Music production

How Daft Punk Did His Homework: Early Studio Equipment and Early Music Production Methods Revealed

With the news that Daft Punk Breaks Up – typically enigmatic – dominating the hi-tech music headlines this week, attention has shifted back to their heritage and manufacturing methods.

Which brings us to a rare and revealing interview the duo gave to a Japanese magazine in 1999, two years after the band rocked the dance music world with their debut album, Homework.

In it, the group – Thomas Bangaleter and Guy-Manuel De Homen-Christo – discuss their equipment setup and production methods. As you might expect, they were heavy users of Roland’s TR drum machines and the TB-303 BassLine synth, while sampling was taken care of by big name models of the time such as Akai. and E-MU, with the SP1200 a notable presence in the studio.

Daft Punk’s first love affair with Roland gear, meanwhile (let’s not forget that Homework even goes so far as to present a track called Revolution 909; the drum machine that would have been used to create it went on sale in 2017) is further illustrated by their property of a Juno-106, MC-202 and MKS-80.

Despite speculation that Da Funk’s main sound was created using a Korg MS-20, it is not mentioned in this list.

Effects-wise, it’s no surprise to see the Alesis 3630 on the kit list – it was a staple of FFrench touch production at the time – and the Microverb II from the same company is also present. The duo had additional processing equipment from Behringer, LA Audio, Waldorf and Yamaha.

Regarding the recording, Thomas Bangaleter explained that the sounds were sent through their mixer (a Mackie MS1202) and their compressor to the DAT machine (a Panasonic SV-3700), with MIDI sequencing supported by a Mac running Emagic’s MicroLogic (a pre-Apple, entry-level version of Logic that was available at the time).

After some effects processing, the sounds from the DAT were then sent to a Roland S-760 sampler for splicing, before those songs were sequenced from the Mac and the finished tracks were recorded to the DAT.

It’s a whole world far from the world of integrated and integrated music production in which we live today; Daft Punk was still using zip drives back then, a very ’90s storage solution. However, many would say that the relatively primitive nature of their setup is what gave their early music its charm, and that like technology gave us more creative options, something else was lost.

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