Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter says anonymity led to “a kind of isolation which isn’t pleasant”
He also recalls a funny moment when someone sold him a ticket to his own Daft Punk show, not realising he was himself part of the duo.
Image: Pierre Suu/GC Images via Getty Images
Thomas Bangalter, a former member of Daft Punk, has spoken out about the anonymity provided by wearing the duo’s iconic robot helmets.
Speaking to French news channel Brut, Bangalter highlights the advantages, disadvantages and funny scenarios that occurred from wearing the helmets. At one point, for example, he recalls a time someone sold him a ticket to his own show, not realising it was one half of Daft Punk himself.
“This anonymity and creation of these characters allowed for protection and seclusion,” Bangalter says, “which was practical but also created a certain distance. There were amusing situations, like in London, where someone tried to sell me a ticket to my own show while I was out getting a sandwich. I thought it would be funny, so I bought the ticket, went to the venue, and waited.
“When we created these robot characters, it seemed to become part of performance art, playing between fiction and reality. Anonymity could approach both humility and, like comic book heroes, a bit of schizophrenia between the alter ego and human side.
“Yes, I think there’s a lot of randomness and chance involved, and it’s also a connection with the audience, even if there’s some distance due to the robot concept, which was a metaphor for the role of technology between utopia and dystopia. It was a constant back-and-forth, allowing us to have fun and express things.
Later in the interview, Bangalter, who released a solo album called Mythologies in April 2023 following the duo’s breakup in 2021, addresses what it’s been like to drop this anonymity.
“What’s interesting is that anonymity initially stems from a desire for discretion and a lot of humility”, he says. “At some point, it seemed pretentious to continue staying anonymous, and I found myself in situations where people apologised for not having photos to ensure I wouldn’t be disturbed. I wasn’t seeking attention, but the anonymity started to attract more attention than it removed.
“So, after hiding for 20 years, the message about intentions and freedom has been conveyed. It was just an artistic gesture, and anonymity was crucial during the existence of these characters, creating an oscillation between reality and fiction. It protected me, but it could also lead to a kind of isolation, which isn’t particularly pleasant. I did consider it, but ultimately, I realised it wasn’t at the centre of my concerns.”
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