The news that electronic legends Daft Punk have broken up after 28 years has gotten us thinking about that time they launched their album Random Access Memories in Wee Waa, a small country town in NSW.
Having already released three genre-defining albums in Homework, Discovery and Human After All (as well as the live album Alive 2007), Daft Punk wanted to do something different. So they decided to hold an event in Wee Waa, a town many had never heard of.
Fans flew in from all over the world, as well as many road-tripping from all different parts of Australia. It was a way to hear the album amongst other Daft Punk lovers, and experience something that was likely never to be repeated.
Daft Punk weren't there in person to attend the world premiere event (despite the many rumours that they were going to be a last-minute surprise), it was still one hell of a spectacle. Speaking to the Newcastle Herald about their decision to launch the album in Wee Waa, Daft Punk explained that it was an ode to the album's disorientated quality.
"It felt for us that this record has a certain aspect of random quality, and the idea of breaking the barriers between cities and the countryside, or between the musical genres or any sort of classification. So we thought this [the Wee Waa launch party] was a poetic idea.
"This album was made on the grounds of doing things in music that are triggering imagination, and this can be a certain arrangement in a song triggering imagination or, in the same way, the idea of launching music in a small town in Australia is by itself part of the fictional narrative that feels like it's a scene of the film."
As it turned out, you could have heard the album on streaming services before it launched at the Wee Waa show, but that hasn't taken away from the legend of the event. Where most albums get launched without much fanfare, this was different. This had everyone talking.
More than 2500 people came to Wee Waa for the launch, with the whole town getting involved. There were Daft Pork sausages on offer, and even a UFO (in reality, a drone) hovering over the showgrounds. When the album started playing at 8.30pm, the dancefloor was full of Daft Punk-inspired costumes, strobe lights and a massive disco ball.
Rachael Hall, who attended the launch for Wired, captured it beautifully when she wrote, "Every time I hear Random Access Memories from now until the day I die – and, judging by its current popularity, that'll be many thousands of times more – my mind will go back to that giant LED dance floor in Wee Waa, where thousands of strangers came together to experience something new, or at least to experience it together."
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Daft Punk are seen by many as one of the greatest electronic acts alive, and you only need to listen to modern music for a few moments to hear their influence, even today. They've worked closely with The Weeknd on some of his biggest hits like Starboy and I Feel It Coming, and have a myriad of hits of their own across albums like Homework, Discovery and Human After All.
Whatever the future holds for the two members of Daft Punk, we're confident their musical influence will live on. We still can't quite believe this happened - but if anyone was going to pull it off (and they did), it was Daft Punk. Long live the robots.