One More Time? Why Daft Punk is splitting up after twenty plus years
For twenty-eight years, the French electronica band Daft Punk has been getting “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”, but now, they’re calling it quits.
The French techno duo was formed in 1993 by musicians Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo & Thomas Bangalter. They found international success with hits like “Around the World” and “One More Time” in the late 1990s and early 2000s and struck big again in 2013 with their Grammy-winning hit “Get Lucky” featuring Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers.
The duo announced their split to their fans in a YouTube video, and then their publicist confirmed: Daft Punk was done. But why are they calling it quits now? Let’s dive in.
This morning, Daft Punk posted a video to their fans titled “Epilogue”. The video was previously featured in their 2006 film Electronica and features the duo in their iconic helmets walking away from the camera. After a silent dialogue, the camera focuses on a self-destruct button on the silver-helmed performer.
The other performer sets the button and as the countdown beeps, Daft Punk gets further & further apart until the self-destruct goes off and he explodes. After the segment from Electronica, a plaque on the screen reads: “Daft Punk: 1993-2021”.
Most of the comments on the video are well-wishes from fans, thanking Daft Punk for the music and commemorating them for their success, including sweeping five Grammys in a single night. That was in 2014 after the duo won five Grammys for Random, Access, Memories, including Album Of The Year.
“Around The World”
When Daft Punk started performing in Paris in the mid-1990s, they wore trash bags over their heads as part of their act. According to Huffington Post, as Daft Punk evolved through the 90s, they traded their trash bags for wigs & helmets before settling on the silver & gold space helmet we know & love them for.
Their 2001 album Discovery is seen as a seminal dance album. The music videos for hits like “One More Time” and “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” were a lead-up to Daft Punk’s 2003 film Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem, a concept film following a group of alien rock stars who come to earth. The film was animated in an old-school anime style – think Voltron meets David Bowie.
Since then, Daft Punk became a household name. Apart from co-producing Kanye West’s Yeesus and being sampled by major international acts like Janet Jackson, the “One More Time” duo became synonymous with hipster cool, as evidenced by LCD Soundsystem’s song “Daft Punk Is Playing at My House”.
Those helmets, though!
“When you know how a magic trick is done, it’s so depressing”, Banglatier told Pitchfork in 2013 after sweeping the Grammys with Random, Access, Memories. “We focus on the illusion because giving away how it’s done instantly shuts down the sense of excitement and innocence.”
After releasing their album Discovery and its single “One More Time” in 2001, Daft Punk never appeared in public without their iconic silver & gold helmets, focusing their identities on their electronic personas rather than themselves. “We’re not performers, we’re not models. It would not be enjoyable for humanity to see our features, but the robots are exciting to people”, Homem-Christo explained to Rolling Stone.
Banglatier also elaborated to Rolling Stone that the masks were also to protect Daft Punk’s anonymity & privacy. “One thing I like about the masks is that I don’t have people constantly coming up to me and reminding me what I do. It’s nice to be able to forget.”
But why are they calling it quits?
Their publicist didn’t give a reason. Given Daft Punk’s anonymity, a reason might never be given. Either way, we wish them a quiet, happy retirement where they can bask in their glory and know they made the music scene a little brighter.
What was your favorite Daft Punk album, song, or visual project? Do you think they’ll reunite or perform “One More Time”? Let us know in the comments!