Details on one of the most secretive releases in recent years, Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories are starting to come in thick and fast. Rolling Stone have featured an exclusive chat with French creative partners-in-crime Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo as the world once again prepares to go Daft Punk crazy.
As it turns out, the pair have been heads down, bums up on the album since 2008, testament to just how sneaky they truly are. As the story goes, they started the project with no clear blueprint of what they wanted to achieve. “After three records, there was a sense of searching for a record we hadn’t done,” they told Rolling Stone, “We wanted to do what we used to do with machines and samplers…but with people.”
In terms of samples used on the album, it appears they’ve only used one – strangely enough from “an Australian rock record” mashed into the final track, Contact.
Once momentum started to flow, the album became a vessel to explore their fascination with the parallels between human kind and robot kind, with Random Access Memories referencing both computer hardware and the bizarre patterns by which people store their memories. So that explains that.
Another consistent theme on the record is nostalgia. Tagging the legendary Nile Rodgers who handles rhythm guitar on some of the tracks, they explain, “The ’70s and the ’80s 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.”
As previously reported, the album features works with Pharrell, Julian Casablancas, Giorgio Moroder, and Animal Collective’s Panda Bear, and in the piece Pharrell shed light on how this all came about:
“We were at a party for Madonna’s last album,” further recalling that he was “like, You guys should have produced this! Why did that not happen? Madonna and the robots would have been unbelievable! They were like; we’re working on something. I said, whatever you do, call me – I’ll play tambourine on it. They looked at each other and they were like, we’ll be in touch.”
From there, Pharrell lent his vocals to two tracks including Get Lucky and soon-to-be club hit Lose Yourself to Dance.
If the absence of Kanye West has you concerned, it’s all good. Rather than featuring on their release, it looks as though they will be featuring on his. Kanye joined the pair at their Paris studio where they lay down the beat, and he worked on the lyrics, “It was very raw: he was rapping – kind of screaming primally, actually,” Thomas says. “Kanye doesn’t give a fuck,” Guy-Manuel adds. “He’s a good friend.”
Daft Punk have been highly inspired by the stagnant state of modern day EDM, expressing their concerns for a genre that “is in its comfort zone and it’s not moving one inch,” but give a tip of the hat to Skrillex:
“He has a recognizable sound: You hear a dubstep song, even if it’s not him, you think it’s him.”
Even though they’re just about to begin the new album cycle, it seems the pair have “no current plans” to take the show on the road. Opting to rather “focus everything on the act and excitement of listening to the album. We don’t see a tour as an accessory to an album.”
The global launch party for Random Access Memories will be happening in Wee Waa in the coming weeks. Tickets have all been sold but chances are you’ll get the same kick with less douchebags just pumping it from your desk speakers at home.