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    Re: Nouvel Obs - Obsession - Daft Punk commenting tracks [Translated]

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    Full translation (possible typos)

    Page 53:

    1993. An English journalist describes the music of Darlin', a little French band consisting of 3 big rock fans, as "Daft Punk". Not feeling spiteful, two of the musicians change directions to launch their new project, inspired by electro. This move sends them towards an undeniable glory: 20 years later, Daft Punk has become the most wooed band in the world, one of which nobody dares to say anything bad about. Their dance anthems are embedded in our collective mind. "Da Funk" in 1996, "Around The World" in 1997, "One More Time" in 2000, "Harder Better Faster Stronger" in 2001, "Technologic" in 2005 have allowed Daft Punk to sell millions and millions of albums across the globe. And all that despite their taste of not often appearing in public, not often performing concerts and not often making albums. Four albums (and a soundtrack) since 1993...These guys take their time before steering their project towards its destination. They have reinvented techno with "Homework" (1997), which was the first album in this genre to be large-scale, they re-installed the taste of synthetic disco of the 70's with "Discovery" (2001) before returning to the present of rock with "Human After All" (2005), the latter badly received on release.
    "Our leitmotif," says the band, "is never doing anything twice. For each project, everything needs to be reinvented. This has been clear for us since the beginning because it would be really easy to duplicate all our songs all the time. Starting with this mindset, all directions became possible"

    Paradox: known all over the world, Daft Punk are also the most anonymous band thanks to their robot masks that are both their brand but also a shield against being a celebrity. With a covered face, wearing washed jeans, an old black T-shirt, a grey sweater, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo could be virtually anyone random. Protected by their android counterparts they are not infected by the Facebook-culture. Thomas Bangalter shares his life with the actress Elodie Bouchez, but he never searches to lead a "glam couple" life. Luckily. When Thomas goes to the department store or he buys a baguette at a bakery, he doesn't feel being "Daft Punk" at all.

    Nonetheless, when Guy-Manuel and himself put on their uniforms, which do not allow a single centimeter of skin to be shown, their silhouettes straighten up. The black costumes - designed by Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent -, the chrome reflecting helmets give them very mechanic looking movements. Seeing them up close in their robot appearance causes an immediate curious sensation, both physically and mentally. This feeling that one gets when seeing a robot acting human was theorised by the Japanese 'robotician' Masahiro Mori in 1970. He baptised his theory as "the valley of the unknown". Spending a few hours with Daft Punk is quite like that: discussing with beings from somewhere unknown but at the same time also very close to us.

    Their new album, "Random Access Memories", is planned for the end of May. A familiar sounding blend, but certainly futuristic, it consists of fragments of the history of disco and punk, projected in the middle of house and electro sounds. Its ambition, as explained by its creators, is to rediscover the magic of the 1970's and 80's, the years of Michael Jackson, Chic or Fleetwood Mac - sounds that have transgressed their era and that have become classics.
    To keep the entirety of the project under control, the two musicians have financed the complete production of the album - "we hade the luxury to say to ourselves that if we did not like it, we could throw all of it away. Having a label behind us to care about would have been frightening."
    The process went by slowly and wisely thought out: "We begun our work in 2008, after eighteen months of touring. At first, we went to our studio to put ideas aside

    Page 54

    After that, we took a break for one year to work on the music of Tron: Legacy. When that was done we retook our work, recording with several musicians but still without having conceptualised the album in its entirety. Only about one and a half year ago, in the middle of all the chaos, a link appeared to us, on which we based the title." Random Access Memories references, but in plural, to RAM or the working memory of computers. "There is a parallel between the brain and hard drives, between computers and humans." The idea of fragmentation -another term from ICT- also features on the album. "During all of the recording, we had this impression of being disorganized and following this almost psychoanalytic process where nothing is fixed, nor linear. All of it was constituted on associations of random ideas."

    Recorded between New York, Paris and Los Angeles, "Random Access Memories" sounds like an album produced under the Californian sun. Since a few years and since their work on the soundtrack of the Disney super production "Tron: Legacy", Daft Punk spend a lot of time in L.A.. "All of the albums of the 1970's-1980's that we love have this West Coast side to it: they breathe a sweetness of life, an impression of sunset and of light. Los Angeles is full of history, but it's also a city of sadness full of broken dreams. It has a bit of nostalgy to it: its archeticture preserves something from an America that has disappeared. Living there, it's a bit like being cut off the world, all while being in a factory of dreams."

    Up until now, Daft Punk could have summarized themselves this way: a duo that tortures machines in such a way so that it creates emotion, groove and sweat. "An engineer of a very controlled universe". Daft Punk do not deny anything (it's simply not their way of being), but has spending two decades delved inside these machines made them bored of them? As usual, their answer is more subtle. "The internet has caused human relationships to become more and more virtual. With this album," explains Thomas Bangalter, "we still stay inside this illusion and this secrecy while also giving ourselves the joy of working in a team. When we make synthetic music, we create sounds, these ranges that still are just simulations of reality. Here, the idea was to capture moments of magic, moments of elegance. What is it about the first notes of "Hotel California" that creates the impression that you are in the sun, surrounded by crickets? How does that work?" To find the alchemy of this sound that ran through the United States in the middle of the 1970's until "Thriller" (1982), the duo contacted some of the biggest artists of that era such as Nile Rodgers and Giorgio Moroder. "The album," says Thomas Bangalter, "goes well beyond being a homage to all these people who have shaped our creativity: to interact and create with them has been an incredibly strong experience." The album excludes, for example, the use of drum machines to make way for drummers who drum with a irrefutable precision but with variations that no machine could reproduce. Still robot, but "human after all".

    We imagine Daft Punk as being control freaks -which is not entirely false-, but this time, they let everything go so they could reconstruct all of it. This method proved to be risky. "We found ourselves in this surreal dimension, almost psychedelic. We got passioned by diving in these complex musical ramifications and organizing this chaos." The recordings went in a way that ressembled a series of extraordinary parts, phrases and cut sequences that "once pasted together became something very interesting for us." And they cite, as reference, the book of Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves, "which is readable through all senses and which can be started by reading from the top, from the bottom, ..."
    Twenty years ago, the samplers used by Daft Punk only had but a few seconds of memory. This capacity has today become gigantic, unlimited: "Machines now have a lot of power, but the content created has become extremely poor these past few years. For Random Access Memories, we used this technological infinity to record significant things, to channel the sprawling, overflowing proportions of things we had recorded during the course of the sessions."

    Seasoned fans of science-fiction, mingled with references of the genre, the two Daft Punk memebers often halt their conversations to go into detail of a certain passage of "2001: A Spacey Odyssey" or a scene from their fetish film "Phantom of the Paradise" (which they discovered together at the age of 15 and in which plays Paul Williams, also invited on their album). With them, in their studio, we can imagine laying here and there DVD's of "Tron" (the original) or "Star Wars". Only recently, they participated both in an Adidas advertisement that put them along with various contemporary pop figures (David Beckham, Snoop Dogg, Oasis) inside the original Star Wars movie. Seeing them next to C-3PO or R2-D2 is sort of an epiphany.

    Page 56:
    Daft Punk compose albums while having the universes created by George Lucas or Steven Spielberg inside their head. In 2007, they create a movie together, "Electroma", where the universe consists of figures resembling their own robot look. An esthetic borrowed of films by Gus Van Sant, notably "Gerry" and its journey across the desert. Daft Punk organized this movie as an art-y exit out of their usual world, [une saillie cinéphile dans un espace peuple dé leurs clones] "We are fascinated by cinema because it is a collective art. A movie, it basically is a group of people who realize a masterpiece together." They already tested this type of work during the creation of "Electroma" and they wanted to return to something like this, above all costs. In order to survive. "After having created our first three albums, we didn't really want to return to the studio and begin work as usual with just us two. That would have been a much less enriching experience compared to opening ourselves towards others. It might sound a bit cliché, but we wanted to attempt a human adventure such as those on the albums that inspire us." After twenty years of living as a couple, the robots have need for others.

    Daft Punk are skillful theoricians. And they are able to analyze their compositions with both strange but at the same time original arguments, which is something unique for musicians. When asked if they aim to produce retrofuturistic music, they answer: "Our idea is rather to create portals towards some sort of space-time unique. We isolate things of the paste, we twist them, we manipulate these flashbacks to fabricate a window outside of time." Only to continue with a relentless observations on current music production: "Today, inside studios, the music is no longer recorded; it is generated by computers. The process of capturing something, then sharing it with others is about to disappear. Our idea was to hide the technology, to put it at the bottom, never in plain sight." This does not mean that computers are nowhere to be found: "Touch" is an ambitious piece created and written with Paul Williams and consists of 250 different tracks. The album has been created after long months of productions, of post-production, of recordings and of re-recordings. They have written, erased, re-written... But always with a sense of spontaneity and musicality. "The process could be compared to what one can see in The Mystery of Picasso by Henri-George Clouzot, which shows a painter working on five paintings at the same time. It is also comparable to the creation of a movie by Terrence Malick, who often works years on a very utopical movie without really knowing where he'll end up." The final result and its coherence is most likely due to their manner of working together with the two of them, which started more than twenty years ago. They describe themselves as two complementary guys. Thomas has his nose on the screen (moviescreen, computerscreen) and Guy-Manuel is in the back, the ears on alert. Even during the interview, their attitude is the same: "Guy-Manuel has always been seated in a couch behind me while I was in front, facing the machines, talking to the musicians - or to journalists."

    During the entirety, one analyses, the other listens. Thomas argues
    for a long time, certain of his case, with a bright light in his eyes. Guy-Manuel pleases himself by dropping a cryptic phrase between two long silences, but his eyes shine with the same brilliance. Both transmit the same thing: we look for a form of perfection. During the course of the photo session for Obsession, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo participated in the preparations of the pictures, the adjusting of certain light aspects, the rightness of a certain reflection or a specific framing. All of this affected by the same 'problem' of perfection that they also have in the studio, in front of a keyboard or behind a camera. "Random Access Memories" has, twenty years after their debut, a freshness and youth to it that seems to come from these adolescents who are obsessed by the need to go to the very deep end of their most crazy ideas and desires. Above all it is the most beautiful testimony of their unchanged capacity to cultivate and transmit an everlasting youth. Robots do not have wrinkles. Daft Punk don't have them either.

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    Re: Nouvel Obs - Obsession - Daft Punk commenting tracks [Translated]

    The interview is now available online (but still in French)

    "It will lead many musicians out of the cul-de-sac they currently face. And those that do not understand will be cursed to make disposable music on laptops forever" - Chilly Gonzales

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    Daft Punk Cover the May 2013 Issue of Obsession Magazine

    Daft Punk Cover the May 2013 Issue of Obsession Magazine

    just sharing the news
    you can read the article online
    follow this link, you'll find the full article on Obsession‘s website, or read a well-translated English version on Castle Awesome.

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    French lifestyle monthly Obsession Magazine has a full-scale interview with Daft Punk, with the band taking a rare, introspective look at their work in anticipation of Random Access Memories. With the album due out on May 21, the group sat with Joseph Ghosn and Olivier Wicker to talk heavy theory about the logic behind the album. Amongst other things discussed, ’The Robots’ explain their aim to revisit the music of the ’70s and ’80s, reappropriating disco and psychedelic influences for modern times – which somewhat informs the album title. If a fluent French reader, enjoy the full article on Obsession‘s website, or read a well-translated English version on Castle Awesome.

    i just found this translation via Facebook
    Last edited by amkaxiii; 30th Apr 2013 at 07:01. Reason: merged double post

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    Re: Nouvel Obs - Obsession - Daft Punk commenting tracks [Translated]

    Here's my scan of the Obsession article. Huge thanks to StanV for letting me include his translation in the download.

    Click here -> download zip file -> the human adventure is just beginning
    Last edited by ifcwdjd; 9th Oct 2016 at 19:38.

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