The father of Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter says that he “didn’t always understand” the band and that if he said he liked a song, he’d never hear it again

Daft Punk
(Image credit: Mick Hutson/Redferns)

As you may or may not know, the father of Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter is none other than French disco don Daniel Vangarde, who co-wrote and produced the likes of Otttawan’s D.I.S.C.O. and The Gibson Brothers’ Cuba.

As such, you might expect that Vangarde fully appreciated what Daft Punk were doing right from the off. However, it turns out that this wasn’t the case, and that the feedback he offered on the band’s early material didn’t always seem to have the desired effect.

Speaking to the NME, Vangarde says: “They [Thomas and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo] did those first two Daft Punk albums in his bedroom next to my room. At the beginning, they were experimenting and I thought it was really special. I didn’t always understand it, and would say: ‘When will you write a song on top of it?’, not realising it was meant to be an instrumental. But whenever I said I liked something, they’d drop that song and I’d never hear it again! I was the benchmark: if I liked it, it wasn’t good enough! So in the end, I stopped commenting! [Laughs]”.

It seems that not even your dad being an acclaimed producer can quash the desire to rebel against the music that your parents like, then, but it seems that Vangarde has made his peace with that, and thinks that leaving young Thomas to his own devices was actually very beneficial.

“I think Thomas only came to the studio with me once which is good, because otherwise he would have learned to produce in a normal way and lost what made Daft Punk unique,” Vangarde says.

Vangarde also reveals that he never expected his son to follow in his footsteps, but may have had an inkling about his future career when a childhood piano teacher said that “he has a great sense of rhythm that makes people want to dance”.

Despite, in creative terms, keeping his distance from his father, Bangalter clearly appreciated his input on some level, as he was credited for providing “previous advice” during the making of Homework and offering design, concept and art direction on Discovery. Was there ever a chance of a full-on collaboration, though?

“No,” says Vangarde. “I was never involved with them artistically and I would never dare to ask to collaborate on a track together.”

Elsewhere in Daft Punk land, the duo recently uploaded an archive video of them performing Rollin & Scratchin at the Mayan Theater in Los Angeles in 1997. Previously part of a 2022 Twitch stream that marked the first anniversary of their break-up, this gives you a rare opportunity to to see the duo up close and unmasked. 

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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