The AD Files: Archiving The Past
Before After Daft? Let's roll with it.
Hello. You may or may not be aware that I’m writing a book, called After Daft. You can pre-order it here (Amazon) and here (Waterstones), though I’ll have updated links for international editions in due course. It’s due for publication in early 2024.
The topline subject of the book is kind of self-evident: Daft Punk. But I went into the writing stage back in 2019 — well before they split up, btw; no buck-chasing here — with an ambition to get arms around the multiple shifts in dance, electronic-pop, DJing, live performance and technology over the past 30 years.
On top of that, I wanted to provide a more explicit look at the aftershocks of Daft Punk’s Alive 2006-07 tour, map how audience sensibilities changed during the EDM boom, and interrogate the highly uneven distribution of wealth and praise back to the originators of house and techno in Chicago, Detroit, NYC and beyond.
Even with a relatively open-ended goal of spanning the churn of culture from 1993-2023, AD has already become a much broader project. My archive of new first-hand interviews with some of the most celebrated artists/DJs/labels of the age is 100s of hours long, and growing. We expect around 150 contributors to the book when all’s said and done, and it might just have a second life on screen, too. Fingers Cross’d.
So, this is why I’ve set up The AD Files: I’m going to give a lot of it away before publication.
Part of that is a byproduct of printing times (newsflash: really slow!), yet the more pertinent reason is that I’ve got closer than I believe more or less anyone else has so far to: A) the inner core of Daft Punk, their creative team, collaborators and affiliated allies across music and art; and B) the wider story of how dance music and DJ culture has become a sensationally popular, profitable yet contentious global affair.
I’m extraordinarily buzzed and genuinely humbled to have the trust to tell the story properly. But there’s already more material gathered than I can fit into a book, and the amount of private testimonies, photos, videos and behind-the-scenes assets which my team and I are gathering is very exciting. It’s too valuable an archive to sit on.
By the by, it’ll be nice to keep a rolling diary, particularly as I travel on my weekends and spare time around France and the US (posting this from subarctic Detroit now in the middle of a run of conversations with serious techno heavyweights), and I kind of need a home anyway for the amount of AD-adjacent writing I’ve done for Pitchfork, The Guardian, DJM, Crack and other publications.
The idea is in a primordial stage, but with Twitter on the brink of implosion, what better time to rush something out the oven and down the gullets of content-hungry masses? Don’t answer that.
It’ll all kick off very soon — if you rate the premise, though, why not sign up now?
Update #2, a real unexpected W for the project, will be along shortly. Nice one.