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9 things you probably didn’t know about Daft Punk

As the Robots call time on their 28-year career, we run through nine things you probably didn’t know about Daft Punk, from impersonators racking up thousands of pounds worth of drinks bills in Ibiza to sound engineers driving across the U.S. to hand deliver the 'Random Access Memories' master tapes

Yesterday (22nd February), Daft Punk announced they have split up after 28 years.

The French duo's ability to constantly reinvent electronic music, time and again, makes them one of the most important electronic acts after Kraftwerk.

Haivng formed in Paris in 1993, their debut album, 'Homework', was released in 1997, featuring hit singles including 'Around the World' and 'Da Funk'. Their follow up, ‘Discovery’, is seen by many as one of the most important dance music releases of this — or any — era, a record that anticipated the digital music age, the pivotal importance of video content and the growth of the online fan club. Their most recent album, 'Random Access Memories', was the best-selling dance music album on vinyl of the decade.

But everyone knows that. Below are 10 things you probably didn’t know about Daft Punk.

1.
Thomas Bangalter's dad was a famous disco producer

During the early years of their career, Thomas Bangalter’s father Daniel Vangarde was instrumental in guiding Daft Punk, and helped the fledgling duo in signing their first major record deal with Virgin Records.

“He [Daniel] helped them to make decisions,” explains journalist Pascal Bertin, during the recent Daft Punk: Unchained documentary. “He helped them to understand clearly what people were proposing.”

Vangarde had a string of successful singles during the ‘70s, including as a writer and producer of Ottawan’s ‘D.I.S.C.O.’ and the Gibson Brothers’ ‘Cuba’.

“He was [the] perfect person to give advice to a group doing dance music, made in France, sung in English and aimed at the whole world,” Antoine Ressaussière, a friend of the band, added during the documentary.

2.
They spent $4 million of their own money to create their animated film

Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem was an ambitious undertaking for both Daft Punk and Japanese designer Matsumoto, cost a reported $4 million to make, and some three years to produce. The trio were forced to communicate through a bilingual friend, which made the process even longer.

It was an enormous accomplishment that Daft Punk were able to enlist Matsumoto. The 66 year-old is responsible for 25 years of film productions, including Galaxy Express 999, Arcadia, and Star Blazers, which, after Akira, are widely-regarded as some of the country's most revered anime.

Each of Interstella 5555's character portrays the different styles of animation Matsumoto had taken up throughout his long and storied career.

3.
Not even their manager saw their Pyramid stage show before its debut at Coachella in 2006

Pedro ‘Busy P’ Winter was given a sneak peak of Daft Punk’s hugely ambitious live show before it debuted at Coachella 2006 — but he was only allowed to hear the audio and wasn’t shown the LED-festooned pyramid.

“I wasn’t allowed to see the lights yet,” he joked during an interview for Daft Punk: Unchained. Before the show's debut the duo made Coachella’s organisers clear the backstage a full-hour before the show so no one could spoil the surprise.

 

4.
The duo were reportedly paid a million per show for their 2007 tour

It’s been rumoured that Daft Punk were getting paid $1 million per show during their epic 2007 tour, Alive 2007.

Over two years, the iconic French duo played a staggering 47 shows, reportedly pocketing the pair $47 million, which might go so way to explain each member were reported to be worth over $70 million in 2017.

5.
Justice turned down the invite to be the support act for Alive 2007

During a recent interview with Xavier de Rosnay and Gaspard Auge, French duo Justice revealed that Daft Punk invited the then up-and-coming duo to be a support act for their Alive 2007 tour.

Justice — who we’re managed by Daft Punk’s former manager — decided to turn down the offer and instead wanted to make it on their own.

6.
Someone pretending to be Thomas Bangalter racked up thousands of pounds worth of drinks bills in Ibiza

Someone pretending to be Thomas Bangalter managed to persuade several Ibiza clubs that he was Thomas Bangalter, racking up thousands of pounds worth of drinks bills across the island.

It would turn out he was actually an impersonator and not the real Thomas Bangalter.

7.
During a performance at Space Ibiza, Bangalter unplugged the mixer and made a bassline out of the feedback

During an interview with Eats Everything, the DJ/producer recalled a performance from Thomas Bangalter from the iconic La Terraza at Space Ibiza in 2008.

"I saw Thomas Bangalter play the best DJ set I’d ever seen in my life on the Terazza at Space. He was playing two copies of the same record, reversing the other backwards in sync, throwing massive 909 kick drums into the mix... and then began cradling the mixer in his arms," said Eats Everything.

"We were like, “What the f**k is he doing?” He yanked the phono leads out the back of the mixer and started playing a bassline with the feedback. He was creating this enormous roaring sound with nothing but his clammy hands — and this curly-haired, terrified-looking French man didn’t look up once for four hours, I swear to God."

8.
The duo were given their name after a scathing review of their band, Darlin'

Daft Punk got their name when the late Dave Jennings dismissed their early efforts as “daft punky trash” during a review for the now shuttered Melody Maker magazine.

At the time, the group called themselves Darlin’ and had a third member in the form of Laurent Brancowitz, who now plays guitar for Phoenix.

9.
The engineers for 'Random Access Memories' were so nervous about transporting the album they drove it across the U.S. to deliver it by hand

When ‘Random Access Memories’ was finished after four years of intense work, Peter Franco, one of four engineers to work on the album, got in a car with Daft Punk crew member Sam Cooper to drive the tapes from LA to Portland, Maine.

“Four years in the studio, it was crazy. So at the end when we finished mixing, there was no way we were going to let the master tapes leave our sight. So we started another journey,” Franco said during an interview for Daft Punk: Unchained.

“If the tapes were lost, I think I would change my name, become a scuba diving instructor in Costa Rica. Each tape is unique and each mix is unique. There’s only one of them and they existed in that trunk of the car.”

A previous version of this story ran on DJ Mag in 2017

Want more? Read our retrospective on Daft Punk, where Ben Cardew discusss how the French duo's ability to constantly reinvent electronic music, time and again, makes them one of the most important electronic acts after Kraftwerk