French dance music duo Daft Punk split after 28 years

File photo taken in January 2014 of recording artists Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo (L) and Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk at the 56th Grammy Awards, LA, USA.
File photo taken in January 2014 of recording artists Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo (L) and Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk at the 56th Grammy Awards, LA, USA. © ©Jason Merritt, AFP

Electronic music stars Daft Punk have split up, their publicist confirmed on Monday, ending one of the era's defining dancefloor acts.


The French duo released a video titled "Epilogue" excerpted from their 2006 film "Electroma", in which one of the robot duo is blown up in the desert, followed by a cutaway reading "1993-2021". 

Their publicist, Kathryn Frazier, confirmed the news to AFP by email, without giving any reason for the split. 

The reclusive pair -- real names Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo -- shunned publicity and were almost never spotted without their iconic robot helmets. 

Early singles "Da Funk" and "Around the World" quickly became club fixtures, and led to massive success for their debut album "Homework" in 1997. 

They followed up with the even more successful "Discovery" in 2001, which spawned the hits "One More Time" and "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger". 

Their 2013 single "Get Lucky", featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers was their biggest hit of all, selling millions of copies around the world and winning them two Grammys, which came with two more for the album "Random Access Memories".

Their success did not lead to the much hoped-for return to live touring, which they largely stopped after a legendary series of shows through 2006 and 2007. 

Their appearance at the Grammy Awards show in 2014 was their last public appearance for three years, before they showed up for the same ceremony in 2017 alongside The Weeknd, after collaborating with him on his most recent album. 

There was a very rare insight into the duo's career in 2015, when they gave approval for a BBC documentary, which recounted their false start as Parisian youngsters in a 1992 rock band Darlin'.  

One review in the British music press dismissed the band as "daft punky thrash" -- giving them their new moniker.

'Human After All'

The helmets first appeared in the video for "Around the World" and never left, allowing them to control the fame that quickly encircled them. 

"We have daily lives that are a lot more normal... than the lives of artists who have the same level of fame as us but who might be attached to being physically recognised," Bangalter said in the BBC documentary. 

The pair also insisted on keeping creative control from an early stage, and took plenty of left-field business decisions along the way, including producing the 2003 film "Interstella 5555" by Japanese anime master Leiji Matsumoto, which featured music from "Discovery".

If their next album, a more sombre "Human After All" in 2005, was relatively poorly received, they quickly bounced back with a series of pioneering festival shows around the world over the next two years. 

Still, few could have predicted the phenomenal success that awaited with 2013's "Random Access Memories", for which they gave up their usual makeshift home rig for a full commercial studio -- and used entirely live instruments. 

The results dominated album-of-the-year lists and helped lift their total worldwide sales to 12 million. 


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