Five awesome people we met in Wee Waa

In the hours before the Showgrounds filled up with locals and Daft Punk pilgrims for the Random Access Memories launch party, inthemix strolled the main street of Wee Waa, meeting all sorts of characters. From the butcher selling his Random Access Rissoles to the super-fans who’d caught long-haul flights to be there, Daft Punk fever had everyone in high spirits. (Shout-out to the bartender in nearby Narrabri, though, who greeted the inthemix Editorial team with, “Daft Punk brings all the c**nts out.”) The duo’s label had set up a pop-up shop selling limited-edition CDs and giving away cardboard robot masks, and shopfronts were blanketed with the iconic image of the real helmets. Here’s some of our favourite random encounters in Wee Waa. Photos by Dan Boud.

Danielle, 24 and Jasmin, 23 from Brisbane

“We had everything made. Our helmets were made in America and our suits were made in China. We had them made for Supernova last year in Brisbane, but we thought because we’re huge Daft Punk fans we have to come to Wee Waa and we have to wear the suits. The helmets were about $600-700, and the suits were about $200. It’s an expensive hobby but we really love Daft Punk.

Even though it was leaked the other day, we wanted to wait until we got here to listen to the album. We thought: we’ve waited this long, we can wait another couple of days.  I’d pre-ordered the album so it downloaded to my iPhone, but I didn’t listen to it.”

Valentin, from Marseille, France

“I’m from Marseille. Troy is from Brisbane but he lives Melbourne. We flew from France to Melbourne to collect him and drove here. We drove overnight. He got us tickets. It was fun a roadtrip and finally an excuse to come out here. We tried to avoid hearing the album, but last night we gave in. At 3am we put it in the car stereo. We thought: should we? Yeaaah, we should! Daft Punk, it’s pretty amazing. We love them. We’ve been talking about this every night since we got tickets. Our friends are  getting really sick of us.”

Andrew Kemp, 25, from Brisbane

“On Thursday we got up at 3:30am, had Vegemite with cheese on toast and set off at 4am. We got here by 11:30am. I’ve listened to Get Lucky more times than I want to mention. But reading interviews with Daft Punk, they said they wanted it to be different, they wanted the community to come together so I was like, ‘I’m going to stick it out and not listen to the album.’ I’ve heard little bits and pieces because all the shops are playing it but I’m just not paying attention so it’s all fresh for me.

I’m expecting an awesome light show because I saw the practice yesterday. I don’t expect to see Daft Punk all dressed up but it would be really nice if they were here incognito, just enjoying it in the crowd. They said that when the commercial for Get Lucky came out at Coachella they enjoyed it anonymously in the crowd, so if they could do that and tell us after I think that would be the perfect thing. I don’t think I could ask for anything more than that.” 

Rod from Wee Waa

“I just hope they turn the bloody music down. I nearly fell out of bed last night! They had a test run. I live half a mile away and I had to turn the TV up.  I’d never heard of Daft Punk before they started this show up – they’re a French mob, aren’t they?

But it’s tops, bloody tops. It takes a lot to get Catholics excited. We just hope that the show society doesn’t go broke over it, that’s the main thing. Narrabri, which is the head of the shire, tried to grab the show and bring it back to Narrabri. That really stirred things up. That goes on all the time – animosity between the towns. They hate us ‘cause we flog them on the football field.”

The people of main street

From midday onwards, the main street of Wee Waa was all systems go. The butcher advertised random access rissoles and daft pork sausages and the bakery (or “hot bread shop”, as the sign out the front declared) promised daft pies and the chance to “punk up” your coffee or milkshake. In the bakery, one local mused over the meaning behind Daft Punk. “I don’t mind punk music these days,” he began, before launching into details of an intervie with Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten he heard on the ABC recently. “Anti-authority, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?”

A couple of doors down, mayor Conrad Bolton was fielding questions from townsfolk in the newsagent. Eight-year-old Kelly led the line of questioning: “Are Daft Punk real?”

Read our report of the launch at Wee Waa Showgrounds, with a full photo gallery from the night.