Daft Punk ( formed 1993 ) are a two-man French electronic music team. They emerged out of the French house music scene to become worldwide stars in dance music and later mainstream pop music. Their desire to avoid being filmed or heard speaking led them to wearing distinctive robot outfits when appearing in public. The robot helmets mesh with the duo’s tendency to blend futuristic elements with classic disco and pop sounds in their music.
Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter first met in 1987 attending Lycee Carnot, a secondary school in Paris, France. They formed the guitar-based pop band Darlin’ with Laurent Brancowitz in 1992. The name for the group came from the Beach Boys song “Darlin’.” The group only recorded and released four tracks. a negative review in the UK music magazine Melody Maker referred to the sound as “a daft punky thrash.” Shortly after, the group Darlin’ broke up and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo put together Daft Punk with Thomas Bangalter after Laurent Brancowitz pursued separate musical directions.
Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo was born in the suburbs of Paris, France in 1974. He is of Portuguese descent. He received a toy guitar and keyboard as gifts at age seven and an electric guitar when he was 14. Neither member of Daft Punk shares much about their personal lives with the public. Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo has two children.
Thomas Bangalter was born in Paris, France in 1975. He began playing piano at age six. His father, Daniel Vangarde, was a successful songwriter and producer. He is married to French actress Elodie Bouchez and has two sons.
After reaching the top 10 on pop charts in both the UK and France as well as #1 on the dance chart in 1995 with “Da Funk,” Daft Punk released their highly anticipated debut album Homework in 1997. It reached the top 10 in multiple countries and was anchored by the hit single “Around the World.” Daft Punk earned Grammy Award nominations in the US for both “Da Funk” and “Around the World” but Homework only reached #150 on the album chart.
For their next album, Daft Punk dove even more heavily into synthpop. The result was the worldwide hit single “One More Time.” It peaked at #2 on the UK pop hit singles chart, reached the top 10 in multiple countries around the world and topped the US dance chart. It even broke into the top 40 at mainstream pop radio in the US. The resulting album Discovery brought the duo into the top 25 of the US album chart. “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” was another very popular and distinctive single from the project.
In 2005, Daft Punk experienced their first serious downturn. The album Human After All was released to mixed reviews. Some critics claimed it was recorded too hastily. Subsequently, Daft Punk took time off from recording to tour around the world. They appeared at the Coachella Festival in the US in 2006 as part of their Alive Tour. In 2007, they performed eight dates in North America including a headlining appearance at Lollapalooza. The live shows of that era are memorialized on the album Alive 2007.
For the next two years, Daft Punk maintained a low profile other than a 2008 Grammy Awards appearance with Kanye West to perform a version of his hit “Stronger” which included samples from their single “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” Between 2000 and 2013, Daft Punk failed to reach the top 10 on the pop singles chart in either France or the UK.
Late in the decade, Daft Punk composed music for the soundtrack of Disney’s update of their classic 1982 film Tron titled Tron:Legacy. The music received strong positive reviews and the soundtrack album became the duo’s first to hit the top 10 on the US album chart.