Da Funk

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For the Redman song, see Whut? Thee Album.
"Da Funk"
Single by Daft Punk
from the album Homework
B-side "Rollin' and Scratchin'" (Soma), "Musique" (Virgin)
Released 1995 (Soma), 1996 (Virgin)
Format CD, 12"
Recorded May 1995
Genre Acid house
Length 5:29 (album version)
3:50 (long edit)
2:41 (short edit)
Label Soma, Virgin
Writer(s) Thomas Bangalter
Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo
Producer(s) Daft Punk
Daft Punk singles chronology
"The New Wave"
(1994)
"Da Funk"
(1995)
"Around the World"
(1997)
Music video
"Da Funk" on YouTube
Music sample

"Da Funk" is an instrumental track by Daft Punk initially released as a single in 1995 and later included on their debut album Homework. "Da Funk" and its accompanying video directed by Spike Jonze are considered classics of 1990s house music.[1] A reversed clip of "Da Funk" was also released on Homework as "Funk Ad", which is the final track on the album.

Background[edit]

"Da Funk" was initially released as a 12 inch single in 1995 under the Soma Quality Recordings label, with the B-side "Rollin' & Scratchin'". The pressing was limited to 2,000 copies and was "virtually ignored" according to a Muzik magazine feature at the time. The single received a boost in popularity when The Chemical Brothers incorporated it into their live shows. Subsequently the British duo's song "Life Is Sweet" was remixed by Daft Punk for a single release in August 1995.[2]

Daft Punk eventually signed with Virgin Records in late 1996 after a bidding war amongst several labels. "Da Funk" was re-released by Virgin with the B-side[3] "Musique", a track that later appeared in the album Musique Vol. 1 1993-2005. The duo's debut album Homework features "Da Funk" as well as a reversed excerpt titled "Funk Ad". Daft Punk expressed that they wanted to make the album balanced by distributing tracks evenly across each of the four vinyl sides.[4]

"Da Funk" went on to sell 30,000 copies in 1997. The prominent French club magazine Coda named it the number one single with 33 percent of the vote.[2] In September 2010 Pitchfork Media included the song at number 18 on their Top 200 Tracks of the 90s.[1] The song is also featured in the video game Top Spin 4.

Composition[edit]

In an interview with Fredrik Strage for Swedish magazine Pop #23, Bangalter revealed that "Da Funk" was made after listening to United States west coast G-funk for weeks:

"It was around the time Warren G's "Regulate" was released and we wanted to make some sort of gangsta-rap and tried to murk our sounds as much as possible. However no one has ever compared it to hip-hop. We've heard that the drums sounds like Queen and The Clash, the melody is reminiscent of Giorgio Moroder, and the synthesizers sound like electro and thousand of other comparisons. No one agree with us that it sounds like hip-hop"[5]

Bangalter recalled that the kick drum had previously been used in their track "Alive", and they decided to use it a second time. The riff featured prominently in "Da Funk" was originally a siren sound, but was changed to reflect the "gangsta rap" aesthetic they were trying to achieve. The bassline was generated with a Roland TB-303 unit Bangalter had purchased in 1993. He noted that he had created several patterns with the 303 beforehand: "When we were looking for a bassline, we listened to some of [the] ones I'd already programmed and took the one that fitted [sic] best."[2]

Music video[edit]

The track's music video was directed by Spike Jonze and entitled Big City Nights. It focuses on the character Charles (Tony Maxwell), an anthropomorphic dog in a leg cast with a crutch wearing urban clothing. Charles, who has lived in New York City for only one month, is shown walking around with a boombox blasting "Da Funk" at a high volume. His hobbled walk is made fun of by a pair of children. He is turned down when he attempts to participate in a public survey. His boombox annoys a bookseller on the sidewalk from whom Charles buys a paperback novel entitled Big City Nights. Charles meets a woman named Beatrice (Catherine Kellner), who was once his childhood neighbor. They agree to have dinner together at her home, traveling by way of a city bus. Beatrice boards the bus, but Charles is startled by a sign stating "NO RADIOS". As he is unable to turn off his boombox (which is earlier indicated to have a broken/missing volume button) he reluctantly remains at the bus stop, as the bus drives off with Beatrice.

Although the video has drawn several interpretations, Thomas Bangalter has stated:

There's no story. It is just a man-dog walking with a ghetto-blaster in New York. The rest is not meant to say anything. People are trying to explain it: Is it about human tolerance? Integration? Urbanism? There's really no message. There will be a sequel someday.[6]

"Fresh" video[edit]

Charles would indeed return in the music video for the Daft Punk track "Fresh", which is also from Homework. In this video, he is an actor shooting scenes for a film set on a beach. When the day's shoot is over, he discusses techniques with the director and then runs into Beatrice; they have apparently become boyfriend and girlfriend. The two make plans to go to a restaurant for dinner. Charles gets into Beatrice's red convertible and they drive off into the sunset.

The concept for this video echoes that of the "Da Funk" video, in that the track is treated as nothing more than a score against which the story plays out. "Fresh" was directed by Daft Punk themselves; Jonze makes a guest appearance as the director of Charles' film. According to the D.A.F.T. audio commentary, Daft Punk wanted Charles to return in a happier environment, to cheer up fans who saw him in a depressing situation in the "Da Funk" video. This would see him enjoying an acting career, receiving compliments, and dating Beatrice.

Track listing[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1996) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[8] 31
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[9] 20
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[10] 9
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[11] 16
France (SNEP)[12] 7
Ireland (IRMA)[13] 20
Italy (FIMI)[14] 11
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[15] 96
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[16] 33
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[17] 7
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[18] 8
US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[19] 1

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Pitchfork Top 200 Tracks of the 90s
  2. ^ a b c Bush, C. (1997), Frog Rock, Muzik, IPC Magazines Ltd, London, Issue No.21 February 1997.
  3. ^ James, Martin. French Connections: From Discotheque to Discovery. London, United Kingdom: Sanctuary Publishing Ltd., 2003. pg 273. (ISBN 1-8607-4449-4)
  4. ^ Warner, Jennifer. "Interview with Daft Punk". p. 3. DMA. About.com. Retrieved on 30 March 2007.
  5. ^ Strage, Fredrik. Daft Punk drömmer om Amerika Pop (Stockholm). - Stockholm, Sweden: Bonniers specialtidningsförlag, 1997 pg. 85 (ISSN 1103-8578).
  6. ^ Kieran Grant, Who are those masked men? canoe.ca. Retrieved on 15 April 2007.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "Daft Punk - Da Funk". Australian Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved on 22 May 2012.
  8. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Daft Punk – Da Funk". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  9. ^ "Ultratop.be – Daft Punk – Da Funk" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  10. ^ "Ultratop.be – Daft Punk – Da Funk" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  11. ^ "Daft Punk: Da Funk" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  12. ^ "Lescharts.com – Daft Punk – Da Funk" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  13. ^ "Chart Track". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved April 21, 2013.
  14. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - Indice per Interprete: D". Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Daft Punk – Da Funk" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  16. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Daft Punk – Da Funk". Singles Top 60. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  17. ^ "Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  18. ^ "Daft Punk Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 for Daft Punk. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  19. ^ "Daft Punk Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs for Daft Punk. Retrieved January 15, 2012.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"That Sound" by Pump Friction
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
17 May 1997
Succeeded by
"I Miss You" by Björk