k?d has one last treat for fans before the year runs out. After spending all of 2020 touring around the world including stops in Germany, Italy, Spain, China, Japan, and more, fans have been clamoring for the new edit of his famous Daft Punk remix that he’s been playing out. Daft Punk – ‘Doin’ It
With dance music being such a flavor-of-the-week industry, it’s normal to hear an artist update his or her sound a few times over the course of just a single calendar year. A steady release schedule allows them to stay up with the trends and, more importantly, keep their names fresh in the minds of listeners. Not the case for Ed Banger‘s homegrown SebastiAn.
For the past eight years, he took a considerable hiatus from releases to hone his craft elsewhere. While the gap in his discography has left fans thirsty, the industry attention and resulting production gigs that the French producer (real name Sébastien Akchoté) has picked up in the meantime marks him as one of the most diversely qualified studio producers in the game.
Accordingly, SebastiAn’s sophomore album, Thirst, is served as a delectable tapas of the flavors that Akchoté has incorporated into his palate since we last heard from him. French electronic releases are often defined by their lineage and development upon the scene’s nostalgic sounds of yesteryear. But Thirst acts instead as a testament to the eclectic evolution possible when growth and expression remain an artistic priority. The album enlists a squad of A-list collaborators (including Gallant, Mayer Hawthorne and Charlotte Gainsbourg) and grabs inspiration not just from a range of genres, but a myriad of media types offering a new perspective on the wide, menacing sonic DNA that SebastiAn is known for.
We caught up with the SebastiAn to talk artistic evolution, creating personal challenges, movie scores and more. Checkout our interview below and to ask SebastiAn your own questions, keep an eye out for his Reddit AMA on 12/10.
DA: It’s been eight years since your last album, what can those who are new to SebastiAn expect from Thirst?
If I can be quite literal, I’d say it’s emotional but also challenging at the same time. It’s always difficult to put the music into words but it’s about representing hate and love in music. It’s not like if hate is on one side and love is on another side, but I wanted to express hate and love as one thing in my music.
Total was distinctly French-electro, whereas in terms of genre Thirst is more music without boundaries. How important is it to break away from the confines of a specific genre as an artist?
It’s important but it depends on the artist. Even some artists who I love have styles who’ve never changed, not over 20 or 30 years and I still love their songs. I don’t like to repeat myself in music too much, so the thing was trying to reinvent not by changing the DNA of what I’m doing but by finding another language to express, to create, and express the same intensity. It’s quite important not to be bored and search for new songs.
For example, when I did Total, all of my friends, like Justice or people from Ed Banger had already created sounds that, even years after, became not normal but more common, so it wasn’t the thing for me to come back to. If people still like those kinds of songs, they’re already everywhere, so I wanted to try something new.
I guess that also keeps your job as a professional musician fresh.
In a way, I don’t know if it’s French tradition, but in electro music, like with Justice and Daft Punk, we’re always trying to find something new on the next album.
People always have certain expectations for new releases for their favorite artists, particularly with Daft Punk, but it usually just takes some time for them to adapt to a new sound...
What’s funny with Daft Punk is when they release something new, everybody is disappointed because it’s not like before, then eight months later it’s seen as the norm. I was searching for something new. A new way to produce, a new process, or something that I’ve never done before. It was more like a personal thing, not one where I wanted to reflect recent music that I’ve heard.
A change in style is always most interesting when it’s done for personal reasons, rather than following trends.
You just have to do your thing and let people say whether they like it or not.
On the point of doing something new and challenging, tell me about the title track of Thirst...
It’s so common for music’s aggressiveness to come from the beat or something that can really punch. My thing with Thirst was trying to transcribe something hard without any hard elements, it’s more a representation of being punched for real. It’s the difference between having something really shocking in a painting or a representation of the violence in another way. I want to see if people feel the same.
Well it really does punch. Without the beat driving it, it almost takes on the feel of an early monster movie.
Yeah, you got it! I wasn’t so much into soundtracks as I was how they represent the contents of a movie.
In that case, what would be your dream film to score?
Oh, I’d like to do something unexpected. I was quite impressed with the work of Jonny Greenwood on There Will Be Blood, but for me… not a David Lynch movie because it’s not something I’d be much help for, maybe a big movie like Interstellar or The Arrival would be really fun. I think I prefer The Arrival strangely.
Seems like it all comes back to the idea of a challenge.
It’s funny, I’m fascinated by soundtracks and cinema but when I sit down to write music I have no images in my head. For me when I’m working the music is purely just something emotional. Mr. Oizo always has some visuals in his head because he’s a moviemaker. Justice always has some ideas or pictures in their head, but I have nothing. Nothing at all, which makes it funny when I hear that people hear my music as being cinematic.
You’ve worked with the visual aid before though, like your score for Mr. Oizo’s film Steak. How’s that creative process?
It can be easier for me because they give me the pieces that I don’t have. This is something that I love to do because it seems like you’re going to be confined by what’s seen on screen, but at the same time soundtracks are maybe a more freeing part of the music. You’re obliged to represent something, but the style that you approach it with is the most freeing thing ever. There are no boundaries, there are no lines, you just have to find something new.
That sort of reminds me of the monologue from Daft Punk’s “Giorgio by Moroder.”
There are new ideas coming from movies where you’re strangely more free when doing these things. I don’t know why, maybe it comes from the images, but it’s like the more restricted you are the more you are obliged to find new ways to do something.
How about your live shows? They’re known to be a bit more maximal than the sounds on your new album, are you doing anything new there?
To me, live shows are where you can liberate yourself into something hard. It’s not possible to play quietly during a live show. It’s almost something sociological for me. Sometimes people have a bad week, or they’re working a lot, and they come to a concert and want to explore or lose themselves and I really like to give them something strong.
And last, almost more of a personal question, it’s been 11 years since the first SebastiAn remix album. When can we expect another?
As soon as possible! I haven’t had time since I was producing my album, but now I’m going to get back to making a lot of remixes. I love the fact that you get a song and it’s possible to release it very quickly, versus the long slow process of an album or what. That’s why I started with remixes, because it was possible to have an idea in the day, give it back to the artist and having it out in a month.
This interview has been edited for both readability and clarity purposes.
With 2020 just around the corner, a whole new slate of possible upcoming LPs to speculate over has been revealed, thanks to HasItLeaked.com. Among the artists currently pinned to be in the studio presumably working on new material are Daft Punk, Tame Impala, Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, Childish Gambino, and The Avalanches among others. The site has a credible track record for calling leaks correctly, and while the site does not post leaked music, it does have a relatively airtight rap sheet when predicting upcoming records. In the past, the site has successfully predicted projects from Eminem, Gorillaz, and Taylor Swift.
The prediction features the “I Feel It Coming” duo as well as Purity Ring and Squarepusher, who’s first album in five years is already confirmed to be slated for 2020. However, considering 2020 will mark seven years since Daft Punk’s comeback LP Random Access Memories, which itself broke a seven-year gap, lends credence to the idea that perhaps the Androids are due for one? Furthermore, signing to Columbia Records for a single album deal seems unlikely, meaning another Daft Punk LP could actually be a materializing reality. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see.
— Has it Leaked? (@hasitleaked) November 23, 2019
It’s one thing for a DJ to hit a home run with a timely placed solo single, but according to Billboard’s Electronic/Dance charts of the decade, it’s the collaborations that hit the grand slams over the course of the 2010s.
In fact, the list’s top five slots are comprised entirely of collaborative singles. Landing on the list are The Chainsmokers and Coldplay, whose cushy, melodic “Something Just Like This” reigned supreme for 25 weeks at the No. 1 spot in 2017, with ZEDD, Maren Morris, and Grey earning a stop in the top ten with everyone’s guilty pleasure “The Middle.” The late Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” which features the uncredited vocals of Aloe Blacc and Major Lazer’s joint with DJ Snake “Lean On” round out the decade’s top tunes, painting a vibrant picture of what’s delivered the heat in the 2010s.
In the scope of full-length LPs, it was Lady Gaga who took gold, as her debut LP, The Fame, logged a total of 62 weeks at the top of the charts during the 2010s. Daft Punk’s decade-blurring Random Access Memories and David Guetta’s Nothing But The Beat took the two and three spots, arguing that traditional DJs are capable of more than hit single after hit single.
Revisit Boys Noize‘s stellar mix from 2016 celebrating the work of two French house labels, Roulé and Crydamore. The two labels were owned by Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo who would go on to form the legendary group Daft Punk. In their own right, the labels were driving forces in the late 90s French dance scene and would help set the stage for the immense success Daft Punk has gone on to enjoy.
The mix features an hour of tracks by Bangalter and Homem-Christo themselves, as well as label members Stardust, DJ Falcon, the Buffalo Bunch and more. Boys Noize’s factual tidbits scattered throughout the mix add some fascinating dance music history to the jubilant mix as well. “It was a little before Daft Punk released their first album, Homework,” Boys Noize says in the mix, “so it’s interesting to see how both of them already had great ideas, used the label as a playground but kept the best ideas for the Daft Punk project.” Listen below.
Featured image: Dance Music Northwest
The drought between Daft Punk releases spans wide and far, but that doesn’t stop their music from being enjoyed in the meantime. This holiday season the UK’s Rogue Symphony brings fans “Face to Face” with orchestral renditions of the melodic robotic duo’s most adored hits.
Take a look at Daft Punk’s list of Grammy nominations and awards, and it’s easy to see how well the French duo has transcended the term “electronic music” over the years. The group’s first showing was in 1998 when their single “Da Funk” was nominated for Best Dance Recording (coincidentally won that year by none other than Giorgio Moroder), a niche and relatively unhyped award. Skip ahead to 2014, and Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo are raking in the coveted Album of the Year for Random Access Memories.
The Rogue Symphony strings new life into favorites like “Digital Love,” “Around The World,” and of course, “Get Lucky,” making a handful of stops around the UK including a marquees show at the O2 Ritz Manchester on Nov. 26 and Morecambe’s Winter Gardens on Dec. 6. The symphonic collective is also known for its lively renditions of Kanye West and Destiny’s Child.
When this decade began, MP3s still reigned supreme. Now, at the end of it, a song is no longer even a file — it’s ephemera, on every streaming service and available to hear in myriad ways. For better and worse, the song (and the single) have become the norm for the general public’s music consumption. More »
The rumors originated from a hyper-invested group of Coldplay super fans hailing from Italy, which has made predictions about everything from the new album’s title, to length, to song names. One tidbit of information has caught the particular eye of the music world, however, and that is that the group is fairly sure there will be a Daft Punk X Coldplay track.
While this collaboration doesn’t seem completely unlikely given the French duo’s past pop partnerships, it’s important to remain grounded and know that this is simply a rumor. The new album is reported to be released next month, so until then there are no hard facts to confirm any new music.
Featured photo: @Coldplay/Facebook
It is appropriate that such an iconic reference; a heavenly flash that burns brightly for one brief moment and never again… would come to define the one-off alliance that produced Music Sounds Better With You. The song, the eye of a perfect techno-cultural storm became an immediate touchstone for a new and uniquely French kind of
WUKILEAKS is the (now-not-so-hidden) gem account for DJs across the Internet—a project that started approximately three years ago by Kris Berman—better known as Wuki. The Denver-based producer started off with mash-ups of Busta Rhymes, the Six Flags-famed “We Like To Party” theme, and more, all of which instantly exploded into DJ sets everywhere. One year ago, Berman fused Major Lazer‘s breakout hit “Pon De Floor” with Daft Punk classic “One More Time.”
Now, Wuki gives fans a new take on another masked-robot classic, teaming up with Ship Wrek on “Techno Logic.” The rising LA-based duo are making a ton of noise with their distinct brand of house, adding that flare to the grooved-out bass-line on this new collaborative homage to the French visionaries. Of course, listeners are also welcomed by utter craziness from Wuki under the beloved Daft Punk sample.
Catch Wuki on a packed summer itinerary, hitting Electric Forest on June 29 after a string of shows in Australia, followed by a performance at Yellow Club in Bangkok before stops at Red Rocks (August 10 with Alison Wonderland) and Electric Zoo August 30.