From house pioneers to electronic trailblazers to mainstream sensations, Daft Punk has proven to be one of the world’s most iconic dance music duos. With their first singles and debut album Homework (now celebrating its 25th year anniversary), Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo have turned heads and gained great influence in their trade. Their talent for combining their favorite subgenres and composing novel, futuristic forms of music styles has shown their audience true innovation and creativity. Though they have constantly reshaped their sound, Daft Punk exists as a proper leader in the growth of pop music.
Bangalter and de Homem-Christo both attended Paris' Lycée Carnot in 1987, which is where they forged a friendship and began creating music. In 1992, they formed the band Darlin'. Darlin's career was short-lived, their music described as "a daft punky thrash" in a Melody Maker review that broke up the band. However, soon after their band’s demise, Bangalter and de Homem-Christo began experimenting with electronic music, creating their new alias from that same negative review and drawing inspiration from tastemakers in the industry such as Todd Edwards, Juan Atkins, Kraftwerk, and many more.
It was the demo Daft Punk readied for Soma Records in September 1993 that changed their lives. Soma issued the pair's premiere single, "The New Wave," in 1994 which was quickly followed by the duo’s first smash hit “Da Funk” in 1995. Once these singles dropped, Daft Punk was experiencing high praise in the industry by the electronic dance music press in being labeled as a new breed of house innovators. Because of their success, in 1996, Daft Punk signed with Virgin. The discography that follows is unprecedented. Daft Punk’s 1997 debut album, Homework, was created and produced at their Paris studio they named Daft House and was a pivotal, commercial success. Their next production, Discovery, was released in 2001 and incorporated an array of genres into a polished, futuristic sound. Album three, 2005's Human After All, was an intensely raw track list that was motivated by the work of another great artist, George Orwell. Then came their fourth album, Alive 2007, which showcased Daft Punk's most bold live sets. The album and its single "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" won Grammy Awards in 2009. Shortly after that, Daft Punk released more new music in 2010 for Joseph Kosinski's film Tron: Legacy. The pair had a special appearance in the film as well. Daft Punk’s fourth album, Random Access Memories (2013), was a work in which the artists emphasized live instrumentation and artist collaboration. The album became Daft Punk’s greatest commercial success, encapsulating different influences from disco to indie to progressive rock. It topped the charts in more than 20 countries and became their first number one album, eventually platinum certified.
As for the late 2010s, Daft Punk kept active. They produced a pair of songs with the Weeknd on his album, Starboy (2016). The next year, Bangalter and de Homem-Christo performed with the Weeknd at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards. Later in 2017 and 2018, Daft Punk worked on separate projects. In 2019, they were featured in the Philharmonie de Paris' exhibition Electro. Then in February of 2021, with a special YouTube video to break the news, the duo disbanded. Although the two are now split, their legacy will live on and continue to emit its powerful influence, motivating artists’ inventiveness and expanding the future of electric pop music.