Daft Punk discuss Random Access Memories, tour plans, collaboration with Kanye West


    daft punk 2013

    Reporting live from the Daft Punk news desk: It’s been a whirlwind days of news, beginning with the debut of the group’s new video, followed by images of the duo modeling their new suits. Now, Rolling Stone’s Jonah Weiner has posted an extensive interview with Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, in which they discuss their new album Random Access Memories for the first time.

    Among the revelations made about the album:

    — Daft Punk has been recording Random Access Memories since 2008. The pair was dissatisfied with early demos, which leaned heavily on electronic equipment, and ultimately adopted a more organic approach. “We wanted to do what we used to do with machines and samplers but with people,” Bangalter explained to Rolling Stone.

    — As a result, the album features just one sample (on the final track, “Contact”) and drum machines appear on just two of the album’s 13 tracks. In fact, as Weiner explains, “the only electronics come in the form of a massive, custom-built modular synthesizer that Daft Punk played live on the album, they told me, and an arsenal of vintage vocoders on which they manually manipulated factors like pitch, vibrato and legato.”


    — The album was recorded in Paris, Los Angeles, and New York, and features Pharrell Williams, The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas, Giorgio Moroder, and Animal Collective’s Panda Bear as guest vocalists, Chic frontman Nile Rodgers on rhythm guitar, and “top-notch session players” who previously recorded with Michael Jackson, Herbie Hancock, and Eric Clapton.

    — Explained de Homem-Christo: “The Seventies and the Eighties are the tastiest era for us… It’s not that we can’t make crazy futuristic sounding stuff, but we wanted to play with the past.”

    — Album track titles include “Get Lucky” (which was previewed last night at Coachella), “Lose Yourself to Dance”, and “Closer”.


    Other noteworthy tidbits:

    — Daft Punk have no current plans to tour behind the album. Bangalter told Rolling Stone: “We want to focus everything on the act and excitement of listening to the album. We don’t see a tour as an accessory to an album.” However, Weiner reports that when they do finally hit the road, the pair plan to play “a career-encompassing set list, not one overly focused on the new material.”

    — While in Paris, Daft Punk hit the studio with Kanye West to work on his next album. Weiner reports that the pair “laid down a combination of live and programmed drums while Kanye worked out rough vocals on the fly. Kanye has since offered Daft Punk collaborator Michel Gondry a preview of two songs from the sessions, and he told Rolling Stone that Kanye also told him he’s already enlisted Chris Cunningham to direct the video.

    — Daft Punk are ambivalent to popular EDM music: “Electronic music right now is in its comfort zone and it’s not moving one inch,” Bangalter told Rolling Stone. “That’s not what artists are supposed to do.”


    — Lastly, Daft Punk was at Coachella last night, watching from the VIP section as their new video aired across the festival grounds. So maybe, just maybe they’ll hit the stage with Phoenix tonight? We shall see.