Inside that time Daft Punk launched their album in regional NSW

Daft Punk

The dance music world was rocked with the news that legendary producer duo Daft Punk have split after 28 years. The robot duo, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, shared an 8-minute excerpt titled ‘Epilogue’ from their 2006 film, Electroma, to make the statement, which was then confirmed by their publicist to Pitchfork.

While a reason or statement from the pair has not been released, Daft Punk fans globally have been quick to share their favourite memories related to the act. From sharing their favourite songs to stories from their elusive live shows, fans everywhere have been connecting with each other online to offer reflective support.

Closer to home, many Australians have been reflecting on that time when Daft Punk, arguably one of the most influential and famous acts ever, decided to launch their 2013 album, Random Access Memories, in the small, regional NSW town of Wee Waa. Fans flew in from all over the world for the event, with many Australians jumping in the car to head to the town 571 kilometres northwest of Sydney.

We spoke to Alex Epps, a Daft Punk fan an all-round legend, who drove down from Brisbane to Wee Waa in a camper with a friend in a spur of the moment but ultimately excellent decision.

“As soon as the album launch was announced to be in Wee Waa, a good mate and I booked a camper and uncontainable excitement ensued,” Epps said, describing the moment he and his friend decided to head to the show. “The drive there was epic. We drove past so many road trains, or rather they overtook us as the camper was pretty gutless, haha!”

“We camped at Yarrie Lake the night before and woke up to the sun rising over the calm glassy water. [We] visited the satellite array nearby and then headed into Wee Waa to collect our free Daft Punk memorabilia and lanyards.”

Speaking of the vibes in Wee Waa when the pair arrived, Epps said the locals who lived in the small town were “super friendly.”

“We chatted to a local about the op-shop that he bought a washing machine from in the 70’s, [and] I went on to buy a cool Great Barrier Reef hat there. The camper was our accommodation, we were pitched up in the Wee Waa golf club which was serving delicious tap beer about 10 metres from the van,” he laughed.

That evening was the night of nights, and Alex reminisced on the rumour that Daft Punk themselves might actually perform at the launch. “This rumour was definitely circulating,” he recalled. “They may well have been at the launch but they definitely didn’t play any songs from the album live. I did find out that it was their regular sound and lighting crew that put on the show, which was definitely evident from the 360 degree dance floor, giant disco ball and sky high speaker columns.”

When the clock struck 8:30pm, the sounds of Random Access Memories started to play through the intricate, carnival-like set up. People dressed up in Daft Punk costumes flocked to the light up dancefloor, and the whole crowd immediately began to dance to the album as it played. “It was interesting,” Epps said. “The dance floor and venue was located right in the middle of the showgrounds and the launch coincided with the Wee Waa annual show/fate.”

“The place was oozing with excitement and anticipation. When the first track “Give Life Back to Music” dropped the whole place erupted and everyone started to get into the groove.”

Epps, much like many dance music fans around the world, is reeling from the news of the duo’s disbanding. While they haven’t released music in years, and haven’t toured in even longer, the finality of their statement has hit their fans. Epps extended his gratitude to the pioneering pair, saying, “I’d like to thank Daft Punk for providing us all with countless good times over their epic innings!”

“One more time, Let’s all celebrate in their honour.”

Interview by Emma Jones
Image: (Wikipedia, A photo from 2013 by Daft Punk. Left to right: Thomas Bangalter, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo – via We Rave You)

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Just a Robyn stan who loves going to the club.