VIBE: What drew you guys to work with Pharrell on Random Access Memories?
THOMAS BANGALTER: We’ve always been big fans of his work and output as a producer, rapper and musician. But what we really appreciate more than anything is a multitalented artist that has a strong aura and is super talented, charismatic and very glamorous. His natural glamour—he is as elegant in jeans [as he is] in a tuxedo.
PHARRELL WILLIAMS: Thank you.
Do you remember your first time hearing Daft Punk?
WILLIAMS: I’ll never forget. I was talking to this girl, and all of a sudden I heard a song and was like, “What the fuck is that?” Because it just seemed like something regal, something very royal and different, from a higher caliber. When that guy sang “One More Time,” I was like, “What the?!” And then it was everywhere. Like, I heard it in cars in the hood. From that point I was in love with the sound and the groove. Isn’t that the most amazing feeling when we hear something and ask, “What is it?”
GUY-MANUEL DE HOMEM-CHRISTO: That never happens to us.
BANGALTER: It’s cool as a musician to be challenged by new music. It’s always something you look for, because all of us are music lovers. We have this repertoire where each time there is a song that makes a difference, people know it.
Did you expect Random Access Memories to be received so well after being off the scene for so long?
BANGALTER: We were very surprised about how much our project got noticed in a world where we went undercover for a long time. But there is no fear in what we are doing. There is no insecurity of being in the spotlight or losing the spotlight—that’s not what drives us. We’re amazed at how many ways we can connect with people through music and art because we don’t take anything for granted.
You connected with Kanye West to help produce his Yeezus LP. It sounds very different from when he sampled you guys for “Stronger.”
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