This year Daft Punk released their fourth album Random Access Memories, an album so marvelous it landed at No. 23 on our Best Albums of 2013 list. And though it may seem like Daft Punk have always been influencers within electronic music who re-define the genre from behind elaborate helmets, they weren’t always such mysterious beings. Once upon a time, they were two 20-somethings from France just trying to craft a public image that accurately reflected the spirit of their music. That time, to be specific, was the year 2000 in the-run up their sophomore classic Discovery. Now fans are granted an exclusive look at Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo’s robotic origin story via Thump.
In a 2000 interview with Piers Martin conducted in Hollywood for the now defunct FACE Magazine, Daft Punk talk about how they evolved into robots and what that identity means for them, their debut album Homework, and the making of Discovery.
Read excerpts from the interview below, and view an image from the story as well as scans of the transcript above.
On becoming robots:
Thomas: Why have we become robots? Because I dunno, we were just in the studio, it has something to do with the ninth of September ’99, there is the 9999 bug and at some point we were doing a track and our sampler crashed and it exploded and there were sparks and we were hurt a little bit so we had to make a little surgery and then we became robots. So the robots are definitely us, yes…I think it was meant to be at some point.
On the robots’ meaning:
Thomas: The fact that they can express themselves through screens is pretty much the whole point of it, much more than just a piece of metal or a funky design is that there is a screen and a screen can be filled with anything. So they have emotions…Even though it’s a limited design as words or drawings, we can express…You’ve got the infinitive thing even though it’s just a little square.
On how being robots shapes Daft Punk’s music:
Thomas: Our life as robots has shown us a lot of different things and I think we took a lot of these robot experiences for having you know different events on our everyday life have influenced the music…I think there was a link with pretty much every track on the album, so though every track on the album can be interpreted in many ways, they’re also a little bit about different experiences or different things happening to us as robots…The circuitry in [the helmets] is from 1982, so…they are pretty much old-fashioned. But it’s a mix of old and new, it’s pretty much like the music, just a mix of old and new and future and past, whatever, and present.
Read the full interview, including Piers Martin’s notes, at Thump.