Daft Punk’s first interview: Skrillex, EDM, the new album and touring
Daft Punk aren’t exactly known for giving interviews. Have a dig around the web, and you’ll find that the bulk of the ever-elusive duo’s chats with the media were circa 2005-2007. But just a day after that Coachella teaser ad (below) sent the internet into a tizz, Rolling Stone have snared a chat with Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de-Homem Christo to talk about the new album, the state of electronic music and their plans (or lack thereof) to tour.
So what’s the big interview revealed? “After three records, there was a sense of searching for a record we hadn’t done,” Bangalter told the magazine about the process behind Random Access Memories. “We wanted to do what we used to do with machines and samplers, but with people.” That means no samples (bar one snippet of an “Australian rock record” on closing track Contact), a drum machine on only two of the tracks and limiting the electronics to a custom-built modular synthesizer and a few vocoders. “We were trying to make robotic voices sound the most human they’ve ever sounded, in terms of expressivity and emotion,” he added. What’s more, the record’s been in the works for the better part of five years – the pair revealed they began working on album number four in 2008.
“It’s not that we can’t make futuristic stuff, but we wanted to play with the past,” Guy-Manuel explained. The present, it seems, isn’t proving terribly exciting for the pair. “Electronic music right now is in its comfort zone and it’s not moving one inch,” Bangalter said. “That’s not what artists are supposed to do.” As he sees it, the genre is suffering ‘an identity crisis’. “You hear a song, whose track is it? There’s no signature. Skrillex has been successful because he has a recognizable sound: You hear a dubstep song, even if it’s not him, you think it’s him.”
And as for hitting the road? Alas, Bangalter told Rolling Stone “We have no current plans” to tour Random Access Memories. “We want to focus everything on the act and excitement of listening to the album,” he explained. “We don’t see a tour as an accessory to an album.” But when they do go eventually on tour, it will be with a “career-encompassing set list”, not one focussed solely on the new record. Last but not least, you can get a glimpse of the pair’s new look (leather’s out, sequins are in) over at the YSL website courtesy of their designer friend Hedi Slimane. How’s all that for an information overload?