How Daft Punk’s ‘Discovery’ Album was Created

Daft Punk
An excerpt from a new book titled, Daft Punk: A Trip Inside the Pyramid, details the creation of the group’s landmark 2001 album, Discovery. Written by author Dina Santorelli, the piece provides insight into conceptual and production process behind the gold-certified album, which contains hits such as “One More Time,” “Aerodynamic,” and the Kanye West-sampled, “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.”

“A sophomore effort—whether by a band, film director, or an author—can often be more of the same, a ‘safe’ endeavor that harnesses and capitalizes on the techniques or elements that got the artist noticed in the first place. Daft Punk’s Discovery was nothing of the sort.”

Here’s some sections from the article that resonated with us:
On the throwback approach: “The heavy emphasis on filtered disco samples, phase-shifted textures, and 909 drum beats mostly based around loops and grooves that had become hallmarks of modern house — a sound Daft Punk helped to define — took a backseat to traditionally styled songs with distinctive rock overtones and body-popping electro beats reminiscent of the late 70s and early 80s. If Homework had been an effort to show rock fans that electronic music was cool, Discovery, conversely, told the electronic kids that rock and roll is here to stay.”
On the similarities between house and hip-hop: “Bangalter has said that one of the cool things about the house music spirit — and the same can be said for that of hip-hop — is that it inspires musicians to use instruments for things they weren’t designed for, and to veer away from the instruction manual.”
On the misconception surrounding samples: “Many times, stretches of music were sampled and re-sampled; de Homem-Christo has estimated that half of the sampled material on Discovery was originally played live. (Some of the duo’s reported samples are not samples at all, but newly recorded elements that sounded like ‘fake samples,’ such as the instrumental ‘Nightvision,’ which is a dead-ringer for 10cc’s ‘I’m Not in Love.’)”
On the use of live instrumentation: “On Discovery, there are guitars that sound like synthesizers and synthesizers that sound like guitars. The recording studio—again, Bangalter’s bedroom (although the duo also did some recording in New Jersey and other places) — was stocked with lots of gear, including guitars, bass guitars, keyboards, effects pedals, and drum machines to produce complex, meticulous tracks; reportedly, every track on Discovery used a different phase shifter and vocoder effect.”
Daft Punk: A Trip Inside the Pyramid is available for purchase from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your local independent bookstore.

Related: Daft Punk – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger – Dillon Francis Remix