Daft Punk are calling it quits, having announced their breakup.
On Monday, the French electronic music duo of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter announced the end of their acclaimed project with an eight-minute video titled “Epilogue”. The video contains excerpts from Daft Punk’s 2006 film Electroma — including a scene in which one of the robots blows himself up. Following the explosion, the video displays a frame reading, “1993-2021”.
Daft Punk’s publicist Kathryn Frazier confirmed the group’s split to Pitchfork.
After meeting as students at a Paris secondary school in 1987, Bangalter and Homem-Christo started making music together. They initially formed an indie rock group called Darlin’, but eventually lost interest in the style of music and began experimenting with drum machines and synthesizers. They soon rebranded themselves as Daft Punk — taking their name from a negative review for Darlin’ which labeled the group’s music as “daft punky trash” — and released their debut single “The New Wave” in 1994. Daft Punk’s debut studio album, Homework, featuring the No. 1 single “Around the World”, was released three years later in 1997.
Daft Punk’s sophomore album, Discovery, followed in 2001. By then, the duo had adopted robot costumes and helmets, establishing a visual mythos to go along with their retro-futuristic sound. The album itself was a commercial and critical smash, lauded for its extensive use of sampling alongside live instrumentation. Singles including “One More Time”, “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”, and “Face to Face” would go on to soundtrack dance clubs all over the world for years to come.
Daft Punk put out their third studio album, Human After All, in 2007. The duo supported its release by embarking on their first world tour in 10 years, “Alive”, which saw them perform from within a giant pyramid structure. A live album capturing the tour, Alive 2007, later won the Grammy for Best Electronic/Dance Album.
In 2010, Daft Punk composed the score for Disney’s Tron: Legacy, and also made a cameo in the film. They followed that in 2013 with their fourth and final studio album, Random Access Memories. Opting for a more organic, disco-inspired sound, Bangalter and Homem-Christo recorded the album using drum machines, custom-built modular synthesizer, and vintage vocoders. They were joined in the studio by a bevy of guest contributors, including Nile Rodgers, Giorgio Moroder, Julian Casablancas, Paul Williams, and Pharrell Williams.
Random Access Memories became Daft Punk’s first No. 1 album in the US, selling over 339,000 copies in its first week of release. Its lead single, “Get Lucky”, went No. 1 in 30 countries and remains of the best-selling digital singles of all time. The album later claimed the top prize at the 2014 Grammy Awards.
Daft Punk have remained largely inactive since the release of Random Access Memories, resisting high-dollar offers to headline festivals or embark on another world tour. Their final live appearance came in October 2010, when they were surprise guests during Phoenix’s headlining show at Madison Square Garden. In terms of new recordings, their most recent release came in 2016 when they collaborated with The Weeknd on a pair of tracks for his Starboy album: “Starboy” and “I Feel It Coming”.