Whereas Daft Punk’s break-up might have been sudden, the enigmatic nature in how the general public have been notified was predictable. Introduced by way of the digital duo’s YouTube channel, an add titled Epilogue turned out to be a scene lifted from their 2006 Electroma movie, alongside a vocal borrowed from a observe on 2013’s Random Entry Recollections album.
The pivotal desert scene includes a extended trek by the duo of their immediately recognisable helmets and culminates in a single self-destructing whereas the opposite walks away. Persevering with then what’s the pair’s time-honoured choice for ambiguity, it signifies a finale whereas refraining from disclosing the express particulars.
Over the previous 28 years, Thomas Bangalter and Man-Manuel de Homem-Christo (the lads behind the helmets) developed a fancy and counterintuitive communication technique. It was an strategy that noticed the pair hiding behind their alter-egos however occurring to beat the world of digital music on the identical time.
Because the extra vocal of the 2, Bangalter has indicated that this methodology was basic to Daft Punk’s self-preservation. “In the event you can keep protected and get observed then it’s all good”, he instructed journalist Suzanne Ely in 2006. What started with Bangalter and de Homem-Christo utilizing numerous masks to cover their discomfort inside photoshoots – obscuring quite than projecting a particular picture – was finally resolved once they reinvented themselves as androids.
Just like the digital group Kraftwerk earlier than them, these cyborgs additional celebrated the digital, automated traits of their music, whereas on the identical time orchestrated a mythology along with expertise’s all-pervasive affect.
Bangalter even introduced an origins story during which he claimed that the duo’s look was the results of an accident. Particularly, that the explosion of an digital music sampler in 1999 had reworked them into their robotic alter egos. But alongside this superhero model, Daft Punk additionally cited the conversion as being their response to fame.
Florian Schneider and Kraftwerk helped form the sound of recent music
“We don’t imagine within the star system,” Bangalter said. “We would like the main target to be on the music. If we have now to create a picture, it should be a man-made picture. That mixture hides our physicality and in addition reveals our view of the star system. It isn’t a compromise.”
On this sense, I imagine Daft Punk have change into an instance of an “anti-celebrity celeb”. But regardless of what they may have claimed, with area excursions and cameos in Disney films, Bangalter and de Homem-Christo have been removed from being “nameless”.
Theirs was a stance fraught with contradiction – and one possibly acquainted to many working in arts and tradition who discover their rejection of shopper tradition working inside the identical market-driven constraints. In Daft Punk’s case, it resulted in typically uneasy relationships such because the robots’ involvement in world promoting campaigns, and plenty of Daft Punk interviews issued by media shops that repeatedly assured us that they hardly ever give interviews.
The pair’s press engagement has been notably cultivated to take care of this “media reluctance” narrative. And it turned a mutually helpful association, perpetuating Daft Punk’s anti-stardom place whereas additionally enabling publications to assert they’d an unique.
For an viewers that will equally be suspicious of media saturation – and what it could possibly point out by way of “promoting out” – this notion of Daft Punk’s interplay being uncommon, intimate and detached to the supposed calls for of trade may additionally have been engaging.
Maybe French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu had it proper when he mentioned that income may be derived from “disinterestedness”. Certainly Daft Punk’s advertising succeeded due to its highlighted rejection of the obvious, unromantic mechanisms of commerce.
The Epilogue video message is then a becoming finish, highlighting remoteness and attachment, anonymity and familiarity, and all delivered by a self-destructing robotic with no accompanying press launch. It aptly concludes Daft Punk’s legacy of technology-assisted public engagement. Over and out.
Daniel Cookney doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or organisation that might profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their tutorial appointment.