‘I cannot compete with this music’
“It must be the first two.”
CORRECT. On ‘Homework’, you receive a credit ‘for [providing] previous advice’ and on ‘Discovery’, you’re credited under the heading of ‘Design. Concept. Art Direction’.
“When the band started they were in their 20s, so I helped and advised them so that they got total artistic and financial freedom and stayed owners of everything they do. And I’m glad because I think there’s too much interference between the time an artist thinks of a project and when it’s distributed: it arrives distorted. One of the reasons for Daft Punk’s success is that they did exactly what they wanted and it came to the public exactly, unfiltered, from their minds.”
Did Thomas ever rebel against your musical taste?
“He did something worse than that! [Laughs] They did those first two Daft Punk albums in his bedroom next to my room. At the beginning, they were experimenting and I thought it was really special. I didn’t always understand it, and would say: ‘When will you write a song on top of it?’, not realising it was meant to be an instrumental. But whenever I said I liked something, they’d drop that song and I’d never hear it again! I was the benchmark: if I liked it, it wasn’t good enough! So in the end, I stopped commenting! [Laughs]”.
Ironically, it was hearing Daft Punk that made you want to give up making dance music yourself…
“I was doing dance music and when I heard Daft Punk, I said: ‘No, it’s a new generation coming. I cannot compete with this music’. At the time, I also had a big fight with the French authors’ society [about Jewish composers who had their intellectual property rights, and attendant earnings, stripped from them during the Nazi occupation of France] so the idea of writing a song and the rights going to them? I wasn’t into that.”
Was there ever any discussion of uniting the generations and collaborating on a track with Daft Punk?
“No. I was never involved with them artistically and I would never dare to ask to collaborate on a track together.”