Romanthony: DJ and producer who sang for Daft Punk


The house music DJ, producer and singer Romanthony possessed such an emotive, warm, soulful voice that it could withstand any treatment and still touch listeners and club-goers in a unique way. Most famously, his distinctive vocals survived the auto-tune processing the French electronic music duo Daft Punk put them through in order to create the euphoric “One More Time”, the worldwide smash that took their career to another level in 2000.

“We thought the funkiness of his voice would fit the funkiness of the music,” said Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, while his Daft Punk partner Thomas Bangalter stressed that the technology-savvy Romanthony, himself an advocate of aural torture and the occasional edgy frequency, enjoyed the result. “He had done a lot of different things and he always tried to innovate, which is what we like to do on our records. He never had his voice treated like an instrument like that.”

Daft Punk, long-standing admirers of Romanthony, had already name-checked him on “Teachers” on their 1997 debut Homework, when they met him at the Winter Music Conference in Miami. “He told us he was into what we were doing, which made us very happy,” said Bangalter. “We wanted to invite him to sing with us because he makes emotional music.” Romanthony also composed the lyrics for “One More Time” and “Too Long”, the 10-minute closing track on Daft Punk’s 2001 multi-million-selling album Discovery. He co-produced and sang lead on “Too Long”, delivering an untreated performance much closer to his own recordings, in particular the uplifting single “Hold On”, issued on Bangalter’s Roulé label in 1999.

Born Anthony Moore in 1967, he grew up in New Jersey. His parents saw his musical aptitude and he was encouraged to take music lessons and learn the guitar. This instilled a love of melody and songwriting that remained a constant and made him a natural match for Daft Punk, who undoubtedly drew inspiration from his eerie, dreamy 1994 single “The Wanderer”. He explained: “I’m in the techno genre but my influences come from the timeless acts: Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, Kraftwerk, Prince. That’s what’s in my heart and my soul. But I like the technology. Blending the two together, timeless songs, the sound of techno, filtering the bass. It all goes into my sound and makes it what I do.”

He took up the Romanthony name to avoid confusion with the British Anthony Moore, the experimental composer, keyboard-player and a founder member of the 1970s avant-rock pioneers Slapp Happy. This was necessary because Romanthony’s recordings – in a variety of styles ranging from garage to deep house via hip-hop and techno – found a much wider audience in the UK and continental Europe than in the US. His remarkable attention to detail and tendency to work at his own pace and exert strict quality control, traits he shared with Daft Punk, meant that he wasn’t prolific but he proved as innovative and influential as the more ubiquituous deadmau5, Justice or Boys Noize. The infectious tracks he produced for Eve Angel in the mid-1990s have endured better than many of the so-called club classics currently revived by Dave Pearce on his Radio 2 Saturday programme Dance Years.

While Daft Punk have not been photographed without their robot helmets since 1995, Romanthony remained as elusive and turned down major label deals. His anonymity was helped by the fact that the fictional interstellar band in the video for “One More Time”, pictured in a Japanese anime style, bear no resemblance to the performers. The Discovery album was turned into a full-length anime musical film, Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem, by Leiji Matsumoto and the Toei Animation studio.

“The success of ‘One More Time’ changed my life in a lot of ways,” said Romanthony, who was seldom interviewed but was filmed in Berlin for Slices – The Electronic Music Magazine. “It gave me a chance to step back and look at how a machine like Virgin really works a song. It’s marketed, it’s pushed, it’s promoted. It was part of that for once. I took time to just sit back and let the machine drive itself and I was in it, instead of me calling the distributors. The underground is overground. From Mariah Carey to Kanye West, dance music is popular music now.” He died of kidney disease.

Anthony Moore (Romanthony), singer, songwriter, producer and DJ: born New Jersey 1947; died Austin 7 May 2013.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Lettings and Sales Negotiator - OTE £46,000

£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Worker - Reading and Surrounding Areas

£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn