Melodious Automatons: A Tribute to Daft Punk
It was December 31st, 2005 when I first heard Daft Punk. Though I was only eight years old, I remember it almost as if it were yesterday. We were visiting my uncle Donnie and auntie Bebe to celebrate New Year’s Eve. A trip to visit them and their two daughters, Morgan and Taylor, was something I was always excited about. I eagerly awaited walking up to the door to shake Uncle Donnie’s hand. Handshakes with him were always a contest to see who’s grip was superior. I never stood a chance of course, but was always eager to jump at the opportunity to try again.
As the night went on, and the wine-stained teeth of our parents continued to spew conversations with little or no importance to me, I wandered off to find Taylor. She was sitting at the computer not far from the action of our tipsy parents. I don’t remember exactly what she was doing, but I know we ended up on YouTube. At this point, YouTube was less than a year old, and if I remember correctly, this was my first experience using it. I have little memory of the many videos we watched except for one in particular. Taylor pulled up the music video for a song she had been listening to, “Technologic,” by Daft Punk, and I was immediately sucked in.
I had grown up listening to my parent’s music. Artists such as Fleetwood Mac, Heart, Journey, The Eagles, and others. Hearing these futuristic electronic melodies was a pivotal moment in my life. It’s one of my core memories from my childhood and changed my view on what music was as a whole. My eight-year-old mind had a new purpose in life; to scour the internet, learn about Daft Punk, and listen to them as much as possible.
It was the perfect time for me to explore my newly acquired taste in music as I had just gotten a Discman for Christmas. For the readers that don’t know what a Discman is, it’s a portable CD player. They were the “it” way to listen to music before the iPod really took off.
The first album I ever got on CD was Human After All by Daft Punk. After only a week I had listened to the album at least fourteen times. I would listen to it on the bus, during school, after school, before bed, when I woke up, and really any chance I could get. I was obsessed, to say the least. A month after first hearing Daft Punk, I already had four out of five of their released albums and I knew them front to back. This phase of listening to strictly Daft Punk lasted me roughly two years.
I was ten years old when I moved to Cleveland; the city of rock and roll. At this point in my life I started branching out and listening to all types of music. Mainly psychedelic rock and different variations of punk and metal. My music taste grew and adapted, but Daft Punk was always a constant. Whenever they dropped new material of any sort I’d usually stop whatever I was doing and find a way to listen. When the Tron soundtrack was released I felt as if I was listening to them for the first time all over again. The nostalgia was overwhelming. Then another three years later in 2013, they hit us with the masterpiece Random Access Memories. That was the last full album put out by the duo. During the years subsequent to Random Access Memories, they worked on a handful of projects producing and co-writing with other artists, as well as a lively solo career for both Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo; the men beneath the robotic helmets..
On February 22, 2021, Daft Punk announced their breakup. It was a devastating blow to electronic music fans everywhere including myself. It might be overdramatic, but I really felt as if a part of me had been taken away. Since the announcement of their split, I have been listening to their discography non-stop. This piece is just a way to share my feelings for one of the best musical artists in history, and I hope some of you can relate to my words and find solace in knowing that their legacy will live on through us; the diehard fans of Daft Punk.