Daft Punk discuss their musical inspirations in NPR Guest DJ interview
Daft Punk have kept their feet squarely on the PR pedal in the wake of Random Access Memories‘ release, most recently sitting down with NPR to chat about the musical influences at play on their chart-topping album.
Thomas Bangalter led off the interview by comparing the process of writing Random Access Memories to the fragmentation inherent in hard drives, breaking barriers and creating composites of various styles and artists whose paths wouldn’t otherwise cross. Bangalter was also careful to stress that their motivations behind doing so were primarily internal, rather than external.
“We are making the music we would like to listen to. So making music for us is a very personal process. We aren’t really making music for the audience or thinking about people’s expectations.”
In addition to paying homage to such early electronic music mainstays as Kraftwerk and Jean Michel Jarre, Bangalter also offered examples of definitive records, such as Chic’s “Good Times,” that influenced both of the robots from an early age.
“It’s timeless and universal music,” Bangalter reminisced. “We get the same feeling we get when we were kids, for sure. And I think it’s the same for everybody. If you drop that song in any club or birthday party, people are going to fill the dance floor right away. It’s instant effect.”
In focusing on the timeless nature of the music they admire, Bangalter noted that their own smash hit “One More Time” had sat on the shelf for three years before finally being released on Discovery.
“Sometimes we feel this thing instantly, but sometimes we like to let it rest a little bit, like wine,” Bangalter said. “But we felt like, at least internally, we had tested the song and somehow tried its longevity internally before releasing it.”
Bangalter also cited contemporary influences, most notably the Strokes (whom Guy de Homem-Christo described as “as good as The Velvet Underground”) and UK singer/songwriter James Blake, whose musical approach embodied their aesthetic.
“I think James Blake is an example of a new songwriter — a new artist, a new musician, a new producer — that manages to express beautiful things with his voice and with modern technology, with synthesizers, drum machines and electronic instruments,” said Bangalter. “And that’s, for us, the perfect example of how we love to interact with electronic music instruments. Our record does not have a lot of electronic music instruments… But it’s always good to listen to a song that is made with electronic instruments and feel something deep inside.”