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    Swedish Daft Punk interview - POP, april 1997

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    Guys, guys! I just found the most amazing old Swedish Daft Punk interview from April 1997. It's really long and full of good stuff.

    http://popviminns.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/daft-punk-2/


    The English translation by me can be found below, in my next comment.



    Since I don't know English from the inside out, I don't mind if you point out weird sentences and such. I'll be happy to correct any errors.
    Last edited by Ridley; 24th Sep 2012 at 00:17. Reason: Translation is up!

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    Re: Swedish Daft Punk interview - POP, april 1997

    Wow, it's a long article! A full translation will definitely earn you some rep from me can't wait to read it!

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    Translation



    Thomas and Guy-Man recorded mixtapes for each other and started a rock band which they named after a Beach Boys song. At a rave with Andrew Weatherall at the Centre Pompidou, they found the new dance music. They started listening to Fréquence Gaie and got a sampler from Thomas’ disco producing dad. Now they weave their beats on dreams of glossy black streets, skyscrapers and red light. Fredrik Strage follows Daft Punk from their bedroom around the world via the Champs Élysées.

    The house rhythm echoes far down the elevator shaft. The fifth floor of the house on Rue Garnier, next to Pont De Neuilly, is full of rowdy youngsters, liquor bottles and stuffed animals. Daft Punk and their entourage are pre-partying in a studio once used to dub Disney movies. In an hour, they’re DJing at the classic gay club Queen. Admission is free but everyone must bring a toy as a Christmas present to poor suburban kids.

    German house maestro DJ Tonka stands behind the turntables, a record in one hand and a small teddy bear in the other, and sways his head. A female friend in tight leather pants is clinging to him, nagging about weed. Four other Germans mess about in front of a video camera. Thomas Bangalter, the tall and talkative half of Daft Punk, hurries back and forth exchanging words with friends and people who want to be his friends. Guy-Manuel de Homem Christo, Thomas' partner who most people call "Guy-Man", stands in a corner sucking on a cigarette without ever ashing it. He has a completely dead "Johnny Thunders" look in his eyes and does not say a word until I show him a small, red Ferrari model that I bought for the suburban kids.

    Studio owner Eric Chêdeville, who recently founded the label Crydamoure along with Guy-Manuel, tries to impress a girl dressed in black by showing of the studios' Moog synths and mixer tables. He eventually gives up and leaves the control room to pick up someone else. The Germans with the video camera are filming a blonde blowing smoke rings. One of them is waving with a little green elephant in front of the camera. Everyone laughs.

    - Hey, tout le monde! Everybody! We have to go now, Thomas shouts.

    A moment later we are sitting opposite each other in a subway car. Thomas has one arm around his girlfriend and in his lap lies Tigger, Winnie the Pooh's friend, staring at me with big plush eyes.

    Thomas talks music.

    - Anyone who only buys techno should listen to Toni Braxton. She beats all. "You're Makin' 'Me High" is the best single I've heard in years. Soft, simple and intense at the same time. "Oh, I get so hot when I'm around you baby" (he hums the melody) ... have you ever heard anything better?

    We get off at the station George V and run up to the Champs Élysées. Christmas lights on the main street stretch like a huge, glittering garland toward the horizon. Guy-Manuel is behind us, shivering in a thin hooded sweatshirt. Thomas smiles when he spots the crowd outside Queen. He walks determinedly across the street without worrying about cars. With the record bag and Tigger ready, he hurries past the queue and into the disco.

    Ten hours earlier at the Daft Trax Office in Montmartre. The clerk Pedro tries to sort all the papers being spat out by the fax machine; hundreds of messages from club owners, journalists, festival organizers, record companies, pop stars, DJs and fans who want to get in touch with the duo. The phone rings incessantly. Messengers run in and out the door with packages. Thomas and Guy-Manuel equipped the office using money from the Virgin record label that won the war over them last year. Here they're trying to get the Daft Punk carousel spinning in the right direction. They design album covers and flyers, select the coolest clubs to DJ at, run the solo labels Crydamoure and Roule and manipulate their faces on press images so that they look like frogs, E.T. and bacteria.

    - We didn't really want to make albums, says Thomas. Singles are more fun. We would never have done "Homework" if we did not get to decide everything ourselves. Something can easily go wrong when a large company pokes its nose in things. We want the company to press our records and distribute them. Nothing more.

    - We realized that we should be cautious when fools started calling. The kind who never listen to our music, but say that they love us and can turn us into stars. A few years ago we would have listened to them. Then we wanted to record an album, become famous and get lots of chicks. But who is happy with that in the long run? Now we just want to spread our music to as many people as possible. That's what "Around the World" is about. We hope that there's a kid in every country digging Daft Punk in their freestyle.

    "Homework" was created from start to finish in Thomas' bedroom. That's where the Dafts twisted up all of their songs. They have simple equipment; sampler, computer, Portastudio and headphones to not disturb the neighbors.

    - We are terrified of seeming like studio freaks, Thomas continues. You always run into nerds who boast about having sleeping bags in the studio, recording the garbage truck down the street, working until six in the morning and mixing a single sound for ten weeks. Who cares?

    - The important thing is that it sounds good. We have not spent a lot of time on "Homework". Maybe eight hours a week for five months. We have no need to make music every day. The sooner we're finished, the better.

    - On the other hand, maybe we've been working on this album for our entire lives, Guy-Manuel objects. It's our first album. I think we have stored experiences and gathered ideas for it since we were born. One can prepare something without being aware of it.

    A typical Guy-Man reply. He always seems to think in more abstract ways than his self-confident partner.

    - We chose the title "Homework" because you always do your homework at home in the bedroom, Thomas explains. Also, we see it as practice for our upcoming records. We might as well have called it "Lesson" or "Learning".

    - Now that we have more money to spend, it's important to keep the number of machines at a minimum, he continues. It is tempting to buy unnecessary gadgets. Every time I make a new song I put away the machines that I don't need in a cabinet. That way I know that the music will be simple.

    Thomas repeats the word "simple" over and over. Whatever he's talking about. The dizzying filter effects - that make Daft Punk's records sound like they are exploding in the next room - he considers the easiest of all the ingredients.

    - We could garnish our music with a lot of sounds that fills no purpose. Then people wouldn't complain about it being monotonous. But it's the monotony that gives the songs their power. A "ta-ta-ta-tam" played over and over again never sounds exactly the same. The brain perceives it differently each time. The arrangements that we put effort into does not appear until you have gotten into the rhythm properly.

    The office is located on the deserted Rue Durantin. A small old woman stands on the staircase across the street, staring at everyone who walks by. I greet her and she whispers that someone is sneaking around on the street poisoning the dogs. Other than that, all is calm. Daft Punk have lived in this neighborhood their entire lives. This is where they met in eighth grade at College Carnot, an upper class school which had Jacques Chirac among their students.

    - Guy-Manuel recorded mixtapes for me. That was how we started hanging out. He listened to Jimi Hendrix and The Doors. But we were more interested in films than music. Each week, we went to the movies. We re-watched "The Lost Boys" several times. I liked the teenage vampires in that movie. They had nice leather jackets and in the cave where they lived there was a large poster of Jim Morrison. Cool.

    - I made my first song with an exchange student from Australia, says Guy-Manuel. We got help from the school bully, an older guy who liked Suicide, and together we played weird, bad rock. Everything came to an end when the bully was kicked out of school and the other guy went back home.

    Guy-Manuel was also forced to quit school because his grades were too poor. At that time he and Thomas had already formed the guitar band Darlin' which by the autumn of 1992 found the new dance music.

    - It was a rave at Centre Pompidou. Andrew Weatherall was DJing, Thomas recalls. People danced without knowing any of the songs. That's still the thing that I appreciate the most in clubs. The music is something you step into to feel good. Not something bland being chopped up into five-minute chunks by people with electric guitars.

    - The first rave nights made a huge impression, says Guy-Manuel. You queue outside in the cold and feel the vibrations from the club, then you get inside and discover a world that you never thought existed.

    They liked The Orb, The Shamen and 808 State. In the evenings, they would tune in to the gay radio channel Fréquence Gaie who played hard, grinding house. When they decided to make music they got a sampler as a gift from Thomas' father, disco producer Daniel Vangarde who in the seventies made club anthems like The Gibson Brothers "Cuba" and Ottowans "D.I.S.C.O.".

    - Dad never saw himself as an artist. He is very 1968 and loathes the commercial part of the music industry. He hates all kinds of institutions. At home there was a guitar and a piano, but he went to the studio to work. We never played together. He would probably prefer that I did something else. Like throwing stones at the police.
    Last edited by Ridley; 24th Sep 2012 at 00:31.

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    Translation continued

    *****

    The media circus surrounding Daft Punk has made them figureheads of the entire French dance culture. They are routinely mentioned every time someone from the Ministry of Culture questions that 400 riot police crushed 300 dancing youngsters (which actually happened in Bordeaux last summer [1996]) or when newspapers like La Liberation report about drugs on raves.

    - It doesn’t bother us, says Thomas. You have to choose a side. The government has already lost control. A few years ago, most young people went out to have a beer and watch a rock band. Now they go out to dance. Oddly, dance music in this country became good only when Chirac came along with his riot police. It motivates. You get something to fight against.

    Daft Punk feel a connection to the party wave that sweeps over France, but their music has little to do with the intense stupid trance of the parties. Their bulldozer "Rollin '& Scratchin'" was a hit in the southern parts of the country. The rest is going too slow.

    They don't have much in common with the dance music in Paris either. Motorbass, Dimitri From Paris, Zend Avesta, The Mighty Bop, Air and most others who have been praised by the dance press make warmer, jazzier and less physical music. They have the same upper-class background and past in rock bands as Thomas and Guy-Manuel, but are drawn to kitschy cocktail harmonies from the sixties and seventies.

    *****

    Daft Punk's naked power disco always pounds in the present tense. With ears and eyes facing toward the other side of the Atlantic.

    Wim Wenders, the German film director, has written about how he sits in a hotel room in New York watching TV for a week. He hates everything he sees - a long, brain dead flow of Fanta commercials, rock videos, talk shows, game shows, monster movies and explosions - but stays in front of the screen ... like an animal paralyzed by fear in the headlights on the highway at night.

    "Dream of America", as Wenders calls his text, is a bashing of the entire American TV culture. But it also shows the magnetism of the great country in the West. The one that have caught Billy Wilder, Keith Richards, Greta Garbo, Thomas Mann, Bobby Gillespie and millions of other Europeans for 200 years. People who think that their own continent is a gray godforsaken place.

    In 1997, Daft Punk dream of America. Not because they want to move there, but to capture a mood that permeates all of the songs, movies, TV shows and newspapers that they enjoy.

    In the liner notes of "Homework" they even created a fictional American upbringing for themselves. There is a desk covered in stuff; a can of Dr. Pepper, an issue of karate comic Iron Fist, homework notebooks, a Playboy mag from 1979, stickers with Led Zeppelin and The Who, an Andy Gibb mug, a compilation album of teenager pop from the seventies, the Bible, a tour poster from a Kiss concert in New Jersey 1976, photographs of Thomas and Guy-Manuel as kids, a brass statue resembling the American eagle, an old portable gramophone, a Chic single and two Maryland cookies.



    This is what Daft Punk wishes that their boys' rooms looked like. They wish they were born in East Village 1967 instead of in Montmartre 1975. They wish they were the Beastie Boys.

    That attitude makes them unique on the French music scene, where the old chanson tradition results in artists rarely or never embracing rock'n'roll. Serge Gainsbourg did it. He adored disco, reggae, soul and pop, and wrote "New York USA", a tribute to the skyscrapers and hustle and bustle of The Big Apple.

    The video directed by Spike Jonze for Daft Punk's hit single "Da Funk" is their own energetic view on America. First an intersection where taxis speed past as yellow lightning and people rush past each other. After that the text “Daft Punk Presents Big City Nights", and then the camera follows a man walking around town with a plaster on his leg and a boom box playing "Da Funk". He is clumsy, naive and has a huge dog's head. A bizarre outsider somewhere between Goofy and "Taxi Driver". A music lover who nobody cares about.

    Daft Punk's idea of America is perhaps only a bunch of myths from the entertainment industry, but that is the kind of myths that build classic pop music.

    When I interviewed them for the first time two years ago, they said that their music would fit in one of Brian De Palma's seventies films. "In a nightclub scene. When it's all smoky and full of red lights and people dancing."

    Now Thomas and Guy-Manuel manage to tuck the same city fantasies into their beats. And it doesn’t sound retro in the slightest. Using the sampler they clear the influences of their origin until they are only a wild musical energy.

    The album's intro "WDPK 83.7 FM" is a pastiche of American FM radio. A twisted, excited salesman's voice presents the album as if it's a new flavor of potato chips.

    - The radio in Los Angeles is fantastic, says Thomas. We were there a few months ago and as soon as you would sit in a car you would hear "boom boom boom". You're caught off guard by that massive bass. Maybe the American radio uses extra powerful sound to drown out the car engines. It's wonderful, anyway.

    The duo experiences the same bass feast when they listen to contemporary black music. They love Marshall Jefferson, Mr. Fingers, Lil' Louis and other house gurus. But it's R & B and rap that Thomas is passionate about right now.

    - Despite all the bad boy clichés I love almost everything. "Gangstas Make the World Go Round" by Westside Connection, "How Do U Want It?" by 2Pac, Nas and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are brilliant. Snoop Doggy Dogg's latest one is also underrated. Among the R & B stuff I love Babyface's album "The Day".

    - I'm not turned on by all the "love in the shower, yeah baby"-parts but the production is wonderfully minimalistic. Babyface just need a strong bass, vocals and some strings to make it sound fantastic. Or take "Waterfalls" by TLC for example. How great is that? I can’t imagine anything more minimalistic. I find more inspiration in black American pop than the latest techno 12"s.

    They wrote "Da Funk" after listening to Californian G-funk for weeks.

    - It was at the same time as Warren G's "Regulate" came out, says Thomas. We wanted to make some kind of gangsta rap too and made the sounds as dirty as possible. Strangely, no one ever compared it to hip hop. We have been told that the drums sound like Queen and The Clash, that the melody is reminiscent of Giorgio Moroder, that the synths sounds like electro and a thousand other things. No one agrees that it's hip hop.

    Despite the interest in ghetto grooves Daft Punk have no contact with the French rap scene. The gap between techno and hip hop is greater in Paris than in London; the dance music is made by a small brat pack from fine families in Versailles and the inner city, while the rappers come from Arab and African neighborhoods of concrete. MC Solaar is famous enough to slip between both worlds. But when the white DJ Chris The French Kiss needed a rapper for The Mighty Bop's jazzy "L’Élément Manquant" he had to nag for weeks before tough guy Ménélik agreed to help.

    - We would like to work with those rappers if they did something in English, says Thomas. But I don't think they care about us.

    *****

    Primal Scream is playing on the Élysée Monmartre, spring 1994. Up front at the riot fence stands a stoned Guy-Manuel screaming. He emphasizes his chest so that the band will notice his Love shirt and when guitarist Throb waves in acknowledgment he screams even louder.

    - "Screamadelica" was a kick, says Guy-Manuel. I sat at home for several days playing "Loaded" over and over again. But I didn't start to love Primal Scream for real until Bobby Gillespie said in an interview that "Darlin'" was the best song by the Beach Boys. For years I had thought that I was alone in thinking that.

    "Darlin'", a two-minute pop symphony with an energetic brass section, was the first song that Thomas and Guy-Manuel learned to play and they named their rock band after it. Even though they nowadays jam on TB-303:s, Brian Wilson is their role model. He is quoted in the liner notes of "Homework": I wanted to write joyful music that made other people feel good. Music that helps and heals, because I believe that music is God's voice.

    - You don't have to be religious to agree with that, Guy-Manuel comments. There is a magic in Beach Boys' songs that make them greater than other rock bands. They have more heart. Only Love and Arthur Lee have given me the same feeling. He played in Paris four years ago, all alone with a guitar and a pair of sunglasses, and didn't even seem to know what planet he was on. But it was good. Completely paralyzing.

    - If the rock music of today found its way back to that happy feeling, if it really sounded like the voice of God, it would be worth listening to. But it's probably pointless to wish for something like that.

    Guy-Manuel lights another cigarette before he continues.

    - I was watching TV last night and happened to see an interview with the man who made the music for the film "Before the Rain". He said that all music should strive to be universal, and that the only way to succeed in that was to relax when you write it, letting the sounds come about by themselves.

    How?

    - I think he means that music that is truly magical will never come from yourself but out of thin air. At least that's how it should feel. Like when you ponder over a problem and suddenly the solution is there as if it flew into the head by itself. I feel that all the time. But I also notice that it's less and less important to listen to new music to be able to play. Sometimes a song gets stuck in your head and is purely distracting.

    - I understand why Orson Welles stopped watching films in order to concentrate on his own productions. Once you have seen the colors you should use them instead of continuing to admire them.

    Don't you need any new influences?

    - Not right now, Thomas replies. We know precisely what we're doing and what we want. Why would we change course? I know that Daft Punk will make people happy for many years.

    At Queen that same evening, that's exactly what they're doing. Thousands of young people are jumping beneath the large glitter ball of the club while Thomas and Guy-Manuel let the turntable needles go through house from Chicago, hip hop from the Bronx and acid screams from hell. Later in the small hours, they play a raw version of their single "Musique". Queen explodes.


    "Bangalter! Bangalter! Bangalter! And the blurry one! The blurry one!
    The blurry one! (The blurry one is to the right.)"


    And an electric voice screams through the traffic noise of the Champs Élysées.

    Music. Music. Music.


    Written by Fredrik Strage

    Translation from Swedish to English by Sir Ridley, EXCLU for The Daft Club


    Please link to this thread if you want to use this text somewhere else.

    Source:
    http://popviminns.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/daft-punk-2/
    Last edited by Ridley; 24th Sep 2012 at 00:38.

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    Re: Swedish Daft Punk interview - POP, april 1997

    that was amazing to read I really miss some interviews sometimes..

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    Re: Translation continued

    Quote Originally Posted by Ridley View Post
    *****

    Later in the small hours, they play a raw version of their single "Musique". Queen explodes.


    And an electric voice screams through the traffic noise of the Champs Élysées.

    Music. Music. Music.
    i sense new bootleg

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    Re: Swedish Daft Punk interview - POP, april 1997

    best mag atricle and best cover ever! the rest of the mag is also a great read! x

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    Re: Swedish Daft Punk interview - POP, april 1997

    This article was so nice to read and the cover is amazing, never seen one of these pictures of Daft Punk before.

    I have to scan my articles, too. So I can show you all of them

    Showing some of my magazines in my YouTube-Channel. (youtube.com/frenchrobots)
    Check it out and subscribe ;-)

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    Re: Swedish Daft Punk interview - POP, april 1997

    wow! ihave have been inactive for sometime now. I had to log on to give you rep for your bringing and translating this amazing interview. it get so much more insite of dp life back in the early days. especially guy-man. guy-man screaming? too much.

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    Re: Swedish Daft Punk interview - POP, april 1997

    Quote Originally Posted by daftdarlin View Post
    wow! ihave have been inactive for sometime now. I had to log on to give you rep for your bringing and translating this amazing interview. it get so much more insite of dp life back in the early days. especially guy-man. guy-man screaming? too much.
    Thank you, it's a pleasure to be able to give something like this to other Daft Punk fans.

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