This Monday Daft punk announced their separation after 28 years of experience, with a legacy that transcends the electronic music scene. Without a doubt, one of the essential projects in the construction of the myth of the French duo is Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem (2003), film that illustrated his acclaimed 2001 album Discovery in audiovisual format.
“Visually we wanted to do something different from what we had done before and, at some point, we wanted to collaborate with the Japanese animation industry. That became more and more, from our point of view, something we wanted to make happen ”.
Daft Punk (Via)
From the conception of Discovery, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter contemplated the idea of promoting their second album in the company of an ambitious animated production. A work of science fiction that offers a critique of the decadent entertainment industry, showing how artists are transformed into products drained of passion and freedom by the big companies, as well as the fans who feed said system.
Daft Punk developed this concept together with his collaborator Cédric Hervet. In early 2000, the three of them flew to Japan with a copy of the album and the full plot of the film. The goal was to create this feature film with the help of one of his childhood heroes: Leiji Matsumoto, the legendary mangaka responsible for essential works within the space opera subgenre such as Space Battleship Yamato, Galaxy Express 999 and Captain Harlock – the great favorite of the French duo.
To her surprise, Matsumoto was extremely excited about the idea after hearing the album and agreed to serve as the visual supervisor. The production would begin in October of that same year with the direction of Kazuhisa Takenouchi and with animation provided by Toei Animation, the giant behind international hits like Dragon Ball, Los Caballeros del Zodiaco, One Piece or Sailor Moon, among many others.
The project took 28 months to complete, which involved numerous trips for Daft Punk between Paris and Tokyo, in addition to the constant exchange of emails. Spike Sugiyama, the only member of the team who spoke English and Japanese, was in charge of ensuring clear and fluid communication between artists from two radically different cultures.
“We saw a lot of Japanese animation when we were kids. I think it is one of the best memories for us and for many French people our age. We really wanted to do something with it because it pleased us so much, like a childhood dream come true. We knew it could be the same for other people and we hoped they could associate it with the Japanese animation that we had in Europe. «
Daft Punk (Via)
You may also be interested in: Electroma – When Daft Punk Made His Movie.
What is Interstella 5555 about?
The story of Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem follows four alien musicians from an electronic group, who are kidnapped in full concert on their home planet. The hostages are brought to Earth, their minds are reprogrammed, and their appearance is altered to appear human. The group becomes a record phenomenon never seen before, under the name « The Crescendolls. » However, Darkwood magnate Earl’s plans are to use the gang’s success to conquer the universe.
With 68 minutes of duration, the argument is spun through video clips for the fourteen songs that make up Discovery. Without dialogue and with a minimalist use of sound effects, this jewel leads us on a spatial odyssey where the musical atmosphere of Daft Punk and the visual aesthetics of Leiji Matsumoto are combined in perfect harmony, finding points of intersection in the themes usually associated with both works. The futuristic image of the electronic duo blends seamlessly into the universe of Japanese mangaka and Toei Animation.
The film had its world premiere at the 56th Cannes International Film Festival in 2003, where it was received with great acclaim from the public and critics. Although this cult film had DVD releases and there were even limited versions in combo with the Daft Club album, a limited distribution meant that the project took a few years to enter the radar of the band’s more casual fans, who recognize the video clips of such iconic themes “One More Time”, although without realizing that they were part of an even bigger project. One of those once in a lifetime collaborations.
“The music we made at Discovery was made in a cinematic way in our minds. We were thinking about music visually and trying to find ideas that would appeal to people’s imaginations. An animation fanatic will find this mix of elements and history in our music. «
Daft Punk (Via)
Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem can still be found on DVD and Blu-ray on Amazon USA Some YouTube users have already uploaded the full material.
daft punk leiji matsumoto toei animation