Daft Punk are retiring from music after almost 30 years. The French electronic duo announced the news in an eight-minute video titled Epilogue, which sees one member explode and the other walk off into the sunrise.
Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, who formed Daft Punk in 1993, appear in the video in their trademark robot helmets and leather jackets. The clip opens with the pair walking in the desert, before one member stops, removes his Daft Punk-emblazoned jacket, and has his ‘energy pack’ switched off by the other. He then walks away and explodes, before the duo’s track “Touch” begins to play.
It’s unclear if Epilogue is meant to suggest that one member will continue the band without the other, as it concludes with one of them walking into the sunrise – signalling a new chapter, perhaps? Daft Punk’s longtime publicist has confirmed the split, but hasn’t commented on the film.
The pair met at secondary school in Paris in 1987, and went on to form Daft Punk after a negative review of their first band, Darlin’, in which their music was called “a daft punky thrash”. In 1995, the duo released their first single “Da Funk”, which would later feature on their 1997 landmark debut, Homework, which also included the major hit, “Around the World”. Since then, Daft Punk have released three more studio albums, including 2001’s Discovery, won six Grammys, and cemented themselves as pioneers of the French house scene.
Speaking to Dazed in 2010, as the pair soundtracked Tron: Legacy, Daft Punk reflected on their career. “When Homework came out, people said it was a sellout and the death of techno,” laughed Bangalter. “In electronic music, having been around for 17 years and to not have been tagged ‘uncool’ is surprising.”
When asked how they’ve achieved that, de Homem-Christo replied: “I think it is just because we are dedicated and we are passionate. We met when we were kids. And it is about taking your brain out – you just feel, and you enjoy. It’s like two kids playing, and if something makes you laugh or is exciting, then you keep on. It’s doing things not for fame, success, or money, but enjoying the journey rather than the goal.”
Look back at Dazed’s 2013 cover story here, in which Daft Punk meet their Italian synth hero Giorgio Moroder.