By now it’s old news that Daft Punk tagged a motley crew of collaborators for their fourth studio album, Random Access Memories. Nile Rodgers, Pharrell Williams, Panda Bear, Julian Casablancas, Todd Edwards, DJ Falcon, Chilly Gonzales, Paul Williams, and the loveable ol’ Giorgio Moroder all make up the laundry list of five-star talent. Though, if you’re familiar with the French duo’s fascinating and sometimes confusing history, you’ll know they’ve been hosts to enviable company in years past. On the off chance that you didn’t know, we thought we’d offer a brief tutorial of their past while you listen in on their future.
Before Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter donned their helmets to become Daft Punk, and prior to Laurent Brancowitz joining his younger brother Christian Mazzalai to complete Phoenix, there was Darlin. Formed in 1992, Bangalter slapped the bass, de Homem-Christo commanded the guitar, and Brancowitz attacked the drums for the Beach Boys-inspired rock group. Releasing just four original songs (which hit the shelves via compilation albums from the Duophonic and Banana Split imprints) and only making two live appearances, Darlin would most likely have been forgotten in the annals of time if the members hadnt gone onto more grandiose endeavors. And as legend has it, if it wasnt for a negative Melody Maker review that dubbed Darlins music “a daft punky thrash”, there may have never been a Daft Punk. -Derek Staples
Daft Punk and Pedro Winter (aka Busy P) – 1996
The saga of Daft Punk could have been much different if not for Pedro Winter (aka Busy P). One year before the duo released their 1997 debut LP, Homework, they met and hired Winter, a fellow DJ/promoter and law-student, as their manager. Within the year, Daft Punk was signed to Atlantic and churning out tracks in preparation of the album. Winter also assisted the duo outside of his managerial duties, as his Art Director credit on 2001’s Discovery attests.
During a lengthy 2012 interview with JAMhouse, Winter stated: I spent 12 years with them [Daft Punk] and I have to say that when we split together, it was more like when you are 18-years-old and your parents are looking at you and its like time to have your own place now you know? And I felt a bit like that with Daft Punk I felt it was about time, you know? And I wanted to start some other things. For the Busy P uninitiated, the other thing is his highly successful Ed Banger record label. -Derek Staples