in the British magazine Melody Maker described their music as “daft punky trash” (lame punk, just good to throw away). The two musicians were seduced by this degrading name and inspired to name their new musical association after it!

Before the masks, there were the helmets 

It’s impossible to talk about Daft Punk without mentioning their legendary headphones. Even if at the beginning they appeared without their futuristic get-up, they quickly decided to distinguish their private and musical identities. And so it was on September 9, 1999, on the occasion of the release of their second album, Discovery, that they “robotized” themselves. Thomas Bangalter, one of the members of the group, tells us that this was not a simple coincidence : one of the synthesizers in their studio exploded that day, at 9:09 a.m. precisely, and when they woke up, they had become robots. Two helmets were then born – one silver, one gold – made by the Californian designer Tony Gardner, which became inseparable from their characters and which will forever stick to them, preserving the mystery until the end. 

A new set … and very strong 

In 1995, when they were not yet wearing helmets, Daft Punk recorded an unpublished DJ set on audio cassettes during their performance in a discotheque in Avignon. Posted online after the announcement of their separation, this set began with the legendary “Da Funk,” one of their biggest hits, which was released a few months later. Daft Punk let loose and added a bit of Chicago house music, coupled with techno by Laurent Garnier and Jeff Mills. An original set, voluntarily mixing music styles, which partly launched the band’s career.

 

They won Grammy Awards 

At the 56th edition of the Grammy Awards in 2014, the group was the talk of the town, and for good reason : they took home five music awards, including Best Album of the Year for Random Access Memories, and Best Recording of the Year for “Get Lucky,” a globally successful hit performed with Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers. Daft Punk also won Best Pop Duo and Best Electronic Album. Their sound engineers were also rewarded during this ceremony. 

They refused the Legion of Honor 

After being made knights of the Order of Arts and Letters as musicians, producers and scriptwriters in 2010, Daft Punk were offered the Legion of Honor seven years later. An initiative of Pierre-Yves Bocquet, a music journalist in charge of speeches and tributes to personalities for the Élysée Palace and the pen of François Hollande. But the group simply and politely refused this distinction through their American publicist, without giving any explanation, except that they were touched by this proposal, but that they did not wish to give it a favorable follow-up. 

 

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