First Names Announced!
60+ contributors revealed from over 100 brand-new interviews, and updated pre-order options now live.
No waffle, cold open: I’ve been waiting to drop this for weeks. Months, even.
It gives me 70% enormous pleasure and 30% extreme trepidation to unveil the first wave of contributors inside the newly christened After Daft: The Rewiring of 21st Century Culture, as well as to formalise info about the project and pre-orders, all of which you can find here.
Our introductory run of names comprise pioneers, superstars, unsung creatives who oil the industry machine, artists behind some of the best music I’ve heard in my life — the works.
I’m honestly jazzed to see them together on the same line-up. The further you lean in, the more the ‘A.D. era’ starts to make sense as some kind of unifying creed, rather than just a snazzy catch-all. (Although it is that, too.)
At a skim, you might wonder how Optimo’s JD Twitch, patron saint of the Glasgow alternative underground, and Gary Richards, founder and lead booker of hyper-Californian bro-down HARD Summer through its zeitgeist-wheelie-popping years, can possibly co-exist on a poster.
(Or Kavinsky and Omar Hakim, Rostam and Dillon Francis, TNGHT and Paul Williams, Annie Mac and Leiji Matsumoto, Robert Armani and CSS, DJ Heather and the visual techs for Alive 2006-07…you get the point.)
Scratch the surface and you’ll find their events share not just an overlap in talent — Peaches, LCD Soundsystem, 2manydjs — but intent, too. Anyone who witnessed Twitch spin Slayer at Sónar 2017 got a near-identical experience to how American collegiate crowds reacted when Knife Party would tear it at HARD.
When we spoke, Richards was decked out in Slipknot merch and spent a good half-hour reminiscing about trips accompanying Rick Rubin to fearsome Dutch gabberthon Thunderdome, with the ambition to set up something similar in the States. It bricked in 1993 but took flight in 2008 once the audience willing was there.
Imagine what damage '“Fragments Of Time” could have caused.
Obviously the backbone of After Daft is an artist biography, but there’s a lot of mischaracterisations that I’m looking forward to clearing up, and tangents I’m looking forward to taking.
Because oftentimes writing about Daft Punk can become a little rote. Their influence was vast yet their catalogue slight, which means the high points of the duo’s career are well-trodden: Homework, Discovery, Human After All, RAM; Crydamoure & Roulé, French Touch, early performances, Coachella, etc.
These are all pretty established parts of the lore, so it’s easy to ponder: how much do they need to be relitigated? Are you adding to the history or just echoing it?
What if there were other, fresher ways to unlock the story? Rather than training your telescope at the sun, you lavish attention on orbiting planets and chart the ways expelled particle matter travels through the solar system.
A story, essentially, where the After is afforded equal weight to the Daft.
Did I lay the hard sell on thick enough?
That’s why I’ve chosen to frame A.D. as an artist-led venture. For starters, the testimonies and insight of those who directly shaped change is worth more than just what I, some guy, thinks.
En plus, in-the-field reporting and concrete archiving feels increasingly important these days, especially when great swathes of recordings, writing and internet ephemera are at risk of being wiped out every time a server migrates, or ownership of a conglomerate changes hands.
Gassing up the musical contributions of the Teachers is all well and good — seriously, it’s highly encouraging to see coverage of their output ticking up — but actively hitting the road to the American Midwest in order to find out how these legends live and get by in the 2020s is a necessary pursuit.
Particularly as we’ve already lost some giants from house and techno’s first and second waves.
This approach should result in a faithful and compelling barometer of not only what made Daft Punk a cultural unicorn, but where the friction burns were felt after a breakneck hurtle toward the digitally-terraformed and globally-dominant dance & electronic scene we find ourselves within.
Banking 250+ hours of material (and counting) from an ensemble cast this varied —plus tons of additional unheard and unseen mixed media — should hopefully validate the decision to give up my mornings, evenings, weekends, spare thoughts, social calendar and more nights’ sleep than I’m willing to admit.
The author, existing at the intersection of earnest cheer and total delirium.
While it’s a minor wrinkle that releasing globally in multiple languages necessitates an amended delivery for the hardback edition of the book — now March 2024 — you have to remind yourself about the realities of international publishing in a trade which has existed for hundreds of years.
Plus, this is only phase one of a long-running project.
As summer arrives The A.D. Files will take a beat, before coming back with full interviews on a weekly or fortnightly basis (TBD). I’ve sparked up a rolling playlist of the music keeping me semi-level, which you might also dig. Ideally listen on TIDAL for the best sound quality, naturally, but see below for Spotify or head here if you’re an Apple subscriber.
Four Tet eat your heart out / own ears.
Anyway. There’ll be plenty of supplementary content on the way as 2023 rolls downhill, as well as dozens more contributing voices to reveal.
Drop a signal if you’re feeling the initial blast, or better yet, pick up a copy if you’re enthused enough by the direction of travel.
Even as a relentlessly brutal self-critic, in private moments I do admit to myself: I think this could be decent.
Did you enjoy this newsletter? If so, consider pre-ordering a copy of After Daft: The Rewiring of 21st Century Culture — a forthcoming book on the last 30 years of dance, electronic, pop and DJ culture, as well as the wider Daft Punk universe — via Amazon or Waterstones today.
Further information on translated versions, US & ROW publishers and many more physical / online storefronts to follow. Hang tight.