Daft Punk split: French duo announce break-up after 28 years

Grammy Award-winning duo helped pioneer the French house scene during the Nineties and have sold millions of albums worldwide

Roisin O'Connor
Monday 22 February 2021 17:22 GMT
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Daft Punk perform at Wireless Festival 2007
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Parisian electronic music duo Daft Punk have announced they are calling it quits after almost three decades.

The pair behind some of the biggest dance and pop hits of all time shared an eight-minute video titled “Epilogue” on their YouTube channel. The clip is an excerpt from their 2006 science-fiction film Electroma.

Pitchfork reports that, asked if the duo were finished, their longtime publicist Kathryn Frazier confirmed the news.

No reason has been given for the split.

Formed in Paris by Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Baltanger in 1993, Daft Punk helped pioneer the French house movement of the Nineties.

The pair met at school as teenagers in the mid-Eighties and initially formed a rock band, Darlin’, with their friend Laurent Brancowitz in 1992.

Their first single famously received a negative review in Melody Maker, in which it was branded “daft punky thrash”, providing the inspiration for their new name.

Brancowitz eventually left and later formed the band Phoenix, while Bangalter and Homem-Christo moved into the electronic music scene as Daft Punk.

They released their debut album, 1997’s Homework, to critical raves and commercial success, including with their hit singles “Around the World” and “Da Funk”.

With the release of their 2001 follow-up, Discovery, the duo began wearing their now-iconic robot outfits in public and in press appearances.

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Over the years the duo have sold millions of records and achieved multiple Grammy wins, including five in 2014 for their album Random Access Memories, which featured collaborations with Nile Rodgers and Pharrell.

The album’s single “Get Lucky” was widely hailed as one of the best songs of the decade, and is now so ubiquitous in pop culture that fans jokingly recommend it to people who “might not have heard it”.

That same year, they had a cameo in Mia Hanson-Love’s feature film Eden, about the dance music scene they helped to pioneer. The film follows an aspiring DJ attempting to navigate the industry.

In their scene, Bangalter and Homem-Christo are shown trying to enter a nightclub, only to be rebuffed by a doorman who doesn’t recognise them out of their robot outfits. The pair also accepted a lower fee for the rights to their music in the film.

The Weeknd with Daft Punk at the Grammys in 2017
The Weeknd with Daft Punk at the Grammys in 2017 (Getty for NARAS)

In 2010, they made their film score debut for sci-fi movie Tron: Legacy.

Daft Punk had kept a relatively low profile since the release of Random Access Memories, with the exception of their work with The Weeknd on two tracks from his 2016 album, Starboy: “I Feel it Coming” and the title track.

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