When Don McLean sang about the day the music died, he clearly wasn’t referring to the Buddy Holly plane crash – he was referring to this day. Because after almost three decades of chart-topping, Grammy Award-winning, and era-defining electronic tracks, French duo Daft Punk – real names: Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter – are hanging up the iconic helmets for good, making the break up official with a definitive announcement that their legendary partnership has come to an end.
The Paris-based hitmakers shared an eight-minute clip titled ‘Epilogue‘, featuring an excerpt from their 2006 film Electroma, wherein the costumed producers silently go their separate ways in a desert before one blows up the other. The rest of the clip is set to their Paul Williams collaboration ‘Touch‘ and depicts a message that simply reads “1993-2001”, followed by an extended sunset scene. And just in case this was too subtle for you, it’s worth noting longtime publicist to Daft Punk, Kathryn Frazier, has since confirmed the break up.
Bangalter and de Homem-Christo first met in school circa 1987, initially forming an indie rock band named Darlin’ alongside members of what would later become another renowned international music act in their own right, Phoenix. Fun fact, the name Daft Punk itself is a direct reference to criticism Darlin’ faced, which derided their creative output as “a dafty punk thrash”.
In 1993, Daft Punk as we know it was formed, and it didn’t take awfully long before they gained the right kind of attention. Debut album Homework (1997) firmly asserted their enigmatic identity with ‘Around the World’ and ‘Da Funk’, before following it up with an even slicker sophomore release Discovery (2001), which not only set the standard thanks to the likes of ‘One More Time’, ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’, ‘Digital Love’, and ‘Face To Face’, but catapulted them into global stardom. Since then, they’ve worked with the very best of them – ranging from Nile Rodgers, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, The Weeknd, to The Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas.
As noted by Pitchfork, beyond the music, Daft Punk’s “visual identity, interstellar mystique, and party-music ethos” inspired generations of artists across genres, embodying a higher level of cool; a level of cool which, safe to say, won’t be touched by any modern artist for a while (if ever at all).
Watch the Daft Punk break up video – ‘Epilogue’ – below for yourself.