For nearly three decades, Daft Punk brought life back into music and helped influence the scene that we know and love today.
Where were you when you heard the news about Daft Punk calling it quits? It was pretty impossible to miss — the entire internet exploded after they posted their farewell video “Epilogue” on YouTube. It seemed as if every other post was reporting, or lamenting, that after a whopping 28 years, one of the most influential electronic acts in history were no more. So let’s take a trip back down memory lane to explore the history of this iconic duo.
After working on different projects, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo formed Daft Punk in Paris in 1993. “The New Wave” (later called “Alive“) marked their arrival on the scene while “Da Funk” followed soon after. Both tracks found their way onto Daft Punk’s debut album Homework in 1997, which added now-classic singles such as “Around The World,” “Rollin’ & Scratchin’,” and “Revolution 909.” Another standout on the album is “Teachers,” with Daft Punk honoring other artists who helped them fall in love with music and mold them into the artists that they became.
Their style marked a new era of house music in France and helped to shape the genre there before the rest of the world after embarking on the Alive 1997 tour.
In 2001, Daft Punk fully embraced their robot-selves and were on their way to becoming international superstars. The release of Discovery that year solidified this, gifting us all with “One More Time,” “Something About Us,” and “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” Daft Club arrived in 2003, featuring remixes of their standout tunes from other artists including The Neptunes, Basement Jaxx, and Demon to name a few. Absolute jams like “Robot Rock,” “Technologic,” and “Television Rules The Nation,” surfaced on 2005’s Human After All to continue their ascent.
At that point, Daft Punk was already receiving radio play and winning over the hearts of dance music lovers around the globe. But it wasn’t until they graced the stage at Coachella in 2006 that their careers blasted off to the next level. The kick-off performance for the Alive 2007 tour featured the iconic pyramid stage and was one that will live on in the hearts and minds of many. It also inspired countless creatives as well who have since gone on to produce music or create larger-than-life productions. (Watch the show from Lollapalooza below.)
The latter half of Daft Punk’s legacy was dotted with unique releases that showed off their dynamic range and celebrated their own influences.
Daft Punk were a perfect fit to create the soundtrack for TRON: Legacy and luckily when Disney approached them they agreed. While cinematic in nature and less dance-fueled compared to previous works their tracks like “Derezzed” and “The Son of Flynn” left an impression and fit perfectly on the grid. They did, of course, create their own films as well including Interstella 5555 and Electroma.
In 2013, Daft Punk delivered what would be the final album of their careers, Random Access Memories, that leaned heavily into the disco and funk-infused influences they hold dear to their hearts. Fellow artists joined in on the album such as Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers on “Get Lucky” and Panda Bear on “Doin’ it Right,” while tracks like “Giorgio by Moroder” focused on the history of synthesizers in music. The album would go on to win five Grammys, including Album of the Year.
They remained fairly quiet after their Grammy win, even while rumors swirled about a possible Alive 2017 tour or a return for the third TRON movie to take on soundtrack duties once again. Instead, they worked with a handful of other artists including Kanye West and Parcels, while their two tracks with The Weeknd in 2016 – “Starboy” and “I Feel It Coming” – would be their final two as Daft Punk.
Today, Daft Punk’s music has inspired artists in a range of genres and will continue to keep dance music lovers grooving to the beat for years to come. Take a trip back down memory lane and listen to this playlist on Spotify that highlights some of their most beloved tunes, hand-curated by Sydney Grant, Logan Garrison, and Grant Gilmore from the EDM Identity team.