Daft Punk have split up, and they're not telling us why

It’s been confirmed that Daft Punk, one of the biggest and most influential electronic music acts of the past three decades, have split up.

The French duo, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, posted a video, Epilogue, on their YouTube page. This contains a title card saying ‘1993-2021’, and Daft Punk’s publicist, Kathryn Frazier, has since confirmed to Pitchfork that the band have broken up. No reason for the split has been given.

Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter met at school in 1987, and originally formed a guitar band, Darlin’, with Laurent Brancowitz (later of Phoenix fame) in 1992, playing guitar and bass, respectively. The band soon disbanded, but not before a critic had referred to their music as “daft, punky thrash”.

Enter Daft Punk, the result of Bangalter and Homen-Christo’s new-found fascination with drum machines and synthesizers. Debut single The New Wave, released in 1994, was a limited release, but its successor Da Funk, with its growling TB-303 bassline, would later become a hit.

The track featured on Homework, Daft Punk’s critically acclaimed debut album. Released in 1997, it represented a bold new take on Chicago house music, and spawned another hit single in the shape of Around The World. A series of videos, directed by Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, Roman Coppola and Seb Janiak, was also commissioned.

Follow-up album Discovery, released in 2001, was an altogether more polished and less gritty affair, alienating some existing fans yet attracting new ones. Lead single One More Time was a worldwide hit, and follow-ups Digital Love and Harder, Better, Faster Stronger - later sampled by Kanye West - brought further success.

2005’s Human After All received a more mixed reception, but Daft Punk’s spectacular live shows - culminating in the release of the Alive 2007 album - kept the band in the headlines. The duo then retreated to the studio, recording the soundtrack to Tron: Legacy.

Following a lengthy and successful teaser campaign, Daft Punk then released Random Access Memories, in 2013. Lead single Get Lucky, which featured Pharrell WIlliams and Nile Rodgers, sold more than nine million copies, and the album won multiple Grammy Awards.

By this point, Daft Punk’s international standing had never been higher, and they finally had a US number one in 2016 with Starboy, produced with The Weeknd. 

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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