You’ve got a lot of other great musicians who played on Random Access Memories. How did you go about getting them all on the album?
WILLIAMS: They won’t ever take credit for that, but there’s a reason why that album is the equation that it is: You have to love music. You have to love the musicians that pontificated and decided to put it on tape. When you listened to this album, you were listening to two huge fans working with people they have admired all their lives. And that is one of the biggest things that I have an incredible admiration for when it comes to them because they have the willingness to stare all of the contemporary and modern equipment in the face and go, “I will not use your preset. You will not lock me in this box.”
BANGALTER: That’s that energy. We wanted to do dance music with live musicians.The process—the arrangement, calling, production on these instrumental tracks— was new for us, but there was so much life and energy from the music performances themselves.
DE HOMEM-CHRISTO: For instance, with “Get Lucky” we would have Nile [Rodgers] performing on guitar, then we added Paul Jackson Jr., who was feeding off the energy from Nile playing. Then we added the keys and the final bass parts—it felt like everybody was up there playing with Nile. It was becoming easier and easier. By the time we connected with Pharrell to finish writing the song, it was infused with so much performance that it became the easiest song to write to. It became this timeless piece.
WILLIAMS: I find it so funny when people say disco. It’s not disco. It’s not of that time. It was never meant to relate to an era. I’d say post-disco.
BANGALTER: It’s something as simple as music that makes us feel good and makes people feel good. Nile made music in the ’70s and the ’80s that made people feel good. And it’s us and Pharrell that make people feel good in the ’90s and 2000s. That’s four different decades. It feels like the four of us are teaming up and playing music for the fifth decade. At some point we can still recognize Nile’s guitar, Pharrell’s voice; but somehow it’s a little bit of a different twist on it. And it has both that familiarity that feels like you’ve heard it before, and then there’s something new, like music you could hear in 2014 that encapsulates those things. Trying to focus on happiness in a very essential way can become some kind of a bigger statement.
“Lose Yourself to Dance” is the second single, also featuring Pharrell. What is the statement of that song?
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