In discussion with DJ Fett Burger on “Homework” by Daft Punk (1996).
How did „”Homework”“ found its way to your years? Was it by coincidence, or did you seek it out on some recommendation?
It was totally by a coincidence. I think it was back in the fall or winter of 1996 or something, I can’t really remember. My brother and me were listening to the radio one evening in the kitchen. Back then, we always listened to the radio when we were eating or hanging out, usually making drawings. In Norway around the time it was a channel called NRK P3. It’s still around, and it was one of the main National broadcasting channels. There were three of them. NRK P1 the original, NRK P2 mostly for culture, and NRK P3 for the younger generation. This station was aiming for a younger audience – but in a very different way than today. They used to have a broad selection of different programs. My favorite was the programs in the morning and afternoon because they had a lot of intelligent humor and also sometimes pushed things a bit further in terms of what was socially acceptable, at least back then. In the evenings, six days a week, they had different shows dedicated to music belonging to a certain scene or niche. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday it was Roxrevyen, which later became Karlsens Kabin, and Hal 9000. Karlsens Kabin mainly covered indie music, but also electronic music. Hal 9000 with Harald Are Lund was a broad selection of rock, electronic and experimental music with a very open minded approach. A lot of older things got played as well. Friday, it was National Rap Show with Tommy Tee, Hip Hop concentration mostly on early nineties East Coast Hip Hop. And then, Saturday, it was DJ Dust with Funk and Disco, DJ Strangefruit with his eclectic selections, and later in the evening DJ Abstract with mostly House and Techno. On Sunday it was Chill Out with DJ Friendly in the morning and Ambolt on Sunday evening, which was dedicated to Metal and harder Rock. Overall, NPK P3 had a pretty broad selection of music from different scenes. It provided a great musical education for when you are young and from a small Norwegian town. These programs were so dedicated to their scene, they always played a lot of demos or unreleased music. Karlsens Kabin and Hal 9000 played some of our oldest music, even things only made on CD-R, so it was a very supportive scene on the radio back then. You can just imagine how crazy it was for us back then being played on national radio!
OK, now back to the question. First time I heard something from Daft Punk was through Karlsens Kabin or Roxrevyen as it was called then. It was a mid-week evening, and suddenly “Around The World” was on the radio. This was before it was a big hit, and before people knew what Daft Punk was. It was probably a radio promo that was played or something like that.
It just blew my mind at the time. Back then it was so cool, different, even strange. Right after they played the song, they said the name and title of the song. And one second later I forgot it all, except the song. But a few months later, Daft Punk was everywhere with “Da Funk” and “Around The World” on MTV all day long.
Do you like the album as a whole, or are there personal highlights, or even tracks you do not like as much?
I like the album as a whole. Before when it was new, you could hear the hits everywhere, so I was pretty familiar with them. I remember when my brother and I got the album. It was an interesting listening experience, since most of the tracks were actually not hits or mainstream material. For instance, “Rollin’ & Scratchin’, “High Fidelity”, “Rock’n Roll”, “Indo Silver Club”, “Alive” or the intro “Wdpk837 Fm.” But, since everything was on the album, it just became associated with something mainstream.
Now it’s a classic of course, but back then, it was the combination of making something catchy, a bit more demanding, and for a scene. In this case, obviously House and Techno. You can hardly say that something is demanding or edgy on the album anymore, because of its place in music history. I think there still are some tracks that are edgy. Back then, for a 15-year-old kid without any experience, this was a big and new thing. Just imagine what influence this had. I remember even in the beginning, I didn’t like “Rollin’ & Scratchin.’ However, it changed after I gained more of an understanding for where the song and its influences came from.
For me, the whole album is a personal highlight. There are different vibes to the tracks and your mood shifts. Some songs are more uplifting, some more mellow, and some noisy or slow. But everything is a favorite of mine in different ways. They all have different elements of influences for me in terms of musical education. The whole album is a favorite of mine. Everything, from how the sound is mixed, the way Daft Punk samples, the artwork aesthetic, the music videos and Daft Punk’s anonymity at the time. It’s a whole package, and I embraced it all. I loved it all and still do!
It is quite a classic album in the history of club music. Why do you think it has reached that status?
I think it’s a combination of several things. Like always.
The music, of course, is exceptional, and I think it was a bit different from most of the music out there at the time. Some of the tracks were very catchy. I think it has a lot to do with the whole package they delivered. It was very consistent in every way. From their music, sound, artwork, music videos, their public appearance. And not to forget, the people they worked with. Especially when it comes to remixes and music videos, it was interesting and the quality was very high. Big and influential US House acts at the time, like MAW, DJ Sneak and Roger Sanchez, remixed their work. People from their local scene, like Chateau Flight and Motorbass made remixes as well. Also, people like Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze and other talented and exciting people at the time, made the music videos. Incredibly clever moves. And that makes them influential.
Timing was also important. House music was a more mainstream thing back then when the album got released. France also started to get a lot of support and attention. Clubbing was big! People where interested and open to it. And, not to forget, the major labels were open to release and spend a lot of money on this kind of music. People like Daft Punk, Cassius, Bob Sinclair, and Dimitri from Paris released their music on major labels, or sub-labels of major labels. At that time, House music and DJing were really taking off. I remember, you could always read in magazines, see on MTV, and hear on the radio that now they sold more turntables than rock guitars. DJs and electronic music acts started to become mainstream stars in Europe, like The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim to name a few.
It is a bit of the same these days with the EDM scene and all that garbage. Artists become really popular in the mainstream. Except most of the mainstream electronic music today is not very sophisticated I think. It is pretty shallow. The sound quality is not very good either. And they also call it House, ridiculous! But that’s just the old grumpy man talking. Back in the nineties “Homework” was something fresh and new, and different from the mainstream rock music. Remember, they said on the radio that “Homework” was the electronic album even the rockers liked. It was always this weird distinction between people who were into DJing or electronic music and Rock back then. Obviously, the rockers liked Daft Punk, so it had to be big.
At the time people in the DJ scene had influence on the big labels. It actually was possible to push this sound to a more mainstream audience. If that is good or bad, I don’t know, but it was possible back then. I even remember back in Norway I heard stories like major labels asking people like DJ Abstract to find interesting artists for remixing. That’s actually how Erot ended up remixing a Norwegian pop artist Bertine Zetlitz. A mediocre pop song turned into a 14:05 minute magical epic remix by Erot. Also DJ Abstract and DJ Strangefruit released mix CDs on major labels. The music was not mainstream at all. It was the cool thing obviously, so the major labels just went for it! Even if the records didn’t necessarily sell very well. I remember they even were giving out these CDs for free if you bought jeans as a marketing campaign or something.
I also think Daft Punk’s artistic freedom was important! Freedom is a huge importance if you want to make something influential. From the outside, it seems like they had all the artistic freedom they needed and wanted. They had control over their artwork, musical output, music videos and people they collaborated with. Also, budget didn’t seem to be a problem. In terms of creativity, it seems like they could do whatever they wanted. Look at the music videos. They were so cool, well produced and also different at the time. It was something that got noticed. A combination of good taste, great aesthetics, and made by talented people with good ideas. Thomas Bangalter even stated this in one interview that instead of money, they choose control, or freedom. So they could have 100% creative freedom of what they wanted or needed to do in terms of their ideas and artistic ideals. That’s inspiring. They also stated somewhere that they had to finance what they were doing themselves to be in control. This probably means they came from a very resourceful place in the beginning. What they did wasn’t exactly an underground operation. Anyways, with their resources or the deal they had, they could make tons of different versions of releases or other outputs such as, various 12″s, 7″s , different remixes, cassettes, videos, everything. They became very available, had high quality, and they were still kind of anonymous in the media, or had a specific media appearance. I think at the time it made a big impact – very few interviews, not much information about them and few pictures back then. It was different, becoming so famous, and not be public faces. Daft Punk sold 1 million albums, your mom could hear the songs on the radio, and you didn’t know what they looked like. Quite funny. Now of course you can look up everything on the Internet and find the magazine covers from back then etc. In ‘97, if you missed the magazines or whatever, they became rather anonymous. It kept some of the mystery. When you’re 15 years old, you kind of want to live with the mysterious idea, and that became a huge influence for me. Being available but at the same time not. As I understand, one of them comes from a music producer family, so it seems like they did their “Homework” before they went big. In terms of music deals, they even owned the rights to their music and licensed their music to a major label. That’s pretty amazing and I guess unusual. Everything was very thought through, and that still amazes me, because the Daft Punk guys were only 22 years old when “Homework” got released. I don’t know if that made them more or less influential, but that is still a thing I find interesting about their early years.
As someone known for remarkable artworks, how do you rate the sleeve design of the album?
I think the sleeves design is great. 10 out of 10 points. Personally, I always liked it. Back then, I of course didn’t know they basically stole the idea from Dr. Hook’s album The Players In The Dark. However, with Daft Punk sampling or copying artwork, it just added another dimension for me, in terms of understanding the use of references and putting them into my own artistic work. I’m a very visual person, so through their artwork and visual output, it actually made me understand much of their references and music. And since sampling is a huge part of House music culture, it made sense conceptually as well, to re-use old ideas in a new context. Which I was very excited to explore at the time.
But as I said earlier, “Homework” is a whole package. There were so many things on the album sleeve back then that was a source of inspiration. You have the visual aspect. You could clearly see Daft Punk’s love for the vintage aesthetic and for the American culture. Good old vintage aesthetic can never go wrong. But even more important, they did it in their own way. The music was not something you would expect if you only saw the sleeve. That was a great twist. They used visual references you would expect more from a Rock record than from somebody doing House or Techno at the time. They also somehow added mystery and a Ramones like esthetic, with the black and white photo of them in the insert. They definitely played around with their references.
Of course now this is nothing new. And the album has its place in music history, therefore it’s hard to see it as something else than what it is. But I think they had a fun and interesting approach to their artwork. The logo is very catchy. They thought things through or they just had exceptional taste. Even the label artwork on the record looks great, it is just a copy of standard old labels. They knew how to steal, had good ideas and at the same time add their personality. And that is important I think. Now it’s so easy to just steal something awesome and good looking. People do it all the time now. Especially with vintage labels and old underground flyers. This of course has become so hot and easily available because of the Internet. However, only a tiny percent of the people stealing and making cool and great looking things now actually add their own personality, say something that is in their own voice, or have an interesting twist in their work. Most people just steal and don’t try to make anything original at all. But Daft Punk did that. That makes the visuals interesting, influential and worth spending time on. They still like to steal from the best. The backside of the sleeve of their new album is a plain copy of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. They are still very aware of their influences and use them openly but rework it so it’s something that seems Daft Punk.
The Masters at Work “Around the World” remixes is one of my personal favorite releases visually. The record looks like a MAW record, of course with the Daft Punk logo, but also with the highly recognizable Masters at Work logo. It had the typical big two-color picture sticker on the sleeve that MAW and some other NY labels used to do a lot in the mid nineties. That I think is excellent. Not just that Daft Punk got Masters at Work to remix their track, but basically made a MAW release. It’s a very nice way to show respect towards people you admire while being very aware of visual details and references. This is maybe one of the most influential things they did for me, yet one of the more subtle ones. It is only a reference that people from the underground or a MAW fan would be able to pick up. So Daft Punk had an excellent balance between using mainstream and also underground influences in their work.
Another very important influence for me was the shout outs Daft Punk made to their friends, family and artists they respected on “Homework”. This was a source of inspiration, and made me want to dig deeper. Back then, you know, it amazed me that there where so many non DJs that were part of Daft Punk’s inspiration. Again, it becomes the same as the sleeve artwork. I was 15 at the time, so of course this makes you want to dig deeper – and I did. Shout outs are always interesting, because it makes you realize people and artists need each other. They work together and inspire each other. It’s also a cool way of mapping different artistic activity giving you a picture of how the scene was back then, even maybe in an abstract way. That leaves a lot of room to your imagination. I love to dig into that stuff. Nowadays the Internet gives you a lot of instant answers. Before that it was different and you had to figure out things on your own. That can be great.
So, the album cover is great in every way. And when we talk about the sleeve and the artwork their music videos have to be mentioned as well. Because here you find the same playful approach as you find in their artwork. Again the combination of choosing very talented people to work with, excellent taste, great ideas, and the weirdness and originality that went so well to their music. And in some ways it was something mysterious about their videos as well. You could of course never see Daft Punk or their faces in the videos. But this mystic made them very present. Also the elements of underground and the outcasts like the dog character in “Da Funk” was a source of wonder and imagination. That video was like an excerpt from a short film, and you had to make the story yourself. Which made it pretty interesting I think. I like it when things are left to your own imagination. Almost like when somebody is reading an unfinished fairy tail for you. It makes you feel connected in a weird way.
They also made an other video with the dog character, for “Music”, or something, can’t remember the track, but that video didn’t get any TV rotation, I only found it on a DVD. An excellent way to keep things mysterious. Even If I think that was not done with purpose though. I love the playfulness of “Revolution 909”, when the cops bust the rave, and the girl sees the spot on the police mans shirt, then you basically follow the story about how the cop’s dinner was created, from the very beginning. I think it’s such a good idea. A very original approach to the whole police bust a rave theme. It’s ridiculous and entertaining, and that makes it so brilliant. The same with “Burnin”. Again, the playfulness. Here Daft Punk’s love for the American aesthetic is very present. And once again the funny twist on a House party situation. And in the end, Daft Punk’s influences and people they collaborated with are part of the video, with Roger S, Paul Johnson and DJ Sneak attending the House party. I find it great the way they are playing around with elements that inspire them, and make it into a weird story.
Also the filmic elements of their videos are truly impressive. And I think that makes them so good. The videos had the quality of short movies, and high aesthetical level. And they go so well together with the music. It’s like the track and the video becomes one whole piece. Like with the “Around The World” video. When you think of one, you’ll always think of the other at some point. And that shows Daft Punk’s brilliant talent in combining visuals and sound. They really explored the power of image combined with their music on “Homework”.
Daft Punk were very frank about their influences. The gatefold still life photo, the track „Teachers“ etc. Can you actually hear all of these in their music?
I can’t hear all their influences in their music. Obviously, the Techno and House influences are very present. You can hear that Disco music was an influence, and also some P-Funk, especially with the vocoder used in “Around The World”, Hip Hop influences also in “Da Funk” are very present. But that’s the obvious references. I don’t even think it’s possible to hear all the influences in the album. I think it is important to be aware of the influences to understand the whole context of their record. Rather than hearing the influences in the music, it becomes an intellectual understanding. Early Daft Punk had shout outs to Prince, Serge Gainsbourg, Bob Marley, R Kelly to name a few. I don’t know if you can really hear all that in the music. Maybe some Brian Wilson and Jimi Hendrix influences. But since they used to be Indie or Punk rockers or something, they came from a different scene than Techno and House, so it makes sense to add all these names and artists.
These influences are not all so obvious in the music, but maybe more present in their artwork or their approach as a whole. I remember it was a huge thing back then when Daft Punk had written all their influences and people they respected on the sleeve. It was more of a statement than anything else. Moodymann did a similar thing as well on the Silentintroduction album, wrote shout outs, and a statement from an Afro-American perspective, and the influences were black music of course. And Moodymann stated that white suburban kids should sample Rock, rather than Soul, Disco and Funk. And Daft Punk used Rock as references, along with all the other genres of course. And that was an interesting change. Daft Punk put in the influences of a musically diverse teenager from Europe. And I guess it’s also a bit of a show-off from their side. They were young and they wanted to state something. It made them stand out in the scene. You got the House and Techno, you have Hip Hop, Pop and you have Disco and Rock influences. You’re basically covered in terms of interesting musical background and references.
Disco references were running through the history of House and Techno, and were sampled, filtered and deconstructed before. Why were they so exceptionally effective the way Daft Punk used them?
I guess it was effective because Daft Punk and the French scene became so famous. And it had the sound of that scene. From a more musical perspective, they and a lot of other French acts at the time, had the French touch. It made the music a bit different than the American and UK stuff. They basically copied what was done before and what worked, so not much new here. But they made it sound a bit different, especially because of the filters, and they used it a lot. It became easy to recognize. Daft Punk also had less soul than a lot of the US releases I think. In my opinion, it didn’t necessarily make them any worse, just different sounding. The way they sampled, if you listen to the early Crydamoure records, the samples became really short and intense. Maybe they had a more 80s sound than the US House releases, with their more 70s Disco sound? Also the Roulé releases with the sampling, sometimes even chopped up, and very repetitive. They took the sampling and filtering to the extreme with “Together” and “So Much Love To Give”. It became something different. It almost became minimalistic music with filtered Disco samples. It added a very cheesy element. It definitely gave them a mainstream approach!
French music also came from a different place, in a physical and mental matter than Chicago or New York House. So it just sounded different than the US stuff, even if Crydamoure and Roulé released records with US artists like Roy Davis Jr, DJ Sneak and Romanthony. Maybe it was because of the whole package they presented, and it tuned your brain into a different mode and place. Daft Punk and the French scene were good at picking catchy samples. They also used a formula that worked. The songs were produced in a recognizable way. Many of the records became party records. Some of them even mainstream hits, like “Gym and Tonic”, “Stardust” and some other horrible tracks from other French acts not even worth mentioning here.
I think it was a sound that people got familiar with – the French filtered Disco House. Since it reached the mainstream, it became effective in terms of becoming big in clubs. It was not because of any better quality than the more classical US filtered House. I think more because it was a trend and a recognizable sound at the time. Later the productions aimed towards a bigger audience. The music belonged to a scene that had reached a mainstream audience. At that time, you had radio and MTV playing these music videos, and that was important in terms of spreading music and influencing teenagers all over the world back then.
French House productions were really making a difference in the mid 90s. I can remember how these tracks stood out in DJ sets. What do you think of contemporaries like Etienne de Crécy with Motorbass and Super Discount, I:Cube, or others? Were they equally important for you?
Yes, after I got introduced to Daft Punk, all the other producers you mentioned here came into my life. All of them have been influential in each their way. It was usually their first few record releases that really made an impact, you know. This was around the time when my brother and I started to buy records. We were not very educated in genres such as Garage House from New Jersey, old Chicago House or even Detroit Techno. All that that came later. There was no scene where we came from, so we listened to the radio and watched MTV. At the time MTV played a lot of French House. And at that time we got our new records in Oslo, French and Norwegian House was available then. Of course, US House and Techno was played on the radio as well and sold in the record stores. However, it was not so easy to buy the records. Partly because we didn’t have a clue what the artists or the labels were, and because all the established DJs bought all the records before we got to the record stores. It was a bit of a struggle to get hold of the good records back then, but the reward was big!
I remember especially the first Motorbass album was important, with the dubby Hip Hop influences. Also, I:Cubes “Disco Cubism” and Cheek’s “Venus” were big, Alan Braxe & Fred Falke’s “Running” was also important. But the more mainstream things as well like Stardust, “Gym and Tonic”, early Cassius and Paradise, Bob Sinclair’s first album was big. The not so housy stuff was important, too. Especially Air with “Moon Safari”, Dimitri from Paris’ “Sacrebleu”, and the first Phoenix album were on heavy rotation. It was more Pop and not so much in the DJ underground world. But it all was part of the same scene. All the producers and people crossed each other, and our interest just followed these records and crossovers. And through these French connections I also got aware of Laurent Garnier, and his F Communications label. Especially Laurent Garnier’s “Man With The Red Face” was huge. I still love that track. Laurent Garnier made me more aware of Techno, especially the Detroit scene. So all these French connections made me more open minded to music and to DJing in general. In that sense, the French House scene together with the Norwegian House scene was a huge and crucial early influence. It became very important to be able to get more knowledge about Disco, US House, Techno, Dub and music from UK in the early days. As well as more alternative stuff and chill out music. These were the records that were available for me back then. So it shaped me in a musical sense.
How do you like how Daft Punk followed up „”Homework”“? Could you relate to their other releases, solo efforts and according labels like Roulé and Crydamoure?
I liked the “Discovery” album, I still do, even if it is not so timeless as “”Homework””. I also like some of the 12″ that got released for “Discovery”.
It was something very different than “Homework”. And as an artist who wants to develop, I understand why they did something totally different. I like the music and the album artwork. Even the concepts of collaborating to make the “Interstellar 5555” anime movie I found cool.
But it had nothing to do with underground culture anymore, except the guest singers and producers they worked with. The music became more Pop and more mainstream. Even more cheesy some would say. The robot helmets and suits were sensational and funny in the beginning, if you where 19 years old, which I was at the time. But then, they pushed the concept into what you can possible do if you have a lot of money. Which in my mind, doesn’t make things very interesting, or even worth spending much time on. However, it works in the pop circus, obviously.
Most of the things they have been doing after “Discovery” were not my thing. It’s all about sensation now. From making live shows with a laser pyramid, an aesthetic movie without content, a mostly very standard film score by Daft Punk, to the most expensive market campaign for their newest album. All these things I really don’t care much about. But I’m also not the audience for this, so it makes sense. Ok, I think “Get Lucky” is a fun and good pop song though. I like a lot of the Chic and Nile Rodgers productions, so it makes sense. Their new album however, I think is so incredibly boring. You would rather take a nap than listen to it.
They are still very consistent about what they do and are very talented. But for me it’s glossy and empty. Doesn’t help to work with Moroder when the music is boring. Again, they are doing their thing, and honestly I don’t think they care much if some nerdy House head thinks they are cool or not anymore and they shouldn’t. But it’s a shame, because I personally think they wasted their talent away on the things they do now.
Right after “Homework”, there were interesting projects happening I think. Especially, with Roulé and Crydamoure labels, I was very into that. I still like many of the records on the two labels – killer tracks! They released some great US House artists and records as well. These labels had a certain visual aesthetic that I liked a lot. All the sleeves were the same, except the stickers. This is what separated the releases along with other small details. The whole serial approach was a huge influence and at the time it was new for me. I didn’t know about labels like Strictly Rhythm or TRIBAL etc. So, I wasn’t aware it was a common thing for House labels to use the same artwork as a serial production. Roulé and Crydamoure did it in a special way I think. Very easy to notice and there was something mysterious about them. The details of course like Roulé’s catalogue numbers, the one Scratché release, and the visual twist they made, there was something confusing about it and at the same time it made perfect sense. Another example is the emblem that Crydamoure used as a logo. Didn’t make much sense. But for me, it was something that got my imagination going. These labels and visual esthetics got me interested and I wanted me to dig deeper and find out more. Also both labels had these amazing inserts where you could see what other records they had released. It’s so cool! For me, one of the visual highlights. This is something they probably got from the US scene. DJ Duke and his Power Music Records and all his sub labels were one of the true masters of that aesthetic. Roulé and Crydamoure show that Daft Punk had a good understanding of the underground. They had the mind and heart in the right place, even if the Daft Punk project and some of the music released on Roulé became commercial, like Stardust for example.
“Music Sounds Better With You” was huge for me by the way. Another good crossover House to pop hit. Unfortunately, everybody else tried the same around year 2000, so much crap came out with similar sounds. Stardust is still on my top list of music. Thomas Bangalter’s soundtrack for “Irreversible” – that was a good record as well. It was very dark and a bit different. Basically, I liked what was going on all the way till “Discovery” got released. After that, I don’t think there was anything very interesting going on anymore. They went more into music and an aesthetic that never really was my favorite thing. But I like Guy Man’s production for Sebastian Tellier’s album “Sexuality” though. There was one track from “Human After All” and I like “Get Lucky”. That’s it after “Discovery”.
As much as I like Daft Punk, I think they are partly responsible for paving the way of getting Rock audiences acquainted with House and Techno, resulting in Stadium House, huge Raves, characteristics of EDM. Are they really to blame? And is it possible to act in such a context and still retain your initial credentials?
I think you are right that Daft Punk and several of their contemporaries are partly responsible for getting the Rock audience into House and Techno. This definitely resulted in these big music gatherings you mention. I don’t know if they are to blame, but they have definitely been a part of paving this movement. In many ways, I think Daft Punk was a product of their time. They became so big because there was room for them at the time plus the clever strategic moves I mentioned earlier. When “Homework” came out, underground was over for them and they wanted to go mainstream. Everything they have done has resulted in that.
Back in the nineties, there were also several other acts doing electronic music that reached the mainstream. The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, and Basement Jaxx to mention a few, and they were all part of reaching out to the big audience. Basement Jaxx, like Daft Punk, had a base in House music. But The Prodigy came from Rave and Chemical Brothers were a fusion of Rave and Rock. They moved more and more towards Rock, and that made them ideal for a Rock festival oriented audience. Also the DJ became a superstar, like Fatboy Slim for example. I guess the whole clubbing economy started to shift from clubs to bigger clubs to festivals. Then the audience shifted as well.
If we go back to Daft Punk, their music and image got more oriented towards the mainstream spectacle, and that is always something that works well with festivals. They also always had a lot of marketing around everything they did. The music was just a small part. You had the big laser pyramid live show and so on. Their music got closer towards what we now associate with EDM. Daft Punk also got a breakthrough in America. I think that was a part of shaping the culture we now know as EDM.
With “Homework”, even if it became mainstream, it still stimulated and reached out to a particular scene. With their new productions, they are more commercial and you don’t need such a particular audience or taste to enjoy the music anymore. If you have a crazy spectacle and lots of marketing, no brain activity is required. If you play pumping crowdpleaser dance music at a festival with fifty thousand people watching, it is going to be big. I guess that is what the EDM scene is today.
It’s also important to remember big dance music gatherings and major raves is nothing new. EDM is the trend of our time. In 1992, it was the Mayday parties with Westbam, or the Love Parade. In the 2000’s, it was Tiesto’s trance parties. Dance music going mainstream has always had the ability to gather a huge amount of people. These raves didn’t maybe reach the Rock audience, like Daft Punk or The Prodigy. Anyway, when you reach that level I don’t think you are able to retain your initial credentials, at least not if you want to stay true to the underground. Maybe if your initial credentials are Metallica it works.
I don’t think Daft Punk retained their credentials from “Homework”, but then again they are way beyond that stage. And “Homework” was their starting point. Their mission was obviously not to stay in the underground. Which is fine, others can do that. I have nothing against becoming mainstream or a big act. As long it’s interesting and not just something that pleases a crowd or is a spectacle. The music or art needs to be something you can dig deeper into. I think that Daft Punk lost that.
Are there elements of „”Homework”“ that can be found in your own productions?