No, this isn’t a bad dream and it’s much too early for April Fool’s Day. This is a waking-life reality. After a 28-year-long career, the pioneering electronic dance duo Daft Punk have officially split.
The Parisian duo broke the news in a video excerpt taken from their 2006 film Electroma, titled “Epilogue,” with the date 2.22.21 stamped on the opening frames. The eight-minute scene features the two concealed pop icons, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, wearing in their familiar space helmets and leather garb as they walk towards each other in a desert. After a few dramatic long-take close-ups on their emotionless robotic facials, one of the members removes his jacket to reveal a battery pack strapped to his back. The other touches a button on the pack, walks away, while the other explodes into bits.
The scene cuts to a sunset as a choral version of Daft Punk’s “Touch” plays.
The song is from the duo’s 2013 album, Random Access Memories, which to many represent the pinnacle of Daft Punk’s career. The LP won three Grammys the following year, including Best Album. The duo has largely kept a low profile since, as rumors of their now-fabled return continued to run rampant in the online message boards, music blogs, and fan communities. The only releases the pair put out were two collaborations with The Weeknd on 2016’s Starboy, including the album’s title track “I Feel It Coming.”
While still a shock to many, the breakup news is in fact true. The group’s longtime publicist Kathryn Frazier confirmed the news to Pitchfork. While their rep declined to say more, it seems likely that the duo will continue working together under different names. Considering Daft Punk is famous for mocking convention and going viral with their every move, fans can only hope they will continue to release new music either together or on their own.
As today truly marks the end of era, one universal principle still rings true about Daft Punk’s storied career: That all good things must come to a close.
Information seeker. Dog dad. PhD drop out. Avid collector of pashminas, plants, and experiences. College professor by day, EDM photographer by night.